The Bulls have been floundering since acquiring big man Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline. They had to figure out chemistry and then they lost Zach LaVine for an extended period of time due to the NBA's health and safety protocols. Most recently, the Bulls lost to Julius Randle and the Knicks and they needed a win against Milwaukee for a spark to get them back into the playoff conversation.
In case you were wondering, that is not what happened. The Bulls came out against the Bucks with an interesting strategy -- scoring 16 whole points in the first quarter in an effort to lull the Bucks to sleep and mount a comeback (probably).
It was ugly, but the Bulls seemingly started to find their footing in the second quarter. They outscored the Bucks 28-24 in the second frame. Interestingly, the Bulls tried the same strategy they used in the first quarter in the third: they only scored 19 points. Despite scoring 35 in the fourth quarter to make the game appear a little closer than it actually was, the Bucks coasted to a 108-98 victory without their best player.
With the loss, the Bulls dropped to three games out of the tenth seed in the Eastern Conference. Given they have nine games left and a very difficult schedule ahead of them, it appears you can call it and say the Bulls will not be vying for a playoff spot.
Bright Spots or Whatever
There were some good things that happened in the game. Despite shooting 40% from the field, Coby White logged 21 points and dished out seven assists. Couple that with only one turnover and 50% shooting from three, and you can say that White had another good game. His recent solid play has been a pleasant development with Zach LaVine sidelined.
You can also point to Daniel Theis as a bright spot. The big man produced a double-double with 16 points and ten rebounds on 7/9 shooting. He only played 25 minutes, which is interesting in a game where the Bulls were missing both Lauri Markkanen and All-Star in the making Cristiano Felicio. Still, the man played well and showed why many Bulls fans hope the team finds a way to re-sign him in the offseason.
Off Night for Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic has been incredibly consistent and efficient while wearing a Bulls uniform. However, he really struggled tonight. Despite putting up 17 points and 15 boards, Vucevic shot 25.9% from the floor. What's more concerning is that he put up 27 shots despite being cold all night. It was another example of how much the Bulls need LaVine back on the court.
What’s On Tap Next?
Next up for the Bulls is the 34-30 Atlanta Hawks, who visit the United Center at 7:00 PM CT on Saturday. The game will air on NBC Sports Chicago. The Hawks currently hold the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. It will be interesting to see what kind of performance the Bulls put together coming off of a brutal loss. We will see if any Bulls who were out tonight can return for that game. You know we will keep you posted, so check back with us here.