The numbers are not adding up for the Bulls these days: 10 of the last 12 games on the road, 10 out of 12 against opponents with a winning record, and a 5-7 record to show for it.
Faced with one of the most challenging environments in the NBA, the Bulls didn’t bring much energy to a 30-point loss in Oklahoma City on Sunday. Their 19-point home loss to Miami last week wasn’t much better.
The Bulls’ dismal shooting in Oklahoma was the low point of a season-long trend. They needed a garbage-time hot streak to build their field-goal percentage to 29.1 percent for the game. They were below 20 percent at times during the third quarter.
Their previous season low was 33 percent against New Orleans on Nov. 2.
“The way we competed was just embarrassing,” Joakim Noah told reporters after the game. “The way we competed was bad. It’s not time to feel sorry for ourselves.”
Help may be on the way, but specific information is tough to track down. Kirk Hinrich has missed 10 of the last 11 games with a sore right elbow. Maybe he will be back when the Bulls host Cleveland on Tuesday, maybe not.
Meanwhile, Derrick Rose threw down a dunk for a national cable audience Sunday. It was on tape during a pregame workout but still appears to be a positive sign in Rose’s recovery from ACL surgery.
Thursday will mark the 10-month anniversary of Rose’s injury, which happened last year on April 28 in Game 1 of an opening-round playoff series against Philadelphia.
The 76ers will be back in town Thursday, and the game is on TNT. In theory, it’s an ideal setting for Rose’s return, but there still is no indication when it might happen.
The Bulls may be without Taj Gibson when they return home. He suffered a sprained left knee in the fourth quarter Sunday and did not return. The Bulls didn’t practice Monday, so there was no update on his condition.
Without Rose or Hinrich, the Bulls’ offense has struggled badly against good teams. During the past 12 days, they scored 69 against Boston, 67 against Miami and 72 against Oklahoma City.
The Bulls are shooting .436 from the field on the season, which ranks 25th in the league. From 3-point range, they’re at .340 and 26th.
That’s a big change from last year, when Rose missed a significant time with different injuries. They shot .452 last season (12th in the league) and .375 from long range (tied for third).
After the loss in Oklahoma City, coach Tom Thibodeau talked about room to improve the offense.
“Against good teams you’ve got to get to the second and third option,” Thibodeau said, according to espn.com. “The ball has to move; it has to be high energy. You have to sprint into screens, you have to set great screens, you have to pass the ball on target, you have to have timing and spacing.
“You have to do what’s best for the team, not necessarily what’s best for yourself to get yourself going. You can’t get stuck in whatever problems you’re having individually. You have to do your job for the team — first.”
Thibodeau seems to be preaching against quick shots from guys who want to test their accuracy.
As the Bulls struggled to find the net against the Thunder, their former 3-point specialist, Atlanta’s Kyle Korver, talked about missing the Bulls. He will be a free agent this summer and was asked about a potential reunion.
“That’s a great organization. That’s an awesome jersey to put on,” Korver said, according to realgm.com. “Great fans, good team. You only get to be a free agent so many times in a career, so I’ll definitely see what’s all there.
“But I would absolutely listen to what they’ve got to say.”
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