DeMar DeRozan Sends Critical Message to Bulls Locker Room

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls stands on the court.

After struggling against the NBA’s top teams last season, the Chicago Bulls (14-19) have now fallen victim to taking lesser opponents for granted. That should not be the case for a team that is outside of even the Play-In Tournament field but that is where the team finds itself.

Their winning streak was snapped at three games following a 133-118 defeat by the Houston Rockets who came in having lost their last five games.

They also have the worst record in the Western Conference.

It was another sobering loss for the Bulls who seemed to overcome inner turmoil to come together and form the version of the team envisioned when put together. That did not happen and now they are forced to go back to the drawing board as their season sits on the brink of being a total loss.

DeRozan: Bulls’ Effort ‘Unacceptable’

“We got to play with more of a sense of urgency and edge out the gate,” DeRozan said of yet another slow start for the Bulls. “Especially understanding the road we on, we got to feed off that momentum. And understand every game is bigger than the last.”

Chicago found itself down 23-5 before chipping into the Rockets’ lead.

They eventually overtook the young squad to go up 65-64 at halftime. But another slow start in the third quarter saw the Bulls get outscored 35-24 heading into the fourth quarter and the Bulls were never able to recover dropping them to a confounding 3-8 versus teams with a losing record.

“That’s unacceptable,” DeRozan said of letting Houston get out to a hot start. “That just comes with defensive effort, playing with toughness and a sense of urgency.”

The Bulls were outscored 60-44 in the paint and outrebounded 45-35.

There were plenty of individual breakdowns on defense as well with the Rockets only notching one more assist than the Bulls despite the 15-point disparity. Normally, that could be attributed to a large disparity in three-point shooting with the Bulls being a low-volume team.

But Houston hit just four more threes on the night, though six of their 17 makes came in the fourth quarter compared to just three of the Bulls 13 made threes.

“We let them get on the run,” DeRozan said. “And a team like that, they don’t know no better. Once they see a couple go it, they are going to shoot anything and think it’s going to go in. That’s what happened. We didn’t give no resistance to make them second-guess any of their shots.”

In The Bulls’ Defense

The Bulls surprised many by sporting a strong defense to start the season with a 110.8 defensive rating through 26 games, per, ranking seventh in the league. Since then, however, their rating has plummeted to 30th at 122.9 with their play over the last seven games.

They have allowed at least 125 points three times in the last seven games after only allowing opponents to cross that mark five times in the previous 26 games.

At the same time, their offensive rating has gone from 110.7 to 115.

The Bulls have been without starting point guard Alex Caruso for the past two games while Javonte Green has missed the last five outings. Caruso and Green rank first and second on the team, respectively, in both defensive and net rating, per Cleaning The Glass. Their absence stands out far more than one might assume based on who the Bulls still have available.

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