The Chicago Bulls have picked up their second win of the season over a team with an above .500 record! PLAYOFFS HERE WE COME! AHHHHH!
In all seriousness, that was super weird, not only because the Bulls won and not only because they won against an above-.500 squad, but because they won against an above-.500 squad without Zach LaVine, who’s dealing with a left quad strain at the moment (his first missed game of the year).
With no Zach LaVine for the first time all season, the Bulls managed to bolster their defensive effort and – for the most part – shut down Luka Doncic for a 109-107 victory. Before I talk about how frustrating this win really was, it’s a win nonetheless. The players deserve their fair share of credit for coming out strong, with an extra shoutout to Coby White and Otto Porter (finally back on the court), who helped the Bulls bench outscore the Mavericks’ 60-19.
The performance from Porter, who has missed the team’s last 51 games, was especially encouraging. He played only 17 minutes but showed little rust with 18 points on 7-11 shooting, showing the Bulls how desperately they’ve missed an experienced wing this season.
Truly, tonight’s win was a relatively watchable and solid team effort. I mean, even two-way player Adam Mokoka showed some promise with his scrappy defense on All-Star Luka Doncic.
Of course, this is still a Bulls game, and this team still has the ability to make you feel incredibly frustrated no matter the outcome. For example, Jim Boylen had his regularly scheduled bizarre timeout, this time coming in the second quarter and negating an easy layup.
Feast your eyes … or don’t.
Jim Boylen finding new ways to attract criticism for his timeouts. He called one to break up an easy layup.
Neil: "Sato's not happy about that timeout."
Stacey: "That was a layup!" pic.twitter.com/AEZPM2S9ui
— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) March 3, 2020
Then, comfortably up by eight points with 25.6 seconds left, the Bulls players worked their own unfortunate magic. Dallas hit two big shots, and it was a one-point game in the blink of an eye.
Mavs just scored 5 points in 2.9 seconds. One possession game.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 3, 2020
The Mavs just recorded 2 steals and scored 5 points in 6 seconds.
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) March 3, 2020
At the end of the night, the Bulls walked away victorious, which I guess is all that matters. The thing I’m happiest about is probably that White and Daniel Gafford’s closing efforts didn’t go completely to waste, but there isn’t much else to take away from this win.
Basketball can be weird sometimes, and the Mavericks were on the wrong side of that weirdness tonight.
Lastly, for anyone that’s about to take “the Bulls are better without LaVine approach” please pump the breaks. I’m not even going to entertain that discussion right now.
On the night as a whole, I think this sums up things well:
on an individual level, Otto provided a spark with his shotmaking, Coby continues to play well and Mokoka gets props for hounding Luka, who looked pretty miserable in the 2nd half coming off his own injury. Saw him grabbing his hand a few times.
— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) March 3, 2020
More tomorrow … go to bed with a Bulls win for once!