With the Chicago Bulls in the midst of a five-game losing streak and struggling to put points on the board, head coach Fred Hoiberg made a surprising lineup change before Monday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets.
For the first time since he was removed from the starting lineup in December, Rajon Rondo will start at point guard as the Bulls look to kick start their moribund offense.
Rondo’s ascension back into the starting lineup comes as the Bulls have dropped five games in a row and fallen out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Over the course of their five game losing streak, the Bulls have failed to score 100 points in each of the contests, and their defense has been porous as well as they’ve given up at least 100 points in four of the five games.
Things hit rock bottom on Sunday as the Bulls were blown out by the Boston Celtics. The team only scored nine points in the first quarter, and the Celtics cruised from there as the Bulls’ record dropped to four games below the .500 mark.
Making matters worse, Rondo criticized Bulls management for the way they’ve handled his role this season, and while he occasionally struck a conciliatory tone, he certainly expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo.
“I thought it would be a lot different,” Rondo told The Boston Globe. “Now it is what it is….You can look at it one of two ways. I look at it as [being] pissed off by not playing a lot, which I am. Or you can look at it as I’m benefitting, I’m healthy. I can play with my son.”
Rondo will replace Jerian Grant in the starting lineup when the Bulls take the court against the Hornets. Grant only played nine minutes in Sunday’s loss, and in his last five games he’s been averaging just 4.4 points and 3.2 assists per game for the reeling Bulls.