All the Chicago Bulls needed to break their five-game skid was a team trying to lose more than they are. Hence, we got to watch the Bulls
totally dominate almost blow the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the only teams with a worse record than them in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls rode the excitement of their big trade deadline acquisition of Nikola Vucevic straight into a dumpster fire of a stretch of games. Since making the win-now/re-tooling move, the Bulls have gone 4-9 with losing streaks of four and five games.
Of course, the Vucevic move is not just about this year, but there was initial excitement that the moves to acquire Vucevic and — to a lesser extent — Daniel Theis and Troy Brown Jr. would help Chicago get into the playoffs this year. Having fallen out of a play-in to the Toronto Raptors, the Bulls needed a win badly to try to stay in the playoff picture.
Coming into the game still missing Zach LaVine due to the NBA health and safety protocol, the Bulls came out swinging, playing through Vucevic early. They continued to ride Vucevic throughout the night. The Cavaliers had no answer for the big man who had an efficient 25 points.
Continuing the trend of big men having great nights against Cleveland, Lauri Markkanen scored 16 off then bench on 50% shooting from the field and from three. It was not the most offensive effort, but the Bulls were efficient enough (50% from the field and 40% from deep) and the Cavaliers are garbage enough to have the game end in a ten-point Chicago victory.
Also, we think the Bulls social media team is excited about it.
Pop Quiz: Good Defense or Just a Really Bad Team?
The Bulls held the Cavaliers to 96 points tonight. Good, right? The NBA today features high-octane offenses and scoring over 100 points is basically a given. I mean, the Bulls score 112.3 points per game and that’s only good for 17th in the league. So, you can assume that the Bulls really shut the Cavaliers down, right? Of course, you knew as you read this that I left something out.
The Cavaliers average 103.9 points per game, good for 30th in the NBA. Fun fact for you math nerds out there: the NBA only has 30 teams. So, you know, that makes the Cavaliers the worst scoring team in the NBA. Alas, the Bulls are not suddenly full of defensive stoppers.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls play next against the fifth-seeded Boston Celtics on Monday at 6:30 PM CT. The game will air on NBC Sports Chicago. The Celtics are riding a five-game winning streak, and beating them would be huge for the Bulls’ playoff chances for the Bulls. As you wait for Monday’s game, check out all the latest Bulls content, articles, podcasts, and more at Bulls On Tap, presented by On Tap Sports Net.