Bulls basketball isn’t the only sloppy and cold thing hitting the Chicagoland area this weekend. The weather is looking a bit rough right now, so if you’re out and about, stay safe!
- Gotta lead with highlights of Zach LaVine doing Zach LaVine things:
- The more LaVine keeps scoring, the higher he moves up in the Bulls all-time rankings. He’s now 4th in 40-point games behind only Bob Love, Michael Jordan, and Jimmy Butler. And as for his hot-hand, he’s now only the second player in a Bulls uniform to have multiple games in one season with 8+ 3-pointers.
- LaVine is averaging 24.4 points per game on 43.6 percent shooting from the field and 40.1 percent from downtown. In my opinion, that’s All-Star-worthy. I wrote this last night in our postgame, but I think I’ve seen enough from LaVine to believe he’s doing everything he can to help this team win. Last season, it became fair at times to question his bucket-hunting and stat-padding, but this season, he’s single-handedly giving this team a chance to win games night in and night out. I don’t think it’s his fault the Bulls can’t close. If he doesn’t make the All-Star roster, I’m not going to be striking outside the United Center, but he’s proven a bit more to me lately than he has in the past.
- Also, before Zach LaVine-haters come at me, let me also clarify that I (1) still strongly don’t believe he is suited to be a No. 1 player on a team, (2) think his defense is still bad, (3) wouldn’t be gutted to see the Bulls move on from him at some point, and (4) believe he hasn’t proven to be a “winning player” despite how hard he’s tried. I think all of those can be true while also appreciating what he’s doing for this team at the moment.
- Dwyane Wade has LaVine’s back.
I can’t say it enough Zach LaVine is a problem. I can’t wait to watch him over the next few years blossom.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) January 11, 2020
- According to Cody Westerlund, LaVine hung around with the media until a team official said it was time to leave and catch their flight.
Is there a sense this is #Bulls' last chance to prove themselves before consequences come?
Zach LaVine: "I don't view it on likes trades. I view it on the playoff outlook. I'm still trying to push for that. It's tough. We're really close. We're still a couple games out."
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) January 11, 2020
- Markkanen has been battling a sore ankle over these last couple of games, and Boylen is praising his ability to fight through it.
Boylen on Markkanen: "If he can give you anything, he’ll play. And I think that’s great growth for him. It’s part of what we’re building here. If you can help the team, even if you’re hurting, you still try. He hasn’t made 1 excuse. He hasn’t pouted. He hasn’t asked to come out."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 11, 2020
- I understand wanting to build a “tough” culture, but I can’t say I want guys playing repeatedly if they’re hurt. I have to wonder if a game off would allow Markkanen to have a quicker recovery. We saw him struggle mightily at the beginning of the season and there were rumors of a lingering sore oblique playing a role in that poor play. Last night he resorted back his familiar beginning-of-the-season self, shooting only nine times, which marked his first outing with single-digit shot attempts in 10 games. If Markkanen’s playing poorly while banged-up, the Bulls could risk losing his confidence again. I don’t want to see that.
- The Bulls might be on a six-game losing streak, but Coby White is playing some solid basketball again. Other than LaVine, White looked like the only other player who showed up to Bankers Life Fieldhouse last night. He knocked down five 3’s en route to a 23-point night. He has his fair share of off nights, but he continues to show enough flashes to be excited about his future.
Good sign of growth in pick-and-roll from Coby White. He can get into trouble when he tries to go a million miles per hour against set defenses (very common issue for young PGs). Here, he takes his time, gets his defender in jail, and reads the big man help. pic.twitter.com/TgqM973o4C
— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) January 11, 2020
- Fact: Wendell Carter Jr. makes or breaks this Bulls defense.
How much does Wendell Carter Jr. mean to this team?
This much: https://t.co/jLKY5rApkD
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 11, 2020
- I was going to write some thoughts, but this sums up things well.
None of this is a surprise. You give up the roll man and ask guys in corners to help and rotate, naturally, you're giving up efficient shots.
This scheme is a gimmick. Wendell was keeping it to a passable rate, but it was always going to break against a tougher schedule.
— Mark (@mkhoops) January 11, 2020
- But but but they’re battling!
The Bulls went 13-37 in Jim Boylen's first 50 home games as head coach.
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) January 11, 2020
- That makes two of us.
Jim Boylen is not pleased pic.twitter.com/S6frIGpdbi
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) January 11, 2020