There is not much to say at this time. Bulls are 48 games in year 2 of their reconstruction and now healthy they have somehow taken a step back. What should be a dipstick in the second half with a complete grid, has now become an alarming sign that this team has not improved in any area and they are training down. The latest in numerous ugly performances could have been the worst during Jim Boylen, who spotted a 14-win Hawks team a 20 point first half lead and ultimately suffered their ninth loss by 17 or more points under Boylen.
The Same Typical Answers reverberated in the closet: Bulls must take what they do in practice and put it into use in games; Noise needs to defend better; The noise must be harder; The noise needs to be taken care of. At least in public they have not got themselves or each other. They are surprisingly upbeat despite having a victory in 201
But at some point the results have to speak. Boylen said after the match he did not judge bulls on victories and losses and even quoted that the twenties did not play all that well in their lonely 2019 win in Cleveland and committed 18 turnovers. It has become ugly and there is only so much that can be said. Actions speak and the twenties are silent last month.
The most match the team showed was that Bobby Portis took exception to Justin Anderson dunk with 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. He entered a short splicing with Alex Len on a free throw attempt. But the twenties also inexplicably distorted at the half-tower when the hawks tried to run out of watch so the hackers played. Ironically, it was the first time all night in Atlanta felt the choke of the Bull's defense … and they still managed to get two free throws out of it.
The highest that United Center got on Wednesday night was from a small pocket fan near Hawk's bench chanting "We want Vince!" Carter did not enter the game, but if he did, he would probably have found open space to score against a Bull's defense that did not stop much of anything.
Boylen lowered into Bulls' pace as he took over, and it actually led to a more effective defense. No 8 had the 8th defense in Boylen's first month at work. The crime was a mess, but at least the twenties showed improvement. But in the last three weeks, the defense has dropped to 29 in the NBA. Yes, Justin Holiday and Wendell Carter Jr. is gone. No, they are not Paul George and Rudy Gobert.
At least there was some excitement over the two previous games when the twenties made 27 3-pointers against the Heat and Cavaliers. It came against two of the league's worst defenses, but even Boylen admitted that the twenties sought to increase their pace.
Before the game, Boylen said he felt in his heart that twenty-three point attempts were not enough for the twenties. Against a Hawks team that led the NBA one at a time, there were for Bulls giving it at least one trip and raising 3-pointers in an up-tempo game. If the defense did not improve at least, they could continue to push the pace and find open sliders to try to score with a Hawks team ranked 24 in defensive efficiency.
Bulls took 3 pointers on three of their first four shots. They took 23 the rest of the night. They made 8 out of 26 over the arch; Atlanta went 9 out of 17 from deep in the first half alone and ended with 15 triples. The Markkan (22 points), LaVine (23 points) and Kris Dunn (16 points) were bright spots, but most of these numbers came with Bulls beating a team spun by Magic at home two nights earlier.
It has somehow become worse. Forty-seven games of the year that all bulls must show are that they have added a piece in Carter and that LaVine is a good scorer. They don't have to win – Zion Williamson would be a worthy consolation prize – but they must improve at some point. Worse than lack of improvement is lack of effort, and a lot of young talent prospects are somehow back. They will continue to say all the right things, but until there is some kind of results, it will all feel cheap.