Bulls still searching for consistency, and doing so on tough road trip

DeMar DeRozan referred to it as “soaking in the hurt.”

Those tough losses that the veteran said sting a little harder, and last a little longer.

The Bulls have been sponges in that department so far this season.

A late October five-point loss in San Antonio, an embarrassing home loss to Orlando almost two weeks ago, and then Friday’s overtime loss in Oklahoma City headline that list of disappointments.

“Sometimes you’ve got to go through whatever you’ve got to go through to understand whatever it is,” DeRozan said. “I think that’s just where we are. We’ve had some down moments, long four games in a row, dropping games we thought we should have won, close games, getting out butts whooped at home.

“Kind of went through so many emotions already 20 games into the season. Sometimes you’ve got to soak in that hurt and kind of generate that to being competitors, and that’s where I think we are now.”

Where they also were was in the midst of a tough six-game road trip that won’t define the season by any means, but could continue to offer up some very important answers.

First being can this team show any signs of consistency?

The Bulls will enter Monday night’s game in Utah 8-11 on the season, but a very deceiving 8-11.

The resume of wins was beyond impressive, starting with two wins over 15-4 Boston, a win in the house of horrors that has been Milwaukee, and wins over expected playoff powerhouses like Miami and Toronto.

Proof that this roster was capable of beating any team in the league.

That was not the case at all last season, when the Bulls went a dismal 3-25 — including the first-round playoff loss to the Bucks — against teams that had a .600 winning percentage or better.

Considering the roster underwent very few changes from that 2021-22 campaign, it’s a group that has seemingly gotten over that hump.

The problem now seems to be plug one hole, and the water finds a leak elsewhere.

Yes, they can beat any team, but they can also lose to any team in the Association, as well.

Those inconsistencies remained ongoing concerns, especially when they feel like there’s inconsistencies with effort and urgency.

Coach Billy Donovan has made his feelings on that topic very clear, and according to DeRozan, it’s been discussed often in the locker room.

“Losing the games we lost, we’ve been holding each other accountable,” DeRozan said. “Everybody’s been speaking up whenever we get a chance — film sessions, practice, we’ve been on each other.”

That accountability will be tested.

If this part of the road trip feels familiar, it should.

Last March, the Bulls had a three-game West Coast swing, starting in Sacramento, then Utah, and finishing in Phoenix.

They lost all three by an average of 17 points.

This time around it’s Utah first up, followed by Phoenix, Golden State, and then Sacramento. Anyway you stack them, however, it’s not an easy road over the remainder of this trip.

And as far as storylines, there will be no shortage of those, starting with facing a Jazz team led by former Bull Lauri Markkanen. By the way, the same Markkanen that was traded to Cleveland back in 2021, and now leads Utah’s Cinderella story in scoring (21.7 points per game) and rebounding (8.4 per game), while also shooting just under 37% from three-point range.

The 7-footer will definitely be a concern, but considering the Bulls’ season so far, Markkanen isn’t really a high priority.

“It’s not even December yet,” DeRozan said. “There’s a lot more basketball to play and a lot more things to figure out. And I got the utmost confidence in this group of guys.”

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *