Um, who are you? And what did you do with the Chicago Bulls? …. And can you keep doing it?
Tonight, the United Center witnessed the first dominate home victory of the season. The Bulls topped the Detroit Pistons 109-89 – in part – thanks to a bounceback performance from Lauri Markkanen. But let’s back up.
Earlier today, things weren’t looking up for the Bulls, as news of Chandler Hutchison suffering from shin soreness followed a disappointing update about Otto Porter’s health status. The Bulls beat the Pistons the first time these two met, but a three-game losing streak meant a lack of optimism heading into this one.
Well, the Bulls surprised us all with a 20 point victory, using the second half to pull away from a slow-moving Pistons team. It’s crazy how some continuous ball movement and connecting on your wide-open threes will win you a ball game, huh!?
The Bulls shot 51.9 percent from downtown, compared to just a 24.2 percent clip from the Pistons.
Individually, Markkanen looked (almost) back to his old self. He finished the game with 24 points (FG 7-14, 3PT 3-4), two blocks, one steal, and six rebounds. He was aggressive early and stayed far more engaged on the offensive end than in previous games this season. All positive signs.
Here’s a sentence you probably didn’t think you’d read this season though: Shaquille Harrison almost stole Markkanen’s thunder.
With Hutchison out of tonight’s lineup, Harrison made Jim Boylen look like an actual smart cookie by choosing to throw him in the starting lineup despite only playing 24 total minutes this season. Harrison came onto the court fired out of a cannon, finishing the game with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Oh, and add on top of that five rebounds, three steals, and a staggering +29 when he was on the floor.
He also did this.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 21, 2019
Much like Daniel Gafford in the Bulls last game, Harrison had us asking why the heck he hasn’t been more involved. I know the Pistons had a rather rough performance, but those are some impressive numbers to post coming in cold.
According to The Score’s Tony Gill, Harrison has at least proven enough for Boylen to keep him around in the starting lineup (and I’m assuming that’s if Chandler Hutchison isn’t ready to go).
Jim Boylen will stick with Shaq in the starting lineup at least for the next game
— Tony Gill (@thetonygill) November 21, 2019
I also think it’s worth noting that the Bulls winning by 20 and Tomas Satoransky recording seven assists isn’t a coincidence. He looked like the floor manager the team signed this offseason, also dropping 15 points with four rebounds and two steals.
The funny thing is (or maybe not?), the Bulls managed to pull off this victory even with Zach LaVine only scoring five points. According to K.C. Johnson, this was his worst performance since January 17th.
Zach LaVine exits with 5 points on 2-11 shooting.
This is LaVine's first single-digit game since scoring 8 at Denver on Jan. 17 of last season.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 21, 2019
I think it’s safe to say, this hasn’t been the start of the season LaVine envisioned for himself.
Also, I guess I should mention this: Wendell Carter Jr. had a double-double of his own (12 points, 15 rebounds), but that’s kind of becoming the norm.
At the end of the night, I think we might have seen a Bulls team that’s finally sick of losing. At least I hope so.