Chicago Bulls' defense starting to clamp down

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls Jim Boylen directs his team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Chicago. The Bulls won 109-89.

    Chicago Bulls Jim Boylen directs his team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Chicago. The Bulls won 109-89.

 
 
Updated 11/21/2019 9:31 PM

The Bulls are showing signs of improvement on the defensive side. Over the past 10 games, they rank ninth in the league in defensive rating, which is the number of points an opponent scores per 100 possessions.

Wednesday's 109-89 victory over Detroit marked the lowest point total by a Bulls opponent this season and the second time they've held a team below 100.

 

"I give our guys credit, they've really bought into what our defense looks like now," coach Jim Boylen said. "Early on, we struggled. We struggled to get to the corner, we struggled to adjust and shift. We've done a better job of that."

This is a similar pattern to what happened last season after Boylen took over as head coach on Dec. 3. The Bulls made progress on defense right away while the offense sputtered. At the moment, the Bulls rank last in the NBA in offensive rating.

"We've coached basically the same thing since day one," Boylen said. "I think there's a learning curve in every defensive situation. I also think there's defensive chemistry and communication. That's just part of a feel. I think we can still grow. I'm always concerned about our defensive rebound and I'm still concerned about our transition defense."

Deng ready for retirement:

Luol Deng played his last NBA game on Feb. 27 last season for Minnesota. He held his Bulls retirement party at Wednesday's game with some former teammates.

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So what is he planning to do next?

"I'm going to sit back, lay back, enjoy life. Nah, there are a lot of things I want to do," he said. "I just want to take time first to see where everything is, see how everything is going and then decide from there. I know there are a lot of interests, but I just want to take a little bit of time to just kind of see what I really, really want to do.

"I want to take time to enjoy family for at least a year. Playing in the U.S. and the family living abroad I didn't get to see them as much as I'd like to and I'd like to spend time with them."

Deng doesn't have kids of his own, but he has plenty of nieces and nephews to keep him busy.

Strus stays with Bulls:

The Bulls plan to keep two-way player Max Strus on the active roster at least through Sunday, coach Jim Boylen said. The Bulls are low on wing players with Otto Porter and Chandler Hutchison both out with injuries.

Strus, the former DePaul star who is from Hickory Hills, averaged 19.0 points and shot 42 percent in four games with the Windy City Bulls. He was in uniform but didn't play Wednesday in the Bulls' win over Detroit.

"I don't see him not playing," Boylen said. "I think it's about opportunity. We brought him up because we think he can play and we brought him up because we think he's played very well in the G-League games. He can shoot it and he's tough. Those are good things for us."

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