The Chicago Bulls‘ first home game in five years was a matter of pride for many fans in the area. One, who happens to be quite notable, called them out for their disheartening showing in a 111-81 historic loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
Former Chicago Bears linebacker Lane Briggs spent all 12 seasons of his NFL career sharing a city with the Bulls – and his teams were not always the most competitive.
Briggs was a seven-time Pro Bowler, was named an All-Pro in 2005, and helped lead the Bears to their most recent Super Bowl appearance in 2006. In other words, he has some credibility with knowing what it takes in big games.
What Briggs didn’t know was something that many Bulls fans wondered while watching their team concede the homecourt advantage they had stolen just a game before.
All of Us
One question can strike so deep when you relate to it. Watching a team struggle to find its offense can be especially disturbing when many thought the defense was going to be the problem.
The defense was still an issue, But their futility on offense seemed to have subsided with their efficiency in Game 2.
Even with some regression, what we saw on Friday was a staunch reminder of what this series was predicted to be. Still, their surprising effort in Game 2 and Khris Middleton’s MCL sprain altered the Bulls’ outlook slightly.
Fans came flocking to reply, and some, like this user, chose to try offering some sort of explanation.
That last part is a nice reminder of Alex Caruso’s message to the team in the locker room after their big Game 2 win about human nature giving the wounded Bucks the advantage.
He was right.
Game 2 was more than luck, the Bulls made their shots and the Bucks were slow to adjust. The situation reverted to something closer to Game 1 when the Bulls struggled from deep just as they had in Game 3.
But the Bulls might not be done building.
What Can’t Happen
Game 4 has to begin with better energy. The Bulls took a 3-2 1:14 into the first quarter. That was their last lead as they shot 33.3% from the floor in the opening frame, finding themselves down 33-17 to start the second quarter.
Clearly, Caruso’s message did not sink in for the team given their performance.
The Bulls need more from Zach LaVine – who is playing through a balky knee – than 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting. They also need more from a bench that was almost outscored by Allen’s 22 points were it not for Tony Bradley’s 10 points in garbage time giving them 26 points as a unit for the game.
Coby White struggled with just six points on 22.2% shooting and 1-of-6 threes.
A bigger issue is that White is the only one they can expect any consistent production from off of the bench adding insult to injury when he is off as has been the case far too often this season.
DeRozan went from a playoff career-high 41 points to 11 points while getting off just nine shots.
Credit the Bucks’ defense and fault the Bulls’ offense. But Briggs’ reaction to the debacle on Friday was warranted.