Great defensive teams win championships, and that’s across the board for all sports. So it’s a good sign that the Chicago Bulls have been so good on the defensive end this season. But there’s still work left to be done.
The Bulls have been one of the NBA’s top defensive teams all season. They rank third in the league in points allowed per game with 92.5. And when they lose it’s because they struggle on defense.
The Bulls have lost 16 times this season, 11 of those losses the opponent scored 100 points or more and 15 of them the opponent scored more than the 92.5 average.
“I think out offense is there,” Derrick Rose said. “But defensively we’re terrible right now.”
Rose clearly referring to the last two games for the Bulls.
Over those two games the Bulls have allowed 101 and 109 points to the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers, respectively. Both of those games were losses for the Bulls.
“The last two games haven’t been our best,” Luol Deng said. “It’s just something that, you know, [we’ll] probably watch film, talk about it, but it’s clear that when we don’t play defense it’s just a lot harder to win the game.”
Time in the film room will help improve defensive alignment and recognition, but there’s also reason to think that the Bulls might be able to play through a stretch of poor defensive basketball. Because while the film room is a great place to start improvement, it’s sometimes the little things that can make the biggest difference.
“We have to talk better, first, communication is key,” Kyle Korver said. “I think our pick and roll defense has kind of slowed a little bit and that’s a lot of the NBA. So we have to work on that.”
By no means is there reason for the Bulls or their fans to worry about a poor, two-game stretch defensively. The Bulls still have a commanding 12 game lead in the Central Division and are only 3 1/2 games back of the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls next opportunity to test their defense will come on Wednesday night when Korver, Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer return to Salt Lake City for the first time since signing with the Bulls in the offseason.