PHILADELPHIA – Arturas Karnisova Better enjoy that view from 50,000 feet.
What exactly is the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations watching from above? It’s anyone’s guess.
Is Karnisova seeing a team that is a combined 9-2 against Eastern Conference powerhouses Miami, Boston, Brooklyn, Milwaukee and now Philadelphia after Friday’s 126-112 win at the Wells Fargo Center? Or is he looking for a team that can rise and compete against the big boys, but shows no readiness against lesser competition?
Is he seeing a team that can reach the second round of the playoffs – the bar that Karnisova set for this team in the fall? Or is he getting too attached to fool’s gold?
With the trade deadline just a month away and organizations needing to start making decisions, coach Billy Donovan hoped to find out what his boss was thinking as soon as possible.
“I really like this group,” Donovan said. “I love the way they come to work every day, the way they’re trying to improve. I still believe in the group. I’m there with them emotionally everyday. [Karnisovas] Maybe there’s a 50,000-foot view looking at everything and we’ll have those conversations, but I think regardless of when that day comes, I think I have a responsibility with our employees and our team. is how we strive and constantly become the best version of ourselves.
But Donovan also knows this team has had its disappointing moments, especially losses to the likes of Orlando, San Antonio and Houston.
That’s why he has said on many occasions that he is consistent even when he is inconsistent.
“This is who we are,” Donovan said.
When the playoffs begin and competition is at its best, is it worth the gamble these Bulls players will step into the octagon again?
Only Carnisova knows the answer, with the Feb. 9 trade deadline looming.
Donovan said, “We’re both on the same page and think the same way, that in these moments we show really good hope and promise, and then there are times when we walk away scratching our heads.” “For me as a coach, you’re trying to find those buttons to make us play more consistently, and obviously he’s got that responsibility, we all do. As we get closer to the date , As [Karnisovas is] Evaluating the team and watching the team, I am sure that conversation will go a little deeper as to how he feels.
He had to feel good in the win over the 76ers, as the Bulls improved to 18-21 on the season, led by a 41-point outburst from Zach LaVine, including a 19-point third quarter, and a ridiculous 11-of-20 shooting. 13 from three-point range.
“You just fall into it,” LaVine said of their night. “I’m so confident with all the shots I take, and when you finally make a couple in a row, you say, ‘Okay.’ After that it is just target practice.
A stellar start with the win ending Philadelphia’s 11-game home win streak, however, Joel Embiid was sidelined with a bad foot. Joel Embiid, who has never lost to the Bulls in his career, posted a 12-0 record against them, while also averaging 29.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in those wins.
So add this win to the list of reasons to retain this roster and maybe even become a buyer in a few weeks? Lavin had his own opinion.
“At our best, we showed what we could be last year [at this time],” Lavin said. “We were the number one team in the East. At our best, we are one of the best teams in the league.
“It’s up to them to decide. Every night I go out there, and we’ve won less before so I’m not worried about our roster.”
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