Watching the Chicago Bulls get run out of the gym by the Los Angeles Clippers was not easy on the eyes, or the stomach. However, I hoped that after such an embarrassing loss, the Bulls would come out with a better effort when they faced the Portland Trail Blazers on November 18. For the first 12 minutes, it appeared that was the case, as the Bulls built a 30-23 lead. The Blazers dominated the second and most of the third quarter, going up by as many as 15 points. Chicago did fight back to tie the game at 73 early in the fourth quarter, but Portland scored seven consecutive points and the Bulls simply did not have enough in the tank to mount a serious run the rest of the way. As a result, the Blazers came away with a 102-94 victory to extend their winning streak to three games, while handing the Bulls their second straight loss.
One of the common denominators in the losses to the Clippers and the Blazers was sloppy ball handling. Once again, we were careless with the basketball, committing 19 turnovers, which led to 26 points for the opposition. Even with Derrick Rose in the lineup, we are not a team that can afford to give an opponent extra possessions. When this happens, it generally spells trouble, something the Bulls have found out over the last two games.
As Tom Thibodeau pointed out in the post-game interview, the Bulls have struggled not only with turnovers, but with defense and rebounding as well. While that assessment is an accurate one, I would like to point to another intangible that contributed to both losses – lack of hustle. In both games, the Bulls looked very lethargic at times. We were a few steps slower in the game against the Clippers and we gave up a ton of second-chance points in the loss to the Blazers. I understand there will be nights when a team will struggle offensively. However, there is no reason for not playing well defensively and bringing a high level of intensity each night. With a few days off before their next game against the Houston Rockets, I am hoping the Bulls will rediscover their identity and play with more energy than we have seen this past weekend.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bulls since the 1987-1988 season. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
“Bulls fall to Trail Blazers 102-94; lose 2 nd consecutive game on road”, Joe Cowley, Chicago Sun-Times
Bulls vs. Blazers Recap – November 18 2012