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Windy City Woes

Jarrett Bailey, Sports Writer

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This season was supposed to be a season of winning for the Bulls. With four all-stars on the team, a new head coach, a 2015 rookie of the year candidate, and a bench deeper than any other in the NBA, how could they fail? That is the question that is still unanswered. As always, the Bulls struggled with injuries, as Jimmy Butler was lost for 15 games due to injury, the Derrick Rose injury bug that never seems to stay away has made itself known once again, and Joakim Noah, the heartbeat of this squad, was lost for the year to season-ending shoulder surgery. Combined as a team, the Bulls have missed 203 man games. In 75 games played this season, there is not one player in their roster that has played in all 75. This has led to a constant change in personnel on the court and in the starting lineup, preventing the Bulls from being able to develop any type of momentum. They currently sit 26th in the NBA in offensive efficiency (101.4) and 27th in effective field goal percentage (48.4). Another thing that new Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has preached about all season is the lack of effort on the defensive end in crucial late-game situations. The Bulls just haven’t been the team we are accustom to seeing in the past few months. They have gone from the 2nd seed in the East to being on the outside looking in with just 5 games remaining. They have won 3 of their last 4 games, and two came in a situation in which they had to hold off their opponents in the closing minutes. But in order for the Bulls to clinch a playoff birth, they need some help. They are sitting at 39-38, 2 games behind the Pistons. This means that the Bulls need to win at least three games and the Pistons need to lose at least three. The Bulls’ last 5 opponents have a combined record of 178-205. This includes trips to Memphis (41-36) and Miami (44-32) in their next two games, and then a home game against the Cavs (55-22) following the road trip. Their last two games are at New Orleans (29-47) and Philadelphia (9-68). The Pistons last five games involve a Florida road trip to face Miami and Orlando (33-44). After that, they return home for the Wizards (37-40) and another game with the Heat, then their off to Cleveland for their finale. It’s been quite some time since the Bulls were fighting for a playoff spot. You’d have to go back to when Chris Bosh was still a Raptor when the two teams were fighting for a final spot on the season’s final days in the 2009-10 season. Either way, this season has been a disaster when you have a franchise so accustom to winning. Could this upcoming off-season lead to more changes? Only time will tell.

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