Losing Has Become Bulls Identity

Feb 1, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) walks off the court after their 105-96 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) walks off the court after their 105-96 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the fact they were advertised as a championship-caliber ball club, the Chicago Bulls continue to find different ways to lose games.

I’m not sure how Chicago Bulls fans would describe the team they’ve been watching this season. The word inconsistent has been thrown around quite often because the Bulls have a habit of following up every impressive win with an equally disappointing, head-scratching loss.

Remember that impressive wire-to-wire 96-83 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 23? After that contest, everything appeared to be right with the world.

Until the next game, that is.

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A few nights later, against a Miami Heat squad that was missing two starters and in the midst of a four-game losing skid, the Bulls were outscored by a 28-16 margin in the final frame en route to an 89-84 loss. Dwyane Wade led Miami’s late-game charge, scoring 10 of his 28 points in the period, handing the Bulls their fourth consecutive loss at home.

How about that 114-93 win over the hapless Los Angeles Lakers that helped jump start the Bulls’ seven-game road trip? This one was one of the few instances when the Bulls did not play down to or below the level of competition.

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With Derrick Rose (16 points) and Jimmy Butler (26 points) starting to get on the same page, it appeared that the Bulls were finally starting to figure things out. But once again, that feeling would not last for long.

In a game against the Los Angeles Clippers a few days later, the Bulls were run out of the gym, to put it mildly. The one factor that stood out to me in this contest was the fact that the Bulls failed to contest a lot of perimeter shots.

As a result of Chicago’s unwillingness to defend, the Clippers connected on 17 of their 32 attempts from beyond the arc, which equates to a 53 percent conversion rate. I understand that offense comes and go, but when you don’t put forth the necessary effort on defense, this is the results you will get.

With barely 24 hours to get the bad taste of out their mouth from the outing against the Clippers, the Bulls faced a Utah Jazz team with a sub-.500 record. On paper, the odds were the Bulls were going to get back into the win column.

This especially appeared to be the case when Rose connected on this three-pointer with 19 seconds remaining in regulation.

Being that this was Rose’s first made field goal from distance in 10 days, the Bulls had to win the game right?


On the ensuing possession, Gordon Hayward split a pair of free throws, but the Jazz managed to come up with the loose rebound and Hayward sent the game into overtime with a driving layup. From that point, the game was over for the Bulls.

In the extra session, the Bulls failed to record a field goal, going 0-for-5 from the field. With Hayward scoring 15 of his 27 points late in the fourth quarter and overtime, the Jazz came out on top 105-96, handing the Bulls their ninth loss in 13 games.

The latest collapse against the Jazz marked the second time this season the Bulls failed to register a field goal in an overtime period. The other instance took place in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves back on Nov. 7. Ironically, the Bulls lost that game by a nine-point margin as well (102-93).

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Taking into consideration the different ways the Bulls have lost games this season, it is safe to say that losing HAS become their identity. When asked about what contributes to losing games they should win, both Fred Hoiberg and the players have cited lack of discipline and communication breakdowns as the primary reasons more times than I can count.

What is really disappointing is that neither of these should be an issue more than halfway through the season. And although Rose mentioned that a players’ only meeting may be on the horizon, it will have little significance if the team is continues to play below its potential.