Sunday night the Chicago Bulls had a chance to get one of those confidence-building wins heading into the end of the season that should have come fairly easily. Coming into the game with the Detroit Pistons, the Bulls were riding the momentum of a gritty win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night after beating them with just a little over half of a healthy roster. Tonight, the Bulls failed to take advantage of a terrible Pistons team that clearly have nothing to play for and ended up losing 99-85.
One of the issues plaguing the Bulls recently has been free throw shooting. Not just as a whole, but particularly in the fourth quarter. Over the last six games, Chicago is shooting a horrendous 48 percent from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone. As a team they finished just over 64 percent tonight in the game.
It seems that the Bulls have chances to come back in games like this, but end up blowing their potential momentum with missed free throws in crunch time. Tonight in particular, guard Marco Belinelli got fouled real hard with about four minutes remaining and headed to the line with the Bulls trailing only by single digits. Missing both attempts, Chicago’s potential momentum coming from a tough foul like that vanished in seconds.
If the Bulls want to make it out of the first round, they cannot simply depend on their tough defense. Because of their injuries all year long, they have had to fight for points like they haven’t had to do in recent years. The easiest way to score points is at the foul line, and they just can’t seem to get that nailed down.