Bulls lack a finishing touch in first week of the 2019-2020 season


NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 28: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks drives to the basket against the Chicago Bulls on October 28, 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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CLEVELAND – Depending on your perspective, the Bulls could be very close to having a positive start to their season.

They have a win already this season and had the lead in the fourth quarter in two other games. Their only decisive loss came at the hands of the reigning champion Raptors, who crushed the Bulls by 24 points at home.

Yet at the same time, the Bulls’ meltdowns in a loss last week to the Hornets and the Knicks on Monday have left a bitter taste for fans as they’ve watched the team slump to a 1-3 record after Week 1. It’s early, sure, but the hopes for a quick start by Jim Boylen’s team have gone a bit away as they start the second week tonight against the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Monday night was a crushing one for the young Bulls as they faced a team even farther down the rebuilding chain. They had an eight-point lead against the Knicks with over three minutes remaining then completely went into a shell on offense and defense. They missed their final seven shots of the game and then watched as the Knicks ripped off 15-straight points to end the game and pick up a 105-98 victory.

To make it worse, former Bulls’ first round draft pick Bobby Portis hit a pair of three-pointers in the stretch to give his new team the victory.

On opening night the late collapse took a little more time but was just as detrimental.

A bucket by Zack LaVine with 6:19 left to go in the game gave the Bulls a ten-point lead before things came apart in Charlotte. The Bulls were held to just a single hoop the rest of the game, and it came in the final 20 seconds, as the Hornets put together an 18-7 run to finish the game along with the visitor’s chance for a victory.

As it has been for a lot of this rebuilding era, there are spots of good mixed in with a healthy amount of bad. Coby White’s first two games (17 and 25 points, respectively) showed promise for the young players and the Bulls have been able to get more three-point attempts like they’d hoped (35.5 per game).

Yet they’ve missed a healthy amount of those attempts, hitting just 27.5 percent of them so far (second-worst in the NBA) and their defense continues to fail them, especially late.

So for those hoping for a positive start to the season, maybe you’ll get it in the second week.


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