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10 Games Out: What Will the Chicago Bulls Final Record Be?

How will the Bulls finish the season and where do they end up in the postseason?
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Ayo Dosunmu Tristan Thompson DeMar DeRozan Chicago Bulls

Photo: ChicagoBulls/Twitter

The Chicago Bulls have been an entirely different team this season than they have been over the past several years. With the additions of MVP candidate DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Ayo Dosunmu, the Bulls have been at the heart of the playoff race since the start of the season. Even as they lost Patrick Williams for a significant period of time and navigated COVID-19, the Chicago Bulls spent a long time with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Where Things Stand Now

As the season wraps up, the Bulls are still set up as a playoff team. However, the injuries have taken a toll. Caruso was sidelined for months. Ball has been injured since mid-January. Williams came back earlier than expected, but he is still shaking off the rust. LaVine has been dealing with a knee issue. DeRozan has an adductor issue. The list goes on and on. Furthermore, losing plus defenders like Caruso, Ball, and Williams has highlighted the deficiencies the Bulls have on defense.

As a result, Chicago slid down the standings and currently sits as the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference with a 42-30 record. The 47-26 Miami Heat sit atop the standings, and they're 4.5 games ahead of the Bulls. Meanwhile, the eighth-seeded Brooklyn Nets are only 5.5 games behind the Bulls in the standings and just got Kyrie Irving back for home games. With ten games left in the season, there is still a lot of movement that can occur. Because nothing is set in stone, let's make some predictions to see where the Bulls will wind up.

Remaining Schedule

The Bulls have played one of the toughest second-half schedules in the NBA. Tankathon lists the Bulls' remaining ten games as the eighth toughest schedule in the league. Just four games ago, the Bulls had the toughest schedule. They went 1-3 in those four games, and they have a small window to hopefully make up some ground. Eight of their ten remaining opponents are either playoff teams or scheduled for the play-in tournament. Those opponents include the aforementioned Heat, the 45-27 Milwaukee Bucks, the 46-28 Boston Celtics, and the 41-31 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Present Concerns

Beyond the difficulty regarding the schedule, teams have started to zero in on how to frustrate the Bulls' offense. Namely, teams will double DeRozan, ensure Vucevic is covered in the paint, and dare Chicago to score in other ways. Through ten games in March, DeRozan is scoring 24.7 points-per-game on 20.6 shots-per-game. He is shooting 44.7% from the field and 27.3% from three. The table below highlights some of the games against playoff teams in which DeRozan struggled.

Game

Points

FG

FG%

FT

FT%

3/4 v. Bucks

29

11-30

36.7

5-5

100

3/7 v. 76ers

23

6-17

35.3

11-12

91.7

3/12 v. Cavaliers

25

9-26

34.6

7-7

100

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Zach LaVine has been holding his own with 24.4 PPG on 46.7% shooting and 41% from deep in March. Nikola Vucevic has been really good offensively, too scoring 19 PPG on 51.4% shooting and 36.8% from deep. However, the lack of depth and lack of defense has continued to plague the Bulls.

How Will the Remaining Bulls' Schedule Go?

All we can do is predict, but it is hard to see the Bulls working their way back to the top of the conference. With ten games left, it seems safe to say Ball won't be back, so that gets factored into the predictions. Let's take a look at the remaining games and some projected results:

Game:

Notes:

Result:

3/24 @ Pelicans

The Pelicans are set up as the 10th seed in the West right now, and Larry Nance Jr. will be back for this game. CJ McCollum has been lighting up the box score with New Orleans, but Brandon Ingram will likely be out. Hopefully, the Bulls have enough of a fire under them to shut down McCollum, but Jonas Valanciunas could cause a lot of issues for them. Even so, the Bulls should be able to walk away with a win, albeit a close one.

W

3/26 @ Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have been a surprise playoff team in the East alongside the Bulls. All-Star Darius Garland leads the way for them, and the size combination of Evan Mobley (6'11), Lauri Markkanen (6'11), and Jarrett Allen (6'10), if he is healthy, is difficult for any team to play against. The Bulls have had the advantage over Cleveland this season, and a win seems like a good bet for Chicago.

W

3/28 @ Knicks

The last time the Bulls and Knicks met, New York was still considered a possible contender in the Eastern Conference. Since then, the wheels have fallen off for the Knicks. New York sits at 31-42 with an outside shot at making the play-in tournament. Still, this is a talented team that always challenged this Bulls team. The Bulls should get the W, but it could be too close for comfort.

W

3/29 @ Wizards

The Wizards also had a surprisingly strong start to the season. At one point, Washington was 10-3. Then, they settled around .500 before the floor dropped out from under them. At 30-41, the Wizards could theoretically challenge for a play-in spot, but it is unlikely. Kristaps Porzingis will be trouble for the Bulls, but Chicago should be able to make it four in a row.

W

3/31 vs. Clippers

The Clippers are holding onto the 8th seed in the West right now, but they've lost four in a row. Paul George and Norman Powell are still out and Kawhi Leonard has been out all season. The Bulls should be able to win this one as they return to the United Center for the first time in a long time.

W

4/2 vs. Heat

The Miami Heat had some recent drama between Jimmy Butler and Coach Spoelstra, but they remain the top team in the East. The Heat have beaten the Bulls in all three games so far this season and the last couple have not been close. Moreover, the Bulls have consistently lost to the top teams in the NBA all season long. If the Bulls can win five in a row before this, it will go a long way because it seems unlikely they'll top Miami here.

L

4/5 vs. Bucks

The Bucks just got finished blowing out the Bulls, but Chicago was actually competitive with Milwaukee in their first two games this season. The Bulls continue to struggle immensely against Giannis Antetokounmpo, as has most of the NBA. But if Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are healthy, it is hard to imagine the Bulls pulling this one out.

L

4/6 vs. Celtics

After losing two in a row, the Bulls get the Celtics on the second night of a back-to-back after trying to hang with the Bucks. Add on the fact that the Celtics are surging and this looks like a possible disaster for Chicago. Still, the Bulls have had the Celtics' number for the past two seasons, and it's more than possible Chicago can walk away with an unexpected victory.

W

4/8 vs. Hornets

The Hornets are the 9th seed in the East and Miles Bridges, LaMelo Ball, and company are fun to watch. However, the Bulls have won five in a row against Charlotte, and the two matchups this season have not been particularly close. It seems like Chicago is set up for a victory, and it's a good bet they'll come away with it.

W

4/10 @ Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have been good this season. They have the same amount of wins as the Bulls do, but they're sitting in the 7th seed in the Western Conference. Chicago beat Minnesota back in February by 12. But while the Bulls still have some advantages, Minnesota is going to want out of the play-in tournament. They have a decent schedule set up to get there if they can win most of their remaining games. We'll go with a Timberwolves victory here.

L

Chicago Bulls Final Record and Postseason

While finishing 7-3 seems promising, these predictions rely on the Bulls waking up and getting back to how they played at the start of the season both on offense and defense. If the Bulls continue their current slide in both effort and results, the season could look very different. With that being said, if things play out in this fashion, the Bulls will head into the postseason with a 49-33 record. That would be their best record since the 2014-2015 season when they finished 50-32 and made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

When looking at seeding, 49-33 will ensure the Bulls stay out of the play-in tournament. Realistically, Chicago is not going to catch Miami, Philadelphia, or Milwaukee for a top-three seed. Depending on how Boston finishes their season, it appears the battle will be for home-court advantage in round one between the Bulls and the Celtics. The Celtics have the fourth-toughest schedule in the NBA left. It is possible for them to go 3-5 over their last eight games. If that happens and the Bulls beat the Celtics on April 6, Chicago will clinch the season series and take the fourth seed.

Those are a lot of ifs though. Likely, the Bulls are looking at fighting to hold onto the fifth seed. Even so, a first-round matchup with Boston seems a lot friendlier than a first-round matchup with the Heat, 76ers, or Bucks. These last ten games will all be do-or-die for the Bulls, so buckle up for the ride Bulls Nation.

RELATED: DeMar DeRozan is out against New Orleans.