Just when things seemed to be headed in the right direction, they take a couple of steps back. That’s been the story of the Chicago Bulls this whole season. The Dallas Mavericks came into the United Center and ran the Bulls off their home court 105-83.
The Bulls came into this game riding a two-game winning streak after beating down the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas day. That performance was one of their best of the season and they were trying to build off that momentum. They had three days to prepare for the Mavs and once the game started, that preparation went right out the door. The rout came crashing down very early and the Bulls did not recover.
This type of effort has been an ongoing saga this season. It’s a bit surprising and disturbing that the Bulls have looked this bad on many nights. Granted, there’s been plenty of injuries and guys have been in and out of the lineup, but for a Tom Thibodeau team to let opposing teams run right through their vaunted defense is a little shocking. Coach Thibs cannot be happy with the defense being this inconsistent and disengaged at times.
The only bright spot you can take from this game on the Bulls’ side was the play of Joakim Noah. He led the Bulls with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He continues to get his game back to All-Star levels. The rest of the team did not show up at all. They shot only 43 percent from the field and a dreadful 17 percent from 3-point territory. Also, the defense got carved up by the 3-point shot as the Mavs shot 50 percent from long range.
This is what happens when you start feeling too good about yourself after a couple of wins — you get smacked back into reality. The Bulls are a veteran bunch who should know much better than that. They have to go out there and compete at the highest level all the time. Hopefully, this is just another lesson in this up-and-down season for the Bulls. They are definitely learning more and more about themselves — both good and bad.