The Chicago Bulls gratefully return to the Windy City tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans after a less-than-stellar six-game road trip. While away, the Bulls only managed to scrounge up one victory out of those six games.
The Bulls have been struggling lately after going 5-2 through their first seven games. The adjustment of losing Derrick Rose for a second straight season seems to be weighing on Chicago. With a shallow backcourt, Tom Thibodeau‘s rotation has become short and less effective.
Through 10 games on the road this season, the Bulls have only managed a 2-8 record. The Bulls have done a tremendous job defending the United Center and have managed to win all five contests. Chicago needs to find a way to travel with the same intensity and gumption that they play with at home.
The Bulls’ stats do not differentiate that much whether they are home or away: 94.2 PPG at home opposed to 91.4 on the road, 44 percent FG percentage at home opposed to 42 percent on the road, 83 percent FT shooting at home 77 percent on the road. The numbers don’t show that they play poorly on the road, but they just don’t win.
Thibodeau and the Bulls need to find out why they are less than mediocre when travelling to visit opposing arenas. Last season, Chicago finished 22-20 on the road. Road victories are vital for any team if they plan on playing in the postseason. In the past few NBA playoffs, the teams that can pull off a victory on the road in a seven-game series is usually the teams that can wrap up a series.
Not having your franchise player for a second straight season is definitely a setback. But Thibodeau is a good coach who has dealt with this situation before, so using Rose’s absence as an excuse would be unlike him. Chicago needs to find out how to either start or end games better.