Bulls close out group play with loss to Celtics
David Butler - USA Today Sports

Bulls close out group play with loss to Celtics

by - Senior Writer -

BOSTON - In another Deja Vu night for the Chicago Bulls (5-14), their classic slow start led to an ugly finish as their losing streak reached five games. This time, it came against the Boston Celtics (14-4) and their Eastern Conference-leading record as the Bulls closed out the Group Play round of the in-season tournament with a 124-97 loss.

Mercifully, this tournament is over for the Bulls as they failed to win a game in the group stage and will add two games to their schedule on the sixth and eighth of December to finish the season with 82 games. At this point, do the fans even care if they have more games to play, as this team looks completely lifeless on the court. With two games against the Bucks and Heat and a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, you have to wonder if their losing streak will reach 10 straight games before it is all said and done.

Going further into their schedule and according to ESPN Bets, the Bulls will only be favored once they play the San Antonio Spurs around Christmas. That is a long time away, and many fans wonder when losing will stop. Most would be okay with losing against a team like Boston, as they are a much better team from top to bottom. However, the losing is getting old in Chicago, but unlike the past few seasons, this year seems different as the team isn't even competitive and continues to get blown out.

The more concerning part of the whole thing is that there is no accountability being had as they continue to do the same things over and over again without consequences. Usually, that would call for someone to get fired, but after getting a secret extension last season, Billy Donovan is safe, and he knows it. However, you did hear Arturas Karnisovas come forward yesterday to take some of the blame for the team's struggles and put it on him to fix it. Talk is cheap unless you do something, and the clock is officially ticking on this current front office.

After playing their best first quarter of the season on Sunday, the Bulls got back into their first-quarter struggles on Monday as they allowed the Celtics to jump out to a 31-20 lead. This isn't a team you want to fall behind against, especially not by double digits in the first quarter, as that makes things an uphill climb the rest of the way. To make matters worse, Boston outscored the Bulls by 18 points the next two quarters, with Zach Lavine leaving the game with foot soreness. All that led to another blowout loss as this team continues to get embarrassed each night.

Even with Lavine going down after 25 minutes, he was nonexistent in the game, as he finished with two points on just 1-9 shooting. Talk about a player that has checked out this season despite what he says postgame. Nikola Vucevic also had another rough night and was held to under 10 points for the second straight game, finishing with eight. Anytime two of your big three combine for just 10 points, you know it will be a long night, and the Bulls had no answers on the offensive end.

Demar DeRozan tried his best to shoulder the offense with a team-high 19 points. Still, he was also complaining of a nagging injury as he reaggravated his hip, leaving his availability in question for Thursday. 29 points from your big three is unacceptable, and it will be nearly impossible for a team to win a game when 60% of your starting lineup can't even combine for 50 points.

When games like this happen, you need other players to step up, and Coby White and Patrick Williams continue to be those guys. Not only did White add 19 points, with Williams picking up 13, but both are playing with more heart than anyone on this team right now. That is especially important for Williams, who is finally starting to show signs of life as a player. Chicago also had solid games from Ayo Dosunmu (10), Jevon Carter (8), and Alex Caruso (8) off the bench, but the need for more firepower from the starting five was the difference.

You hear this all the time when it comes to Donovan. His system will only work if you have superstars in it. Chicago has stars but no Superstars, and you can see the struggles because of it. Boston, on the other hand, has a pair of superstars, and one continues to have his way against the Bulls in Jaylen Brown. He's not the guy you think about when discussing the Celtics' offense. Brown was excellent on Tuesday as he knocked down 12 shots on better than 50% shooting to come away with a game-high 30 points.

He shouldered the load on an off night for Jayson Tatum, who still finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. If that is considered an off night, sign me up, as the Bulls would take that all day as an off night. What makes this Celtics team so dangerous is the overall depth on their roster, as six players scored in double figures on Tuesday.

That included all five Celtics starters as they dominated the Bulls starting five from the opening jump. Al Horford put together one of his better games of the season with 16 points and nine rebounds as he continues to produce against this Chicago team. You also had 14 points each from Jrue Holiday and Derrick White, as Holiday nearly had a triple-double with nine assists and seven boards.

Holiday is the name that stings as he was available for the taking on the open market this season, and the Bulls decided not to trade for him when they needed a PG. Payton Pritchard made it six players in double figures with 11 points off the bench as the Celtics slaughtered the Bulls to close out the group round of the tournament.


Amidst the Bulls struggles at the NBA level, the Windy City Bulls have been playing well and at the very least, given the Bulls something to look forward too in the future. Tuesday was a vastly different story as the 5-1 Indiana Mad Ants continued their hot start with a 131-97 victory. This was the worst defeat of the season for the Bulls, and it came on a night when the Chicago Bulls also played like garbage.

No one will sit here and tell you the Windy City roster is better than the Bulls roster, but you at least need to take notice of some of these players and wonder if they can help the NBA team. Undrafted rookie Adama Sanogo comes to mind, as he has been by far the best player for Windy City this season. Already on a run of four double-doubles in his last five games, Sanogo made it five for six as he led the Bulls with 21 points and 18 rebounds. Considering the lack of size in Chicago, there is no reason not to give him some minutes.

Turkish sharpshooter Onurlap Bitim is another player starting to come into his own as he added 14 points. Known for his outside shot, Bitim has shown a much different arsenal to his game this season, and with his two-way contract, it is only a matter of time before the Bulls tear down this roster, and he sees minutes. Justin Lewis (11), Quenton Jackson (11), and Henri Drell (10) all finished in double figures for the Bulls, as did Chris Clemons (12) off the bench, but it wasn't enough to take down the scoring hot Mad Ants.

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