Beep, beep, the Bulls' "We're not going to tank'' bandwagon was rolling Saturday night.
You have to be bad to lose to the Cavaliers, but the Bulls proved to be down to the task, just the kind of important loss the Bulls need to miss the playoffs and qualify for the draft lottery.
The Bulls battled back from a double-digit deficit and even took the lead late in the fourth. But they were clutch when they needed to give it away in a 97-93 loss.
It took some doing, too, believe me, because the Cavaliers are a tough team to lose to. Only four teams had done it before Saturday night.
But when time came for the Bulls to miss a game-tying opportunity, their best came through.
First Luol Deng missed on a runner. Then Joakim Noah missed two putbacks. Then Carlos Boozer blew a bunny.
That’s $40.675 million in combined salary missing from about five feet. That’s clutch.
That’s the kind of failure the Bulls will need with Derrick Rose gone for the season after requiring his second knee surgery in 19 months.
The 97-93 loss completed a solid 1-5 road trip, marred only by the win in Detroit.
The Bulls have dropped to seventh in the weak Eastern Conference, but they face a particularly tough stretch for a team needing to plummet below eighth.
The Bulls return home, where even bad teams win, right, Cleveland? And they play four of their next six games against teams with worse records.
But you have to believe the Bulls are capable of losing a majority of them if they can allow a team like the Cavaliers to shoot almost 47 percent from the three-point line.