East Notes: Bulls, Zach LaVine, Cavs, Hawks


With the uneven season continuing into March, the Bulls’ postseason hopes may be going up in smoke, wrote Sam Smith of Bulls.com.

“You’re not going to go out there and say the season is over with,” guard Zach LaVine said, via Smith. “I don’t know how you (media) guys think, but we don’t think that way.”

Coach Billy Donovan added that the Bulls are generally struggling at the end of games.

“We had a season last year where a lot of these games we won,” Donovan said, via Smith. “We have not closed games well this year; it’s different things. This year some teams made shots against us and last year we were the team that did that.”

  • Despite what’s being said, it appears “belief is waning” among the Bulls’ players, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “We’re going to keep fighting, keep hoping something happens,” center Nikola Vucevic said, via Mayberry. “But it’s obvious we’ve put ourselves in a very difficult spot now.”


The Cavs earned the nod as this week’s Team to Watch in the power rankings from John Schuhmann of NBA.com.

“The Knicks’ nine-game winning streak has taken them to within a game of the fourth-place Cavs, who are just 2-3 since the All-Star,” Schuhmann wrote. “So the pressure is on Cleveland to find a rhythm and keep pace with New York, and that could be tough to do given its next three games. The Cavs will host the Celtics on Monday and then travel to Miami for games on Wednesday and Friday.”

  • Overall, Schuhmann had the Cavs at No. 6 in the power rankings. “The Cavs probably aren’t going to slip out of the top three in defensive efficiency, but their defense has shown some slippage, especially against quality opponents,” he wrote.
  • We have much more on the Cavs and their playoff dreams right here, as well as on our Cavs page.


While the Hawks are shooting more 3-pointers under coach Quin Snyder, and are making more. But they need to do a better job of rebounding, noted Schuhmann.

“The Hawks are just 1-2 under Snyder, in part because they allowed the Wizards and Heat to total 28 offensive rebounds and 40 second-chance points in their two losses,” Shuhmann wrote. “The Hawks have been an improved defensive team (they ranked 26th defensively last season), but they’ve seen the league’s fifth-biggest drop in defensive rebounding percentage, and that drop-off has been more pronounced in Clint Capela’s minutes on the floor (from 75.1% to 71.8%) than in his minutes off the floor.”

  • In case you missed it, Hawks owner Tony Ressler said this season’s front-office moves and coaching change were absolutely necessary. You can check out that full post here.

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