CHICAGO – Despite being two games under .500 through the first half of the year, the Bulls overachieved enough to create some positive vibes through a success-starved fan base.
Compared to what they’ve dealt with since their last playoff appearance in 2017, 16-18 wasn’t too bad.
But some of those positive feelings have dimmed as the second half of the season begins with a difficult slate of teams who are currently in the postseason. The Bulls were hammered to start off play on Thursday in a 22-point defeat at the hands of the Sixers, and while it was a bit better Friday, they were no closer to a win.
There’s one player in particular that was the reason for that at the United Center.
Goran Dragic took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 of his 25 points off the bench in the final 12 minutes. He’d help Miami get out to as much as a 14-point lead before they settled with a 101-90 victory, sending the Bulls to a second-straight defeat in the second half of the season.
Dragic’s effort along with Jimmy Butler’s 28 points helped the Heat offset a pair of strong offensive efforts from Zach LaVine (30 points) and Lauri Markkanen (20 points). Unfortunately for Billy Donovan, the Bulls got just 5-of-23 shooting from the other three starters – Wendell Carter Jr, Coby White, and Patrick Williams.
The rookie was limited to 21 minutes after having some pain in his knee while reserve guard Garrett Temple left the game with an ankle injury. He’s expected to undergo an MRI on Saturday.