Despite the best efforts of players and coaches alike, sometimes outside factors conspire to knock a team down a peg. Such has been the case for the Chicago Bulls, who boast the second-best record in the Eastern Conference as of this writing but are suddenly getting beat down by COVID-19.
Over the last two weeks, the Bulls have seen 10 players enter into the NBA‘s health and safety protocols, including Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Meanwhile, Coby White is the only one currently eyeing a return to the floor. The situation has gotten so crazy, in fact, that the league opted to cancel the Bulls’ next two games.
It has been an incredibly unfortunate turn of events given the surprising way in which Chicago had stormed out of the gate. Even before the outbreak, though, there were some that doubted the Bulls’ playoff viability, and who can blame them? The franchise hasn’t sniffed the postseason since 2017.
If you ask Bulls coach Billy Donovan, however, he’ll tell you that his team is for real.
Coach Donovan Talks Bulls’ Ability to Sustain
As with most coaches, Donovan prefers to take things one game at a time. While the sports media in the Windy Cindy and nationally have debated the sustainability of what the Bulls are doing, the team’s coach has largely kept his focus on whoever his squad is facing that particular night.
Recently, though, Donovan let slip his thoughts on whether Chicago can keep it rolling into the postseason. And it seems as though he’s confident in the club’s ability to do so.
“I do think this is sustainable,” Donovan said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “But listen once you get into the playoffs and are fortunate to play in the postseason, it’s like one team versus one team, and that’s all you’re focused on.”
He went on to note that playoffs are a war of attrition, where every bucket gotten is the result of a full-on battle. Nevertheless, he thinks his team is built to get the job done.
“Trying to find baskets is hard to come by. There’s no secrets, there’s no tricks. You try putting in some new ATOs and things like that, but the familiarity over two and three games is incredible. But I do think this group can sustain our edge.’’
Donovan Says Bulls Have the Right Habits
According to Donovan, the pressure of postseason play is such that teams are forced to go back to basics. However, he believes that his Bulls are keenly aware of the foundation that they must build during the regular season.
“What happens in pressure situations is most teams revert back to your habits,’’ Donovan said. “It gets to the end of the year and we don’t have good habits, it’s hard to say in a timeout, ‘Hey, let’s block-out and rebound better.’ You haven’t been doing that the whole entire year. There’s certain things you have to do habitually every single night that the game needs you to do. That’s what we need to continue building.
“Our veteran guys understand that, and that’s a good thing.”