Bulls Hope to Make Another Playoff Run

By Julian Brown, Spartan Staff

Last year the Chicago Bulls ended a four-year playoff drought, after finding success in the duo of Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. At that point the Bulls were at the top of the Eastern Conference after a hot start to the season. However, injuries to LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams derailed what was once a promising season.

The good news is that three of those four guys are now fully healthy to enter this season, but the bad news is the Bulls will still be without Ball for what could be a few months after he underwent a second knee surgery this year.

With all these injuries, the Bulls still figure to be in the playoff mix this season. But nevertheless, the team will have to figure out how to navigate the year without its starting point guard, especially when nearly everyone else around them in the East has improved.

Some key changes to the Chicago Bulls roster are they signed free agents Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond. They also selected Dalen Terry with the No. 18 pick in the draft.

Seeing the Bulls is about more than just the game, the teams pregame get fans as warmed up as the players. (Julian Brown)

Due to my parents having season tickets, I was able to attend the November 7th Bulls game against the Toronto Raptors. Zach LaVine scored a season-high of 30 points and the Chicago Bulls coasted to a 111-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. 

LaVine, who didn’t play in Sunday’s nine-point loss at Toronto because of injury management on his knee, scored the Bulls’ first nine points of the fourth quarter. The Bulls held a 15-point lead and were able to cruise the rest of the way. 

“When (LaVine) takes those catch-and-shoot opportunities, as many as he can get, it’s great for us,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. Bulls center Nikola Vucevic recorded his fourth consecutive double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

For the second time in two nights, the Raptors double-teamed Bulls leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, who took only three shots in the first half and scored his first points on a three-point play with 2:43 left in the second quarter. DeRozan finished with nine points, equaling his season low.

Bulls Head Coach Billy Donovan has said he’d like to see more “energy” from the team. (Julian Brown)

“You got to give credit to DeMar for passing it around, taking on the double-team, and I think we did a better job of keeping him to the middle of the floor to where he could read (the defense) easier,” LaVine said after the game.

But reserves Goran Dragic and Javonte Green scored 15 of the Bulls’ 30 first-quarter points that enabled them to overcome a nine-point deficit. “We just didn’t have quite enough juice,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

The Bulls are currently 6-8 and are in 4th place in the Central Division of the NBA. 

Next week, Nov. 23, the team will hit the road and head west for its dreaded West Coast road trip, which includes games at the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors.  

Unless the team fares better than in previous years, they will need to mount a new win streak when they return home against the Washington Wizards on Dec. 7 to get back to the playoffs.