Good teams learn from their mistakes, and that is exactly what the Chicago Bulls did on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulls were up by 16 points with 4:40 seconds to go in Friday night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and they found themselves in a very similar situation against the Luka Doncic-led Mavericks today. However, instead of folding under the pressure, we saw this same Bulls team limit the turnovers, tighten up their defense, and walk away with a 16-point victory.
Even more impressive, they managed to pull off this victory with a combined 10 points from their two backcourt bucket-getters.
In relief, Lauri Markkanen scored 29 points and hauled in 10 rebounds, picking up right where he left off prior to his seven-game absence, playing aggressively while shooting 10-19 from the field with only two made 3’s. The Bulls core of veterans picked up the rest of the Bulls scoring duties, with Garrett Temple finishing the night with a season-high 21 points.
The entire bench finished with a double-digit positive plus-minus, but a major tip of the hat should be given to Otto Porter, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the 4th quarter on a perfect 6-6 from the field.
All things considered, I’m not sure there is a win this season that better demonstrates the improvement this group has made as an all-around team.
An argument can be made for the Trail Blazers victory, but there is something about this bounce-back effort that kind of solidifies the changes we’ve seen thus far. They found a way to win without the help of their two best scores and relied on their solid group of veterans to keep their head screwed on straight. LaVine found a way to impact the game without scoring the basketball (10 assists); Wendell Carter Jr. recorded a career-high 5 steals; Markkanen had a double-double; Thaddeus Young did a little bit of everything (15pts, 3ast, 3reb, 2stl, 2blk); and the team finished with 32 assists overall. In other words, the Bulls didn’t rely on hero ball or luck. They simply played together.
Sitting at 5-8, this team now gets to prove they can carry over positive momentum. The next 12 games for the Bulls are filled with a chunk of winnable games. We’ll talk more about that, as well as more takeaways from this game tomorrow. Go ahead and just enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and watch some football!
Great team win for the Bulls showing the value of having selfless veterans who know how to play like Thad, Temple, and Otto. Here's their next 12 games. Lots of potential Ws out there. pic.twitter.com/GQ4Z1FpMBR
— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) January 17, 2021