At this stage, it seems like ages since the Bulls were the 10th seed in the East. The Bulls looked to be in a good position to continue winning some games and secure the 10th seed. That would have them participating in the league’s new playoff format. While the Bulls would likely get bounced in game one the prospect of being in the playoffs was exciting. Then they were hit with some terrible news. All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine was required to sit out 10-14 days due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Since that time the team is 4-4 and sits two games behind the 10th seeded Wizards. While it’s now been 15 days since LaVine’s required quarantine the Bulls don’t anticipate seeing him back for the team’s next two games.

Head coach Billy Donovan still thinks LaVine will be gone for at least the team’s next two matchups most likely longer. They meet with two Eastern Conference playoff teams over the weekend and then meet the 2nd best team in the East on Monday. If we are looking at another week then LaVine will miss four of the final ten games. If the Bulls have any chances of squeaking into the playoffs they are going to need to play the best basketball they have all season.

Ten games will decide the Bulls fate

It’s hard to believe there are only 10 games left in the regular season. The Bull’s road to get into the playoffs is a very tough one. In their final 10 games, the team will meet with 8 different teams, 6 of which are current playoff teams in the East.

This team has beaten playoff teams in the past but it’s few and far between. Without LaVine it’s going to be extremely tough to get through this stretch of games with a winning record. Not to mention the team ahead of them, the Washington Wizards are 9-1 in their last 10 games. It’s a tough pill to swallow but time appears to be running out for the Bulls.

How can they get through this stretch with a winning record?

You’ve heard this all season long but the simple answer is defense. This team has collapsed defensively far too many times this season. The most recent collapse was last night against the Knicks. The Bulls gave up 37 points in the fourth quarter and completely fell apart. If they want to have a chance at winning any of their upcoming games they will need to step up defensively. Bulls fans everywhere have been frustrated by the way this team is playing. At times it looks like they don’t even want to make the playoffs.

The Bulls defense absolutely needs to step up over these next 10 games for them to have any chance. At the same time, the offense needs to be more consistent. Someone else needs to step up to take some of the load off center Nikola Vucevic. If the Bulls can get another consistent scorer and clamp down defensively they have a slim chance of winning some of these key games. They still will have to rely on another team to fall apart to make it.

Is it time to look to next season?

We aren’t going to sugarcoat it, this is going to be extremely tough. With the Wizards surging at the right time and the Bulls falling apart at the wrong time it might be too late. With LaVine most likely missing 4 more games the Bulls offense doesn’t appear to have the necessary firepower to win. LaVine makes the Bulls awful defense work because he can score to match the other team. It’s hurting them quite a bit and most likely will until LaVine returns. At that stage, the Bulls may find themselves 4 games back and the window will basically be closed. After we get through this weekend we should know where the Bulls stand and if it’s time to look to next year.