Bulls believe early-season adversity will be a long-term win

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Bulls hope early-season adversity will pay off down line Original version: NBC Sports Chicago

Turnovers are the culprit one night.

Another is fouling too often.

You can also enjoy the whiplash-inducing final sequences such as Jalen Suggs’ game-winning 3-pointer that he drains after two missed free throws or AJ Griffin’s buzzer beater that he taps in with just one second remaining.

One thing is certain, however: Chicago Bulls are — seemingly on a nightly basis — finding different and more painstaking ways to lose, particularly in close games.

The most recent was a 128-120 overtime loss to the New York Knicks They suffered their third overtime loss in three attempts at the United Center on Wednesday and their second in four days.

Alex Caruso stated postgame, “It’s disappointing.” “We’re very competitive. We wouldn’t exist if we were not competitive. Nobody likes losing. No matter how many games you play, you will feel disappointed and hurt whenever you fail to get the job done.

As with many other close losses by the Bulls, this game was not decided by one variable.

Despite shooting 54.8 per cent, the Bulls only scored three points, and they missed six of their seven overtime field goal attempts. They couldn’t stack enough stops against a Knicks side that shot 18-for-24 (52.9%) from 3-point range. For good measure, they gave up 15 offensive rebound (six in quarter four) and Julius Randle 15, 15 free throws.

But the sum felt all too familiar. The Bulls fell to 11-16 and 1.5 games from the final East play-in tournament spot.

DeMar DeRozan stated, “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen such a dynamic.” “But you gotta appreciate it. It’s a challenge. While you cannot control the weather, you have the option to choose what you wear when it is a challenge.

“I believe that’s exactly where we’re at. It’s important to be ready for anything and be able get through any situation. Once we can do that, we’ll be fine.

RELATED: 10 observations: Bulls drop another ‘clutch’ game to Knicks

After going 46-36 and ending a four-year drought in the playoffs, the Bulls started the season with higher expectations. The training camp’s schematics were designed to help the Bulls compete better against elite opponents. It was important to win the playoff round.

Billy Donovan, Bulls head coach, believes that facing such challenges early in the season could make them stronger over the long-term. This would be in contrast to last year’s conference, where the Bulls ran roughshod through 60 games and then fell flat after the All Star break.

“Last Year, when we were running away from games, I was concerned. Donovan pregame: “I saw a trend that concerned me, that we were running off games and I thought that we were dodging bullets. What we were doing was not going to be sustainable.” It was clearly not sustainable against the best of teams.

“I thought that although we didn’t have enough adversity from the All Star break (last season), it did not mean we were hardened enough as individuals. It’s not something you want to lose. We’ve suffered some very, very difficult losses this season.

“To me that’s the stuff you’ve got, as an organization, you’ve got to be more connected and determined. You have to be more persistent, more resilient. You have to be hardened by this. I enjoy the way we play and how we are doing it. I believe there have been positive things. We are able to play better against the best teams. There have been other problems.”

The biggest of these issues could be the NBA’s worst 3-11 record in “clutch contests”, defined as games that last less than five minutes and are played in regulation by a margin of five points.

The positive side is that 11 of 16 Bulls losses were close so it should only be necessary to make some tweaks.

DeRozan stated, “We right there.” “It’s bittersweet, because you want the win. But we are there. We Right there. It’s up to us to keep doing the right things, and keep doing them.

The negative side? The 3-11 record is a drastic drop from the 25-16 record in such games last year, which was the fourth-best in the league. This is a sign of a team with so many faults that it’s impossible to ignore them on any given night.

“It only pays off, if it pays off. This is how I see it. Patrick Williams expressed the belief that Bulls’ early season adversity could lead to them becoming better. It’s not gonna pay off just because we want it to. It’s important to see the film and learn to recognize the problems in these games.

These are the things you need?

Caruso stated, “Just gotta pay more attention to details earlier in games,” noting that the details the Bulls are losing depend on the matchups. “We have had games this season where we put everything together and it looks really good. The problem is that sometimes we just don’t make it for 48 minutes. That’s what makes professional sports different.

This is a familiar mantra for both players and fans. It is now up to the Bulls to — as only they can — pull themselves out of the rut that has them 2-5 in their last seven games and on the outside looking in of the playoff picture.

Caruso responded, “I know their character and how competitive we can be, how we care about one another,” to a question asking if these demoralizing loss will motivate them or make them fall deeper into despair. “We don’t have guys who just give up and go home, that’s not our way of doing things. It will be more about the first person than it is the latter, I believe.”

Time will tell.

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