With 10 regular-season games left, Bulls have to reverse ugly trends

Tough Lessons aren’t being learned.

That’s the most concerning trend with this Bulls team with just 10 regular-season games left.

A trend that continued to spiral downward Tuesday night in Milwaukee, as the Defending NBA Champions welcomed their Rival Neighbors from Chicago and then promptly took them to the woodshed for a 28-point beat down.

Not the only ugly numbers to come out of the Showdown with the Bucks, either.

The latest loss left the Bulls 0-16 against the top three teams in each conference, and 3-19 against teams currently sitting with a winning percentage of .600 or higher. Only one of those three wins came on the road, beating Boston on Nov.1.

Even more head-shaking was the Bulls haven’t beaten a team with a .600 winning percentage since Nov. 10, when they beat Dallas. Since then they were 0-17.

Preparing for the NBA’s elite has been talked about in the Bulls Locker room before games, after games, in between games, and during games, yet it’s seemingly falling on deaf ears.

“If we haven’t got it, we’re getting it now,” Veteran DeMar DeRozan said when asked about being better prepared to play at a high level against top-tier competition. “Understanding what it’s going to be like, and even Tougher come to Playoffs. We’re going through it right now, what you call battle wounds, battle scars. We’re kind of taking them all on the chin right now. It’s going to show us what we’re made out of. ”

But at what cost, and when?

It wasn’t long ago that this Bulls roster was the talk of the East, sitting atop the conference and looking like a tough out come playoff time. Now they’re sitting in the No. 5 seed, on the outside looking in on a first-round series with home-court advantage.

An advantage that means a lot more to the Bulls than some other teams. The 26-10 record at the United Center was second to only Miami’s on Wednesday morning, as far as the conference. Meanwhile, the road record for the Bulls was 16-20, which was the sixth worst in the East.

Of the 10 remaining games, five will be on the road.

“It really is on the road for us,” guard Alex Caruso said of one glaring problem. “I feel like at home we play fine. We have to have a different Mindset going on the road, especially when the shots aren’t going in on a back-to-back playing against the reigning Champs. You’ve got to know what you’re in for. You’ve got to be ready for things not to go your way and respond. Whether it’s settling for the easy route is offense or not competing enough on defense in little instances like box outs and one on ones, forcing catches out farther, getting covers right. You want to win on the road, you can’t mess many of them up. We’re messing too many of them up. ”

So what’s the counter-punch as far as Caruso was concerned? It’s not Talent, it’s not Rotations or who was still not 100% on the health front. It’s understanding the details that go into winning NBA games, but more importantly, executing on those details.

“We’ve got plenty of talent on our team,” Caruso said. “It’s not about a Talent issue. It’s about executing. Basketball at any level, middle school, high school, college, pro, winning basketball is winning basketball. It doesn’t change no matter what level you’re at. If you want to win an NBA Championship, you want to compete in the Playoffs, you want to play in March Madness, get to the state Finals in high school, you have to execute and do your [bleep] really well. We’re not doing our stuff good enough right now. ”

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