Are the Bulls still good? Asking for a few million friends.
Entering Sunday, the Magic had won once in their last 15 games. Moe and Franz Wagner, any two of their cousins and your dear, sweet Aunt Dotty could manage to go 1-14. They might be able to pull off 8-39, which is what the tank-you-very-much Magic were before embarrassing the reeling Bulls 114-95 in Orlando.
By the way, are the Bulls still good? Asking for a few million friends.
They’re shorthanded. They’ve lost six of seven. They’re getting pushed around.
No Alex Caruso, No Lonzo Ball, no Zach LaVine.
No problem? No biggie? No excuses?
Please. Against the Magic, the Bulls gave up. But only after they’d mailed it in.
So now what? Miami passed the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings with its win on Sunday, dropping them into third at 28-17. Good buddy Grayson Allen and the Bucks are a whisper behind at 30-19. The Cavaliers and 76ers are right there, too.
Home-court advantage in the first round? What home-court advantage in the first round?
The Bulls have to start winning again, and — no matter who’s in the lineup — there isn’t going to be an easier time to do it than right now. Lined up next on the schedule are the bush-league Thunder, the run-of-the-mill Raptors, the unrecognizable Spurs and the Trail Blazers without Damian Lillard. Then come the young, bold, trash-talking, absolutely awful Magic again.
Here’s a wild, wacky idea: Get it together, Bulls. And here’s what’s happening:
Bulls at Thunder (7 p.m., NBCSCH)
Think the Bulls have roster problems? The Thunder are so messed up, they’ve been starting guys named Josh Giddey, Darius Bazley and Lu Dort — and that was on purpose.
Blackhawks at Avalanche (8 p.m., NBCSCH+)
Other than a long winning streak, a best-in-the-West record and an aura of invincibility that prevents them from ever losing on their home ice, what do the Avs really have that the Hawks don’t?
Baseball Hall of Fame announcements (5 p.m., MLB)
It’s not looking great for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa in their 10th and final appearances on the ballot, and that’s just the truth. But, hey, since when did these guys care about the truth?
Michigan State at Illinois (6 p.m., ESPN)
MSU is at the top of the Big Ten standings, a half-game in front of Wisconsin and the Illini. With Kofi Cockburn in concussion protocol, it might take two half-games of flawless basketball to beat Sparty.
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (9 p.m., HBO)
Leagues, teams and broadcast partners are raking in the sports-gambling-related dollars — while media members openly bet on what they cover — but regular Joes are becoming addicted. Who could’ve seen that coming?
Blackhawks at Red Wings (6:30 p.m., TNT)
Hawks-Wings is the “Franklin & Bash” of NHL rivalries — effectively canceled for nearly a decade.
Suns at Jazz (9 p.m., ESPN)
Is Jazz star Donovan Mitchell out of concussion protocol and back on the court? And is John Stockton in the crowd now that Gonzaga won’t let him hang around anymore?
NBA All-Stars starters revealed (6 p.m., TNT)
This is where “DeMar DeRozan, All-Star starter from the Chicago Bulls,” officially becomes a thing. We could get used to it.
USMNT at Canada (2 p.m., Paramount+, Telemundo)
The surging Canadians have been one of the biggest stories of World Cup qualifying. Time to teach those canuckleheads a thing or two about a thing or two.
Bulls at Spurs (7:30 p.m., NBCSCH+)
Find someone who looks at you as longingly as struggling Spur Thaddeus Young is looking at his former team.
Australian Open women’s final (2:30 a.m., 7 a.m., ESPN)
No pressure or anything, Ashleigh Barty, it’s just that the entire Land Down Under is counting on you to become its first champion of this tournament since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Illinois at Northwestern (3:30 p.m., BTN)
Can the Wildcats end a six-game losing streak to the Illini and improve their record in this series to a much more respectable 44-139?
Nets at Warriors (7:30 p.m., Ch. 7)
Kevin Durant is out with a bum knee, increasing the burden on Kyrie Irving to deliver on those special occasions when he plays professional basketball for a living.
Australian Open men’s final (2:30 a.m., 8 a.m., ESPN)
It’s been a who’s-who of “who?” without Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the field. For the first time since 2009, someone else raises the trophy.
Loyola at Drake (1 p.m., ESPN2)
The sultry stench of revenge is wafting throughout the Knapp Center after these teams battled all last season for Missouri Valley supremacy, with the Ramblers coming out on top.
AFC Championship Game: Bengals at Bills/Chiefs (2:05 p.m., Ch. 2)
Joe Burrow and the boys aren’t messing around. Who dey? Not the “Bungles” anymore.
Trail Blazers at Bulls (2:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
It sure is strange to see the Blazers without Damian Lillard, who’s recovering from abdominal surgery. Losing to this Dame-less team isn’t an option, is it?
NFC Championship Game: 49ers at Rams (5:40 p.m., Fox-32)
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady can watch from home like the rest of us. Just like we all predicted they would.