Bulls need to right the ship with the playoffs bearing down on them

The regular season will come to an end Sunday in Minnesota, but don’t expect much resistance from the home team. That means the Bulls will have to figure out how to regain their confidence on their own as they start the playoff push next weekend.

SHARE Bulls need to right the ship with the playoffs bearing down on them
Zach12.jpg

If guard Zach LaVine knew the solution, he swears the problem would’ve been fixed.

And that’s the concern.

The Bulls resemble a ship lost at sea, directionless and headed into the belly of a storm completely unprotected.

They’re on a long journey that’s unlikely to end well.

“We’ve got to figure it out,’’ LaVine said. “We’re not doing that, plain and simple. Top to bottom, coaching staff, everybody’s involved. We’ve just got to do a better job because it’s [the playoffs] right around the corner.

‘‘We can’t let this happen. It’s embarrassing. I’m going to fight. I’m going to go down swinging either way.’’

That’s some tough talk, but there have been few retaliatory swings lately, and don’t expect much to change in the season finale Sunday, with the Timberwolves locked into their play-in position and having nothing to play for.

That means any sort of competition before the Bulls’ first playoff game since 2017 will have to come in practice against each other.

It will be up to coach Billy Donovan to figure out how often and how hard they go at each other this week.

“I do think taking a day and letting those guys recover [on Monday] would be important,’’ Donovan said. “And because there’s a length of time where these guys could be so out of rhythm — they’re used to operating every other day or back-to-backs — we’re going to have to incorporate some kind of scrimmage and contact, banging and doing those things because after not playing for six days or seven days, you can’t just all of a sudden go into your playoff game.

“There will be a recovery piece, too. And how do you manage Zach’s knee during that time? Medical will be heavily involved in that. How do we manage Alex [Caruso’s] back? They’ll be heavily involved in that. I just don’t think you can necessarily go out there and script or just go through defensive concepts. There’s always that line you’re walking where, is it too much or not enough?’’

That’s especially the case with a team that looks completely out of sorts.

April is supposed to be the time a team is playing its best basketball. The Bulls look like a team that feels like the season came to an end on April 1.

Now they will be expected to go from dead team walking to a powerhouse capable of ending the hopes of the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with the flip of a switch.

“It’s one of those tests we wish we would have had earlier in the season,’’ forward DeMar DeRozan said.

“We had so much success so fast, I knew at some point we were going to have to deal with this type of adversity. You never want it at the end of the road.

“It’s kind of like going through high school. You’re getting all A’s as a freshman and sophomore, and then junior and senior year, you have AP [advanced-placement] classes, and it’s just extremely hard.’’

And the Bulls’ last four tests have come back with F’s.

So whom will the Bulls face next weekend? That won’t be known until Sunday. But unless there’s a major change in the team’s mindset, the opponent won’t matter much.

The Latest
In their home the threesome sleeps in one room, but the man’s dad isn’t comfortable with that arrangement.
Cubs starter Jameson Taillon was charged with one run through 7 ⅓ innings
The boy was inside a car about 5:30 p.m. in the 8300 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue when someone approached him and fired shots, police said.
Lisa Kudrow leads the bumbling marauders in Apple’s funny follow-up to 1981 film.