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The Bulls are 2nd in the East but don’t let their record fool you

The numbers reveal the Bulls might be looking at an early playoff exit
DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine

DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine

The Chicago Bulls have been one of the bright spots for the NBA this year. The arrival of DeMar DeRozan brought excitement to the city, and the team’s record speaks for itself. However, upon closer inspection, basketball fans may have to think twice before jumping on the Bulls’ hype train - Chicago struggles against really good teams.

2-12 against teams with at least .600 winning percentage

You can write many good angles about the Bulls this year: How DeMar DeRozan energized the city, the selflessness of Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball’s intangibles on the court, or the consistency of Nikola Vucevic. However, if we say positive things about them, we should also point out that Chicago has a dismal record against the NBA’s elites.

Here’s their record against teams with at least a .600 winning percentage:

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Even if the Bucks lost two in a row, making their winning percentage .590 right now, all the teams mentioned are capable of going all the way and winning everything. These tell us that Chicago is still learning how to win against the elite teams. The Bulls’ record looks good on paper, but in reality, they just beat teams that they are supposed to beat. The real test is against the elite teams, and this is where Chicago falters big time.

Are the Bulls for real?

Are the Bulls finally back? It’s still too early to tell. After all, Chicago faced some of these elites without a full roster due to Covid protocols and injuries. On the other hand, the same can be said about their opponents. Can Chicago make a deep run in the postseason, given their dismal record against the likes of Giannis, Embiid, DBook, and Curry? 

It’s good that it is still in the regular season as Billy Donovan and the rest of the coaching staff can figure things out. What matters now is that they win enough games to secure as many home games as possible. Playoffs are a different beast; regular-season games shouldn’t matter anymore.

Fans are quickly forgetting that the roster is relatively new. The team is not even supposed to be this good right now. As more games are played, the team's core is learning to face adversities together, which will only make them better in the future.

No one would want to face Chicago early in the playoffs, even with their sub-par performance vs. the elite teams in the regular season. Once the Bulls figure it out, the elite teams will be in for a surprise.

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