I used to play the violin and bass in high school. Was I any good? Eh, not particularly, but my high school was viewed as one of the better orchestras in the state. I don’t say that to brag, but rather to express that being apart of it was certainly a commitment. We competed in those fancy-schmancy events, went to Spain, and took field trips to see plenty of performances over the years. So, in other words, I like to think I’ve seen and heard plenty of impressive orchestral performances over the years.
And I think the 3rd quarter of last night’s Bulls game is right up there with the best of them.
• I would have loved to have a camera pointed right at Billy Donovan throughout the entirety of last night’s 3rd quarter. No matter how hard you try, you can’t convince me that the man didn’t shed at least one happy tear. What the Bulls did out of the locker room was not only their best quarter of basketball in years, but it was their 5th highest-scoring in franchise history (h/t Jeff Mangurten). The team finished 19-26 from the field and dished out 10 assists in the quarter. All seven players who saw the court in that quarter scored and all but one (Wendell Carter Jr.) added to the assist total. From the 10:03 mark to the 4:00 minute mark, the Bulls didn’t miss a single shot and went on a ridiculous 30-14 run.
• Much like playing in an orchestra, basketball is all about collaboration and filling your role. Focus solely on just your sheet music and you’re screwed. Last night, and specifically in the 3rd quarter, the Bulls were the most in-sync we’ve seen them in quite some time. Zach LaVine played off Thaddeus Young who played off Tomas Satoransky who played off Patrick Williams who played off Garrett Temple who … you get the point. While LaVine may have carried the melody with 14 points, it was the group effort that made things appear so fluid and effortless. I’d listen to the Bulls play that song any day.
• Today is the day. All 30 NBA head coaches have submitted their votes for 2021’s All-Star reserves, and TNT will release the final roster tonight in the midst of their Tuesday doubleheader. While I want to believe that LaVine’s ridiculous February has locked him into one of the last remaining reserve spots, I simply can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he should 100 percent receive the first-ever nod, but it’s so hard to get into the minds of these coaches. The good news is that their case for not writing his name down is arguably the crappiest it’s ever been. Not only is LaVine one of the most efficient scorers in the league, but he has also shown an improved effort in playmaking, defending, and (most importantly) winning. I mean, just look …
Movin’ on up. pic.twitter.com/2vESvHNbSJ
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 23, 2021
• To say I’ll be livid if I hear people use the win-loss column as the sole reason LaVine shouldn’t be an All-Star, especially with Bradley Beal as a starter, would be an understatement.
• I’m not sure how reassuring this should be, but it does feel pretty damn good that LaVine continues to get some big-time recognition from top NBA analysts. ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who has been a notable LaVine skeptic in the past, even gave the Bulls guard the last spot on his Eastern Conference roster.
My picks for the 2020-21 All-Star game: my official starters (I had a ballot, so they count) and reserve picks (don't count). The East reserves were impossible. https://t.co/7yOrrea9kv
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 23, 2021
• Likewise, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, and Sports Illustrated’s Michael Pina have all jumped on the LaVine bandwagon. Oh, and these guys too …
LaVine made personal All-Star lists from 4/4 people on the national podcasts I listened to today. Shout out:@dieter and @Sam_Vecenie on the Game Theory podcast@stevejones20 and @NekiasNBA on the Dunker Spot podcast
— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) February 23, 2021
• After last night’s game, Coby White credited focus on improving things at the defensive end for some of the team’s recent success. We wrote more about that on Monday:
The Bulls Defensive Improvement is a Matter of Will and Drillhttps://t.co/cxzWJ70gGm
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 22, 2021
• Just Michael being Michael.
• I LOVE what I’ve seen from Wendell Carter Jr. since his return from injury. He has come out arguably the most aggressive we have ever seen him on the offense end, and he appears to be seeing the game at a whole new level. The big man continues to make reads and passes we haven’t seen him make before, and it’s hard not to attribute at least some of that progress to watching the versatile Thaddeus Young.
• Pau Gasol’s time in Chicago is pretty underrated (he made the All-Star game and averaged a double-double in both seasons with them). I wish him nothing but the best overseas.