Chicago Bulls face schedule challenge as they look to maintain a hot start

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The Chicago Bulls marked a dramatic turning point in the calendar by recording their first loss of the season. DeMar DeRozan threw a midrange jumper to the buzzer, with a wild rally in the fourth quarter falling just short, 104-103.

Chicago was one of the stories for the first week of the season, with a new team having their best start in over two decades.

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The 4-0 record was widely taken with a grain of salt in the basketball community, with wins coming against expected non-playoff teams.

The light schedule is about to change dramatically, with the loss to the Knicks opening a scorching 13-game streak against last season’s playoff teams.

Chicago Bulls 12-game schedule
Dated Opponent
October 30 against Utah
November, 1st in Boston
November 3 in Philadelphia
November 6 against Philadelphia
November 8 against Brooklyn
November 10 against Dallas
12 november in Golden State
14 november at LA Clippers
November 15 to the Los Angeles Lakers
November 17 in Portland
November 19 in denver
21 November against New York

The question of defense

At the start of the season, the biggest question mark around the Bulls was on the defensive end. Early returns suggest the backcourt duo of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso unlocked some dashing perimeter defense, with issues still largely tied to their ability to compete on the inside.

Before the game against New York, the Bulls gave up 49.5 points in the paint. Against the Knicks, they lost the battle 50-40.

They also rank in the bottom ten for total opposition rebounds (47.8 per game) and offensive glass (11.2).

Despite the concerns, head coach Billy Donovan believes the defense is way ahead of the offense in terms of building chemistry early in the season.

“Tonight I thought our defense was good. We hurt each other on the boards but our defense kept us. Our guys worked, I just think we need to be more consistent on offense,” Donovan said after the loss. against New York. .

The Bulls’ defensive rating of 97.0 entering the Knicks game was fueled by taking on the Detroit Pistons twice (30th offensive), New Orleans Pelicans (29th) and Toronto Raptors (19th. ). The next step against some of the league’s most powerful offenses is likely to paint a clearer picture of where the Bulls stand.

Bulk offense

Offensively, the Bulls are as advertised even if they have not yet fully touched their straps.

Zach LaVine is expected to thrive playing alongside another dynamic plan maker in DeRozan, while Nikola Vucevic offers a consistent option inside and out. Against the Knicks, the line totaled 67 of Chicago’s 103 points, with Caruso the only other player to hit double digits with 10.

Perhaps the biggest question on that side is who takes the final blow.

That night, it was DeRozan who tried to isolate himself on the right wing, before not touching the edge because RJ Barrett refused to bite on his pump scythe.

“I’m happy with the look. I didn’t expect to be so open. I tried to put myself on my feet, but I rushed a bit at the end,” DeRozan said.

He explained that the play gave him the opportunity to pass the baton to LaVine, who was well covered for any potential transfers.

“Everything revolves around the defender, I saw him change. They changed him, Zach didn’t have an angle, I had an angle to get to my place and shoot, it was just short.”

Despite some good individual point totals, DeRozan believes the offense has room to grow.

“We’re still building, always trying to get our rhythm and figure out where our shots are coming from. It will come over time. There will be this game where we pick up the pace.”

Nikola Vucevic echoed DeRozan’s thoughts

“We’re always trying to figure out how to play with each other. I feel like sometimes when we’re stuck we tend to settle down. It’s about learning each other’s tendencies and what that we like to do in certain situations. “

With the chemistry still on-going, the next stretch could hit the Bulls a little sooner than they wanted. If Chicago can escape the next few games with a 0.500 record, maybe it’s time to believe the hype as the franchise looks to make a return to the playoffs.

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