On the whole, things have been objectively good for the Chicago Bulls this season. Sitting at 6-2 on the year with a win over the 6-1 Utah Jazz to its credit, the team suddenly looks capable of getting star guard Zach LaVine to a place he still hasn’t been after more than seven years in the league.
Namely, the NBA Playoffs.
That said, every big game feels like a measuring-stick matchup for the Bulls, who still have more than their fair share of detractors. And during Wednesday night’s bout the Philadelphia 76ers, LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and their crew weren’t equal to the task.
Chicago stumbled out of the gate and continued to pose only a minimal threat from three-point range. Consequently, the Bulls couldn’t capitalize on big-time advantages in the paint (52-36) or on the fastbreak (28-11) and the shorthanded Sixers stole the game, 103-98.
It was a disappointing turn of events, and the Bulls will have their work cut out for them on Nov. 6 with a Sixers rematch, which is followed by a Nov. 8 game against the Brooklyn Nets. For his part, though, DeRozan doesn’t appear to be sweating the setback.
DeRozan on the ‘Learning Curve’
Without DeRozan, the game may not have turned out as well as it did for the Bulls, who had to scratch and claw their way back into it after trailing by 18. He finished with 37 points on 13-of-22 shooting and it still wasn’t enough to get his squad over the hump.
Despite the all-for-naught night, the four-time All-Star remains confident in his cohorts. For him, games like this are just part of the process of a new team — with a cadre of young players — coming together. Early successes aside, it’s still a process that takes time.
“Learning curve,’’ DeRozan said of some recent shakiness, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “Everything can’t be perfect. Pretty sure we’re going to go back and look at this game, understand the mistakes, where we made the mistakes, the play-calls we’re making at times, things we’re doing on both ends that we can be better at. We’re not even 10 games in, and there’s a lot we can learn from and we will take from this.’’
DeRozan has a pretty good idea about where the fine-tuning should start, too.
“It definitely has to start [with defense],’’ he said. “That’s when we’re at our best, getting out in transition. When we work together defensively, we’ve shown it throughout the games when we’ve needed it the most. We got to put that pressure on as soon as tip-off.’’
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Bulls Reach 100% Vaccination Rate
The Bulls may have had their bouts with COVID-19 last season, but they’re determined to have better fortune in 2021-22. To that end, the team just reached a big milestone in its efforts to keep everyone healthy and on the floor.
As reported by NBC Sports Chicago, the Bulls have achieved a 100% vaccination rate among their players. It was noted that the team had made a point to offer as much education/information as possible on the subject of COVID-19, vaccination, et al. to players who hadn’t received their shots.
That effort looks to have paid dividends.
At his season-opening news conference, NBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated that the leaguewide vaccination rate was “roughly 96 percent.”
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