The Bulls take on Charlotte in their penultimate 2021-22 regular season game. Chicago has been struggling as of late, losing six of their last 10 games. Charlotte has been trying to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament race, sitting in the 10th spot as of Thursday afternoon.
Chicago ends the regular season in Minnesota on Sunday, April 10.
Get back in transition on defense
Charlotte, led by LaMelo Ball, boasts one of the more effective fastbreak offenses in the league. Ball, who averages just under 20 points and over 7 assists per game, is flanked by the high-flying Miles Bridges (20 PPG, 33% 3PT) and a roster full of players who are capable of scoring in a hurry.
If Chicago wants to keep an explosive Hornets offense under control, then their effort will need to start with preventing easy baskets in transition.
Increased effort on defensive rotations
Per NBA.com, the Hornets are in the top-10 in 3-point attempts and percentage. This means that they are truly going to make the Bulls defense work hard, especially in the halfcourt.
The Hornets have players who aren't afraid to drive for the sole purpose of kicking it back out for a 3-point shot, so Chicago needs to be diligent in rotating over to the open shooter.
The Bulls will need to make sure to "help the helper" on defense or it could be a long night for a defense that already appears to be playing on tired legs.
Better execution on offense
The Bulls offense has been successful for the most of the 2021-22.
As of Thursday afternoon (per NBA.com), the Bulls offensive rating sits just outside the top-10 at 112.4 (13th). Despite their solid overall marks, we have seen some awful execution on that end of the floor as of late.
In today's offense-heavy NBA, the Bulls have scored below 100 points three times over their last 10 games.
The Bulls are scoring 107.3 PPG over their last 10, a figure that is a full 4.1 points worse than their season average.
Simply put, we need to see an efficient Bulls offense that doesn't depend on a herculean effort from DeMar DeRozan to have success. That would go a long way towards building confidence going into the postseason.