The Bulls came out of their four-day “break” and looked like they were going to continue their offensive hot streak last night. In the first half, the team scored 68 points to Oklahoma City’s 50. However, when they came out in the second half you could slowly start to see the lead slipping. After the third quarter, the Bulls were up 95-87. With under two minutes left in the game, the Bulls had a 10 point lead. That’s when the implosion began.

Yup, the Bulls ended up allowing the Thunder to make their way back into the game and force overtime. The Bulls couldn’t cut it in overtime and lost to the Thunder 127-125. It was an implosion that felt far too familiar for Bulls fans.

While this is obviously a different head coach it doesn’t change the makeup of the team. This team is almost identical to last year and a lot of the mistakes that were learned under our previous head coach still appear to be there. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan was not happy with the way things unfolded last night.

Donovan’s thoughts on the game

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Billy Donovan certainly was disappointed in what happened with his team. If you look at how well they performed in the first half compared to the second it’s night and day. Donovan touched on what he needs to do as a head coach after the game.

He stood on the court watching his team slowly but surely implode and it didn’t appear there was anything he could do to stop it. He’s going to have to figure out what he can do to help this team whenever they find themselves in a situation like this. Last night it appears he didn’t know how to do that. Beyond last night Donovan touched on what he needs to focus on with this young Bulls squad.

The Bulls not being able to finish games was a very common occurrence last year. Donovan needs to teach this team how to win in games where you absolutely should win. He needs to teach them to not get comfortable and stay in attack mode. Most importantly Donovan needs to work on teaching these guys to protect the ball. The turnovers last night down the stretch led to this embarrassing loss. At the end of the day, it’s going to be Donovan’s #1 job to teach these guys how to win. He knows the drive is there but they don’t know how to turn that drive into wins.

I know what Chicago fans are thinking. This sounds just like any Chicago coach talking about how hardworking the group is but not getting results. Give Donovan the benefit of the doubt here and give him a little bit more time. This team can be much better and still have a lot to learn.

The turnovers

This season the Bulls have coughed up the ball a staggering 17.6 times per game. They lead the league in turnovers. You simply can’t expect to win any games in the NBA when you are turning the ball over that much. While the guards have been playing great basketball offensively they are turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Last night guards Zach LaVine and Coby White turned the ball over a combined for 10 turnovers. As a unit, they are committing 7.3 turnovers per game. They need to hold onto the ball if they want to see their team succeed.

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The turnovers have been very frustrating throughout the start of this season. The Bulls have been in positions to win multiple games but throw them away with turnovers. LaVine knows that he needs to be playing better. Last night took a lot out of the team and they were just at a loss for words.

LaVine needs to step up as the leader of the Bulls

After the loss, LaVine was interviewed by the media via Zoom. He acknowledged that the team simply just fell apart.

This is exactly what Donovan was getting at when he said the team doesn’t know how to win. They had big leads in this game and fell apart. LaVine was asked how does the team learn to win a game like this and his response was telling.

LaVine knows he needs to cut back on his turnovers and make better plays down the stretch. It’s not all on LaVine’s shoulders as others on the team need to make smarter plays to end games. But at the end of the day, LaVine knows that they absolutely had to win that game and there’s no excuse.

LaVine has been putting up some impressive numbers over the last 6 games but that has amounted to a 2-4 record. This team needs to learn how to close out games and take care of the ball. It’s as simple as that. Last night was an embarrassing mark for the Bulls. Donovan needs to get ahead of this and not let it get into the heads of this young team. The Bulls will need to rebound quickly as they meet the Mavericks tomorrow.