The Chicago Bulls managed to defeat the Miami Heat 103-101 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but now they have a lot more work to do. The team is still led by their star Jimmy Butler and will need him to perform well if they are going to take down LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers..

The “chicago bulls news and rumors today” is a blog post that discusses the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but also mentions their recent struggles. The article also talks about how the team has been dealing with injuries and other issues.

On the surface, the Chicago Bulls won a crucial game over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. However, major defensive flaws continue to exist, threatening Chicago’s postseason placement.

Without Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, the Bulls’ two greatest perimeter defenders, the team has struggled hard on defense. It’s conceivable that the injuries may change Chicago’s strategy ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 10.

On the other hand, the Bulls must show more collective activity and effort on defense. If they don’t, they may have to pay the price in April and May.

After allowing 131 points to the San Antonio Spurs, the Bulls let up 116 points against a Blazers club without Damian Lillard.

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The good news for Bulls supporters is that their team scored 130 points on Sunday and triumphed by a 14-point margin. The bad news is that the Bulls surrendered 116 points against a Blazers squad that was without Damian Lillard.

Portland made 51.8 percent of its shots from the field and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc. Three Blazers scored 20 points or more, with six players scoring in double digits. In pick-and-roll situations, the Bulls were consistently beaten, with Blazers ball-handlers getting into the lane and finishing or capitalizing on defenders falling under and making it rain from deep.

The Bulls were able to win because of their own explosive outburst and Portland’s poor defense. However, as the last game shown, Chicago cannot afford to have such a poor defensive effort.

In a defeat to the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 28, the Bulls surrendered 131 points. The Bulls failed to defend the 3-point line, like they did against the Blazers, as the Spurs hit 16-of-37 from beyond the arc. Much of this, though, was due to the failure to keep slashers out of the lane. In the paint, San Antonio outscored Chicago 58-54 and created several chances on straight-line drives.

Many of these concerns were highlighted during earlier this month’s back-to-back defeats to the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors, respectively. However, without Caruso and Ball in the backcourt, the defensive mistakes have become more more obvious.

Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball are much missed.

My take on the Bulls’ defense without Caruso:

The league’s finest defense (GSW) has a defensive rating of 103.9. 116.3 is the worst (HOU).

With Alex Caruso on the floor, the Bulls’ defensive rating is 105.4; off the court, it’s 114.3.

— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) January 30, 2022

The Bulls are really missing Alex Caruso’s defensive presence, as seen by his on-off splits.

In Caruso’s 776 minutes of play, Chicago has a 104.3 defensive rating. When he sits, that number jumps to 114.9. For comparison, the Houston Rockets have an NBA-worst defensive rating of 115.4.

Yes, on-off divisions may sometimes seem random. Caruso’s influence, though, is undeniable.

When AC returned to the rotation against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 19, the Bulls were on a four-game losing run. He had a game-high +18 plus-minus rating and assisted Chicago in holding the Cavs to only 104 points. Caruso returned a game later, despite a wrist injury, to help the Bulls hold the Milwaukee Bucks to 94 points. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

The same may be said about Ball. With Lonzo on the floor, Chicago allows less than five points per 100 possessions. Perhaps more crucially, they had a higher rate of opponent turnovers.

Despite not playing since January 14, Ball still ranks among the top in deflections and loose balls retrieved per game, according to Since its primary point guard departed the rotation with a meniscus injury, Chicago has been at the bottom of the NBA in thefts.

When the Bulls communicate on switches and have players like Ball wreaking havoc in the passing lanes, they are a force to be reckoned with. However, they haven’t done any of that recently, which is a worrying trend for a club that would undoubtedly want to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls must improve their defensive efforts or they will fall behind in the standings.

Chicago Bulls guards DeMar DeRozan (Left) and Ayo Dosunmu (R) defend Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum during an NBA game on Jan. 30, 2022

Chicago Bulls guards DeMar DeRozan (Left) and Ayo Dosunmu (R) defend Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum during an NBA game on Jan. 30, 2022 CJ McCollum (3) of the Portland Trail Blazers defends Chicago Bulls center DeMar DeRozan (11) and guard Ayo Dosunmu (12) during an NBA game on Jan. 30, 2022 | Getty Images/Icon Sportswire/Melissa Tamez

On the defensive end, the Bulls’ situation isn’t all doom and gloom.

The on-ball defense of rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu has been outstanding, and it’s just one of the reasons why he’s the steal of the 2021 NBA Draft. With his ability to fly around the floor and create enthusiasm, Javonte Green is a poor man’s Ball. Even still, it’s apparent that the team’s defense is woeful.

Chicago can’t keep leaking points as it has recently. Given that both Ball and Caruso are out indefinitely, the Bulls may easily fall behind in the standings if they can’t establish a defensive rhythm. In a stacked and uncertain Eastern Conference, it would have a significant influence on their potential to make a long playoff run.

Before the NBA trade deadline, the front office will most likely address defensive issues. Otherwise, the present group will have to pick itself up by the bootstraps and fight harder for stops.

Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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The “bulls schedule” is a problem that has been present for a while. The Bulls have had success, but the team’s recent struggles have raised questions about their contender status.

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