Valentine's Big Night and Teammate Support, More Bryant Tributes, 2-0 against Popovich, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Valentine’s Big Night and Teammate Support, More Bryant Tributes, 2-0 against Popovich, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

If you’re ever looking to put yourself through an emotional rollercoaster, try to watch Bulls basketball and The Bachelor at the same time. It’s hard work.

  • The Chicago Bulls have won two games in a row and sit 2.0 games back from the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. With the Pacers, Nets (the team who sits in front of them), and Raptors all up next, it’s hard to imagine they’ll make up much more ground in the near-term. But it’s possible – especially, if the team keeps receiving a balanced scoring effort like last night:
  • Seven of the Bulls player scored in double figures, which included a 16-point performance from Denzel Valentine.

  • The Bulls reserve finished the night as the team’s second-leading scorer and saw 19 minutes of action (his most since December 14th, 2019). Jim Boylen’s stubbornness to play Valentine has been no secret, but with the injuries piling up, he’s had no choice. Valentine’s sharp-shooting single-handedly kept the team within striking distance throughout most of the second half. He – once again – proved his head coach wrong and demonstrated the talent worthy of being a part of an NBA rotation. Through his 27 appearances this season, he is shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from downtown (and through games where he plays 10+ minutes, he’s averaging 8.3 points). Considering all of the Bulls’ offensive struggles, it’s truly nonsensical to have Valentine out of the Bulls gameplan.
  • While it’s unclear if last night’s performance will do anything to change Boylen’s mind, Valentine’s teammates have his back. NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer spoke with Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn about Valentine’s impact, and both were quick to compliment their teammates. Although, at the same team, it was clear the Bulls were acknowledging reality. Valentine’s limited minutes have only increased the trade rumors, and that might very well play a role in LaVine using language like “I think any team would love to have him” and “he’s a player that’s a regular rotation guy.” Of course, both of these remarks could be with the hopes that his own coaching staff realizes their lunacy. Either way, he believes his teammate is worthy of more minutes.
  • The United Center paid tribute to Kobe Bryant last night.

  • Fans covered the sidewalk outside the arena with heartfelt messages:

  • And the two teams exchanged an 8 and 24-second violation on his behalf:

  • The Athletic’s Jonathan Greenberg and Darnell Mayberry dive a bit deeper into the night’s remembrance. Great read.

  • Phil Jackson told Kobe Bryant that Michael Jordan had better hands. Bryant went to work on fixing that right away.

  • Did Jim Boylen outcoach Popovich … again!?

  • Zach LaVine is on an island.

  • I have no idea how this happens, but somehow the Bulls new scoreboard switched to last year’s lineup during the middle of last night’s game. Nothing really feels that different, so I guess why not?

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.