It’s all in the details for the slumping Bulls as trade deadline nears

There’s plenty of blame to go around on why this Bulls team seems to be underachieving, but the coaching staff has to get some fault, especially when it comes to executing the details.

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Bulls guard Alex Caruso, right, talks to Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann during Tuesday night’s game.

Bulls guard Alex Caruso, right, talks to Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann during Tuesday night’s game.

Erin Hooley/AP

Basketball is DeMar DeRozan’s main hustle but not his only passion.

The Bulls veteran uses boxing as an offseason training tool, but the sport also provides important lessons — both on the court and in life.

So the idea of “styles make the fight’’ brings some excitement to DeRozan’s face, even with all the disappointment so far this season.

As he recently pointed out, the Bulls have a 2-2 record against the top-seeded Celtics, are 2-0 against the Bucks, and are talented enough to beat play-in teams like the Knicks, Hawks, Wizards or Pacers.

Then factor in that the Bulls have the 19th easiest remaining schedule, and that’s the path the five-time All-Star sees for this team to actually make some noise in a season filled with far too many thuds.

Is it a long shot?

That’s an understatement, but DeRozan is hoping for a puncher’s chance. If the roster stays the same leading into next week’s NBA trade deadline, an unforeseen lucky punch to the opponent’s chin just might be the only chance this team has.

There are two major problems with building a strategy around luck.

The Celtics who the Bulls beat in the regular season are not the “playoff Celtics.’’ That’s a different animal. And the Bucks they beat aren’t the “playoff Bucks’’ and were short-handed. The Bulls have beaten all of the possible opponents for the play-in portion of the postseason but also have lost against each.

The other issue is in the details, and this is where the coaching staff has to take some of the blame. The eye test has shown that this team is either ignoring the details or not getting enough of them.

Two games in the last week have come down to executing inbounds plays in crucial moments. And in both instances the Bulls failed.

The latest came in Tuesday’s 108-103 loss to the Clippers, when Alex Caruso watched his inbounds pass for Zach LaVine get stripped away by Kawhi Leonard with 5.2 seconds left.

“We ran the play I was supposed to run,’’ Caruso said. “We maybe just didn’t execute the screening aspect on how they were guarding it because they were switching everything. . . . But for the most part it was pretty much what we drew up.’’

Pretty much?

Bulls players have been talking about the “details’’ most of the season, but Caruso knows exactly what championship details look like.

The defensive-minded guard learned that in his Lakers days and revealed during the weekend a key component in his game prep that has been missing with the Bulls.

Caruso keeps mental flashcards on opponents and how he can turn them over, or at least disrupt the possession.

“Give credit to [former Lakers coach] Frank Vogel, and Rajon Rondo, Jason Kidd, LeBron [James], all these great basketball minds that I’ve been around,’’ Caruso said. “Frank was so detailed in his scouts, personnel. He had an iPad every game that had an eight-minute, 10-minute clip of a guy’s moves, what they like to do depending on where they get the ball based on how valuable that player was to his team. So as my routine I would go out, warm up, get my shots in, shower and watch the iPad. For two years that’s how I learned and watched.

“The more knowledge you have in this game, the easier it is.’’

At this point for the Bulls, tightening up the details sounds like a much better strategy than relying on a puncher’s chance.

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