On January 9, the Bulls began their west coast trip facing teams like: the Portland Trailblazers, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and are capping it off with the Denver Nuggets.
Their first game resulted in a 112-124 loss to Portland in a game where the first three quarters were very competitive and fast paced.
Nonetheless, this game showed what we saw against Indiana about a week ago, that the Bulls have the potential to play at fast pace and be successful at it.
I’d love to see more of this style of play. It just baffles me why a coach has a bunch of 20-year-old athletes playing like they’re in their mid 30’s. These guys are young and if you want to capitalize on their full potential, allow them roam freely and not run that stagnant half court offense that’s been dreadful to watch.
With this tough schedule the Bulls have ahead, I expect them to maybe win one game. These teams are all playoff contenders with established stars and valuable players with experience.
It would honestly be a miracle if they even did that.
This road trip may be bigger than you think.
Can the back court of the future compete with the best?
It will reveal if the back court of Dunn (who has been playing excellent) and LaVine can compete with star back courts like Curry/Thompson, Lilliard/McCollum, Rubio/Mitchell, and I’ll even throw in Ball/Hart.
Kris Dunn averages 13.9 points on 48 percent shooting, while collecting nearly 5 rebounds and 6.9 assists.
Zach LaVine is top 15 in scoring, averaging 23.5 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Both are having terrific seasons, I like their chances against everyone but the Splash Brothers.
Defense put to the test
It will also showcase if this Boylen defense is legit or not. With the exception of the Utah Jazz, this road trip has the Bulls going against high powered offenses that will prove if this recently improved defense is something we can expect in the future or if it’s been a fluke. Since Boylen took over, the Bulls defense allowed an average of 102 points per game. They are playing way better than they were at the start of the season.
What I’m most interested in seeing is that “road dog mentality” that Jim Boylen has been raving about. To see if the Bulls can bring the fight to their opponents home court.
They should embark on a gritty, physical culture especially when you have players like Bobby Portis and Kris Dunn. This team lacks toughness. I want to see multiple efforts, bodies diving on the floor, consistent hustles plays, and high emotion and energy from players.
To eventually be a great team those are things you need on a nightly basis.
But our biggest question is if the Bull offense can continue to compete?
With a healthy roster for the first time in what seems to be ages, there is no excuse to not go out and compete every night.
I really have no idea what to expect on this road trip, but if there were any takeaways from the Portland game, it’s that this team has the capability to score with the league’s top offenses. It just about compiling consistent scoring efforts and growing together.
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