The Chicago Bulls are in the middle of a fight to make the playoffs, and they just lost three games in a row — two to the Knicks and one to the Magic. Teams that you wouldn’t exactly describe as powerhouses. The losses left Chicago two games back of Detroit and Indiana — the teams tied for the seven and eight seeds — with just 10 games left to play.
What is going wrong in Chicago?
Mike Dunleavy had an answer that was honest.
Nobody seems to have an answer. Look at these quotes from the Bulls, via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.
“It’s a lot. It’s not one thing here or there,” said forward Mike Dunleavy. “It’s not the offense or defense, it’s both. It’s a lot of stuff. To say one thing we’re not doing right and it’ll solve everything, that’s just not the case. It’s a bunch of stuff we’re struggling with. Effort, execution, discipline, continuity, you can go through the whole thing.”
“Just a lack of competitiveness; All we talked about is getting off to a good start tonight, giving ourselves a chance,” Fred Hoiberg said. “We win games, more often than not, when we win the first quarter. They came out and scored 36 on us in the first 12 minutes.”
“Is the answer in the room? Hell, we all we got, it better be in this room,” Jimmy Butler said. “And it better carry from this locker room to on the court. That’s the only way to get this fixed, nobody’s gonna play basketball for us.”
The prediction odds at fivethirtyeight.com give the Bulls and eight percent chance of making the playoffs now. The theory goes that they still have a softer schedule the rest of the way than the Pistons, so they can climb back in it.
But if they can’t beat the Knicks and Magic, that’s moot.
Next Saturday the Bulls host the Pistons, that game could be their last stand. Or their Waterloo.