BOSTON – The big focus of the 2018-2019 season for the Bulls and their fans is to figure out exactly where the franchise is during their current rebuild.
That’s a tough thing to judge at the moment for Fred Hoiberg’s team, considering Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Denzel Valentine are out with injury. Plus the roster and rotation are constantly evolving in their absence, which has led to some forgettable moment early in the season.
Wednesday night was a chance for the Bulls to see a team that was where they hoped to be – rebuild, competitive, and in the select group in the NBA that can legitimately think about winning an NBA championship. They’re not in the first place in the Eastern Conference at the moment, but the Celtics figure to be fighting for that well into the Spring and early Summer.
The rebuilt team certainly showed that against a team trying to find themselves in the NBA world. In the end, the Bulls only had a fourth of the game for the competitive Celtics.
A 24-19 lead after the first quarter went away in the second as Boston outscored the Bulls by 19 points in the second and kept the rout going, winning the game 111-82 at TD Garden on Wednesday evening. Hoiberg’s group drops to 4-11 on the season as they begin a difficult stretch where they face the Bucks (2nd in the East) in Milwaukee Friday then against the East-leading Raptors Saturday at home.
The Bulls had only those first 12 minutes in this showdown against an Eastern Conference power, as Jabari Parker (14 points) hit a jumper just before the end of the first quarter to give the visitors a five-point advantage. It didn’t last as Boston took the lead two-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter, and a 23-7 run to close the half put the Celtics in command after that.
Zach LaVine, who is averaging nearly 26 points a game, was limited to a season-low ten on 3-of-11 shooting. In fact, it was the first time he’d failed to score 20 this season, with Shaquille Harrison leading the Bulls with 16 points off the bench.
It’s just another twist in a difficult start to the second year of the Bulls’ rebuild, and it doesn’t exactly get much easier the rest of the week.