There will be a lot of chatter about the Chicago Bulls and their season after this loss. The Bulls came into Indianapolis to battle the Central Division rival Indiana Pacers looking to stop their early-season skid. They left the same way they came in — with another loss, falling to 1-3.
This was an early-season measuring stick for the Bulls, especially given the way they have started. Expectations were very high coming into this season for the Bulls and they haven’t delivered on that promise yet. The Pacers jumped ahead in the fourth quarter of a tight game and never looked back. The floodgates opened up and the rout was on, with the Pacers winning 97-80.
The Bulls looked like the team fans were accustomed to for three quarters. They were playing tight defense and moving the ball from side to side to knock down shots. Once Indiana starting going on their run, the Bulls couldn’t recover. They got out-hustled and out-muscled by the undefeated Pacers.
The same things that doomed the Bulls early in the season crept up again: the bad turnovers, the contested shots, communication issues and not playing with the same energy from the beginning of the game.
Derrick Rose seemed to find his rhythm in the first quarter, hitting three of his first five shots. Then he picked up two fouls in the first quarter and had to sit out a period of time. By the time he came back in late in the second quarter, he lost some of that bounce he started with. He finished with 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting overall. He had a couple more bad turnovers in this game, so he is still trying to play through his struggles.
The Bulls and its fans did not see this type of start coming. They are definitely struggling to find any continuity and are not playing together as a unit. Coach Tom Thibodeau has got to keep these guys level-headed to play through whatever the issues are. There’s no need to panic yet, but the Bulls better get it going soon or teams like the Pacers might surpass them quickly.