Well we’re 38 games into the 2016-2017 Chicago Bulls season, and they are who we thought they were: a team mired in mediocrity (thanks for the term Rick Hahn) with no clear direction. The Bulls need to take a page out of the White Sox playbook and sell their assets to rebuild for the future. Being a .500 team and the 7th seed in the East with an aging roster may be the worst situation in the NBA right now, minus the dumpster fire that is the Nets who mortgaged their future for a couple 40 years old a few years back. Jimmy deserves better, Hoiberg deserves a chance, and this fan base deserves better. Now let’s take a look at the 109-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (23-16) that dropped the Bulls to 19-19.
- With Jimmy Butler suffering from the flu, the stud Guard could not duplicate the effort of his Herculean predecessor (MJ) from the ’97 Finals. Butler finished with just a singular point on 0/6 shooting from the field and clearly wasn’t himself, but credit his competitive nature for gutting out 29 minutes that could not have felt good for him. Without Jimmy, the Bulls were down to one alpha for the night.
- Dwyane Wade was the most consistent threat for the Bulls throughout the night, scoring 22 on 7/16 shooting while also distributing six dimes. Wade also was able to get to the line on a consistent basis going 6/8 on the night. However, Wade could not do it all by himself on this night as he could not keep up with the electric Thunder attack.
- Fan favorite Cristiano Felicio had himself a nice game, going for a double-double (11 points and 11 boards) on an efficient 5/6 shooting. Felicio’s energy is a breath of fresh air for this Bulls team and he almost always has an impact with his hustle when he’s on the floor. Obviously he will never be a star in this league, but Felicio has proven himself an asset to bring off the bench.
- Unfortunately, the rest of the Bulls attack was meager to say the least. As a whole, the Bulls shot an appalling 40% (34/84) that would struggle to keep you competitive in a Big Ten brawl. This team is too one-dimensional to confuse any defense and not athletic enough to get to the hoop when that;s their most effective way to score. This team is not built to highlight their strengths or their coaches preferred game plan. For a coach that needs someone to space the floor for his plan to be executed, he hasn’t had the benefit of a bonafide starter whose strength that is.
- Per usual, Russell Westbrook led the Thunder charge on Monday night. The California native had himself a near triple-double (an off night for him) with 21 points, 14 assists, and nine rebounds. Westbrook is absolutely electric on a basis that is hard to comprehend. To play with that much fire night in and night out is truly a pleasure to watch for fans of the game.
- Steven Adams also played a nice complimentary piece tonight scoring 22 on 11/14 shooting from the floor. Adams gives this team a much needed inside presence and needs to bring his scoring ability on a more consistent basis for the Thunder to be competitive in the top-heavy West.
- Up Next: The Bulls head to our nations capital to take on the Wizard sans Butler and Wade. Apparently Rondo is scheduled to try and contain Wall, should be quite the spectacle.