Things aren’t going well for the Chicago Bulls in 2015, losing six of their last eight games and Derrick Rose, who is having a mostly healthy but inconsistent season was the most vocal of the players about the rough stretch they are going through.
The 108-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers was the ninth time in the last 11 games that the Bulls have given up over 100 points. A team that was known for defense and effort before anything else these last few years can’t overcome the injuries to Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy and put a consistent, defensive effort on the court. After having the 5th-best FG% defense during the 2014 portion of this season, they have been 5th-worst in 2015.
Everybody has to be on the same page. Until then, we’re going to continue to get our ass kicked. It’s just the whole team. “I think communication is huge. We’re quiet when we’re out there, and it’s leading to them getting easy baskets. We got to give a better effort. It seems like we’re not even competing, and it’s f—ing irritating. We’re midway through the season. There’s no excuses. My biggest thing is competing. Playing this game for so long, when you don’t have that edge, we’re going to keep getting our ass whooped.
As Tom Thibodeau said in a different interview, the key to competing and overcoming injuries is playing hard on defense and doing well when it comes to rebounding the ball. The Bulls haven’t been successful in both categories over the last two or three weeks, going into 2015 with a 22-10 record. They’ve falling 7.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks, going 5-6 this month so far and headed into a very rough patch of games, although playing on the road has often been easier for them this season.
Rose might be scoring more this month (19.4 points per game in January) but his shooting is way off the mark after more responsible numbers earlier this season, hitting less than 40% of his shots and hovering around the 35% in the last two losses. Jimmy Butler has really declined lately, maybe the biggest cause for concern. Until not too long ago some mentioned him as an MVP candidate, but he’s averaging just 17 points on 40.3% from the field in January, getting to line only 5.8 times a game.