Live and Die with Lauri, LaVine Appreciation Day, Defensive Adjustments, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Live and Die with Lauri, LaVine Appreciation Day, Defensive Adjustments, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

To anyone that came to say hello this weekend at Cubs Convention … thanks!

Focusing on the Cubs for a weekend was a nice change of pace – even though they’ve got their own problems – but it’s time to return my full attention to the Chicago Bulls. Lucky me.

  • Last night might have been an ugly win, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. Zach LaVine’s late-game heroics saved the day once again for Chicago and it made for an exciting close.

  • While LaVine did most of the heavy lifting, he did get some help from Lauri Markkanen. The Finnisher played the entirety of the 4th quarter last night, scoring 7 of his 17 points, and otherwise ended the game with 33 minutes (his most in the last six games). Given how the Bulls have been playing, there is no reason Markkanen shouldn’t be on the court (1) in crunch time and (2) for 33 minutes a game. At the moment, he’s averaging only 30.2 minutes per game compared to 32.3 last season. Jim Boylen has to keep the minutes up moving forward. Live and die by The Finnisher.
  • The Bulls also made a relatively surprising defensive adjustment at the end of the game. Instead of sticking with the aggressive pick-and-roll, they went for the switch, which drew some rare praise.

  • Kris Dunn is correct, that was the right idea. The Bulls held the Cavaliers to only 14 points in the 4th quarter, which reaffirms the fact that Boylen should be open to changing his scheme when it calls for it. Chicago might have the 8th best defensive rating in the NBA, but in January, they’re ranked 20th. It was time to make adjustments.

  • Also, while the coaching staff might have finally made one appropriate in-game change, Boylen still almost blew it on his own at the end of the game. Rather than forcing the Cavs to send a Bulls player to the line, Boylen called a timeout and made his team have to inbound the ball. The Bulls then threw the ball out of bounds and handed the Cavaliers an opportunity to win the game. Fortunately, the Cavs failed to knock down the bucket and Boylen avoided some harsh questioning.

  • Zach LaVine appreciation thread:

  • The late All-Star push continues.

(Photo by Getty Images)
  • Once again, Boylen played every single one of his players except Denzel Valentine. I don’t know what happened between these two, but it’s clear that Boylen has it out for him. It feels like only a matter of time before this guy is sent elsewhere, but I respect him for keeping up the energy on the bench.

  • Wait, what … why!?

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.