We all knew the main teams in the Eastern Conference that would make the playoffs. You have the 76ers, Bucks, Celtics, Heat and Raptors that are all playing really well. Even the Nets to most people were making the playoffs. However, those last two spots in East were up for grabs. Pistons are a name thrown around because of Blake Griffin, you also have the Magic with Nikola Vucevic and Markelle Fultz. The Hawks were also another name because of Trae Young and the youth movement there. But there was another name being talked about, that was the Chicago Bulls.
This team is filled with super young talent and some savy veterans that you people thought that would make the difference. Instead, they have started off the year 2-6 and all of those losses have come off leading in the fourth. The latest being the Lakers last night, where they saw themselves up 13 going into the fourth and the team couldn’t score for four straight minutes and get out-scored 38-19. Head Coach Jim Boylen decided to not put his starters in until it was too late. The main guys lost their rhythm, and as a result lost that game. Granted, it’s against a title-contender in the Lakers but this is unacceptable. Boylen decided to not put his best players in and keep the foot on the gas peddle. On a night where Anthony Davis looked invisible, Boylen decided to not take advantage of.
This isn’t the first blown loss by this team in the fourth quarter either, there are multiple just this season. They are also to teams with far less talent, for example the first game of the season. With the Bulls up 10 points against the Hornets with six minutes left, that should be game. However they managed to let the Devonte Graham and Dwayne Bacon get red-hot in the last few minutes and the game slipped away from them. How about against the New York Knicks where they were up 10 points and former-Bull Bobby Portis runs them over in a victory. Even against the Cavaliers where they are only up four, but have had the lead most of the game and blew that one.
There have been a handful of games where the Bulls should pull out the win and end up blowing it. Boylen may be dealing with a young team, but you have to know when and when not to keep guys in there. Against the Lakers, Coby White and Chandler Hutchinson felt like they were in the game for far too long. Seeing the lead slip-away is more damaging to a player than giving him the most amount of minutes. Boylen clearly felt differently as he doubled-down on his statement regarding the decision to make substitutions.
Unfortunately there are more problems on the Bulls besides bad coaching decisions. Some of the blame has to go around to the players, and they’re horrible play. Most of their best scorers are shooting well under 40 percent from the field. Lauri Markannen shooting 37.6 percent from the field and 26.5 from three. Otto Porter is shooting 38.5 percent and Coby White is at 37.6 percent and 25.6 from three. They need more production from those three guys, plain and simple. They have been in-efficient mostly under-whelming (giving White a huge pass, he is a rookie).
Their star Zach LaVine has some very solid averages, shooting 44 percent from the field, 40 precent from three with 21.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and four assists. However in fourth quarters he has to be better. When the ball gets to him, it stops there. He is playing hero-ball instead of spreading it around and as a result, it’s hurting the rest of his team. LaVine is trying to prove everyone wrong and show he can be a leader, but right now the people have been proven right.
With all of this being said, it’s only eight games into the season. But these are winnable games against teams that aren’t very good and they sit at 2-6 on the season. There is no guarantee with who makes the playoffs, but Boylen is running out of time before a change needs to be made at Head Coach. There is no “real” leader on this team or guy who can take over right now. It seems to hurt them horribly in the fourth quarter and I don’t know how they turn this around.