The Bulls need to right the ship with the playoffs hanging over them

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If guard Zach LaVine knew the solution, he swears the problem would have been solved.

And that’s the problem.

The Bulls look like a ship lost at sea, directionless and heading into the belly of a storm with no protection.

They are on a long journey that is unlikely to end well.

“We have to figure it out,” LaVine said. “We don’t do that, plain and simple. From top to bottom, coaches, everyone is involved. We just have to do a better job because it’s [the playoffs] Just around the corner.

”We can’t let this happen. It’s embarassing. I’m going to fight. I’m going to swing anyway.”

It’s tough talk, but there’s been little retaliation lately, and don’t expect much change come Sunday’s season finale, with the Timberwolves locked in their playing position and having no nothing to play.

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

It will be up to coach Billy Donovan to determine how often and how hard they will face each other this week.

“I think taking a day and letting these guys recover [on Monday] would be important,” Donovan said. “And because there’s a period of time where these guys might be so off-rhythm – they’re used to operating every other day or back-to-back – we’re going to have to incorporate some kind of scrum and contact, knock and do those things because after not playing for six days or seven days, you suddenly can’t get into your playoff game.

“There will also be a salvage room. And how are you handling Zach’s knee during this time? The medical will be heavily involved in this. How do we handle Alex [Caruso’s] back? They will be heavily involved in this. I just don’t think you can necessarily go out and write a script or just go through defensive concepts. There’s always that line where you walk, is it too much or not enough?

This is especially the case with a team that looks completely out of sorts.

April is supposed to be the time when a team plays its best basketball. The Bulls look like a team that feels like the season ended on April 1.

They are now expected to go from a dead team to a powerhouse capable of ending the hopes of the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference in a jiffy.

“This is one of those tests that we wish we had had earlier in the season,” forward DeMar DeRozan said.

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

“It’s a bit like going to high school. You get all A’s in freshman and sophomore year, then junior and senior years you get AP [advanced-placement] course, and it’s just extremely difficult.”

And the Bulls’ last four Tests have come back with Fs.

So who will the Bulls face next weekend? It won’t be known until Sunday. But unless there is a major shift in the team’s mood, the opponent won’t matter much.

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