The Chicago Bulls are going through a rebuild, so it’s no surprise that they’re struggling this season, entering Saturday night’s game at home against the Celtics with a 6-20 record.
Still, it’s clear there are expectations in Chicago to play better than they have, as Fred Hoiberg was fired last week and Jim Boylen was put in his place, with a deal through 2020. The Bulls were 1-1 in Boylen’s first two games as head coach, as he seems to be bringing back a Thibs-esque style of play, driving players hard (they had back-to-back multi-hour practices last week) and trying to slow the game down.
On Saturday, things went off the rails for the Bulls as they lost to Boston by a 133-77 final score. That 56-point margin of defeat is the largest in Chicago franchise history, along with being the largest win in Celtics franchise history (previously 51 points) and tying the NBA record for the most lopsided road win.
After the game, Boylen was clearly displeased with the effort from his squad as he continuously said he was “disappointed” by his team’s play.
The Bulls allowed the Celtics to shoot over 53 percent from the field and over 51 percent from three-point range, as Boston poured in 22 triples on the evening. Chicago, however, shot 38.3 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three. That kind of disparity is the recipe for a disastrous night, and the question for the Bulls remains where do they go from here. At 6-21, the Bulls have slid to last in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind Cleveland and Atlanta who both won on Saturday.
Chicago is very clearly a team seeking its identity and the coaching change only seems to be confusing the issue more. Early in the season this was a team that scored in bunches, but didn’t stop anyone. Now it seems to be trying to swing to the other end of the spectrum and, clearly, there will be growing pains with that — and plenty of questions as to whether they have the personnel to make that work even as they get more games under their belt.