Games Without a Win: 5
• First things first, we need to watch this Patrick Williams block again (and then 14 more times).
• I mean … like … that’s not normal. Say what you will about Deandre Ayton, but that man is a former No. 1-overall draft pick with a seven-foot-five wingspan and a pretty effortless dunking ability. Patrick Williams made him look like Wile E. Coyote running straight into the side of a boulder. People have talked about Williams’ Kawhi-like hands, and this arguably his best reflection yet. The fact that he palmed the ball, stopped Ayton’s momentum entirely, and ripped it away with one hand is enough to make even the most pessimistic Bulls fan see a flash of light at the end of the tunnel. Thaddeus Young described just how amazing it was to see that block happen from the best seat in the house.
Thad Young called Patrick Williams' pinning of DeAndre Ayton's alley-oop dunk attempt one of the best blocks he's ever seen and added he was "in awe" seeing it in real time.
Young in his his 14th season.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 1, 2021
• The Bulls got themselves a gem, folks, but don’t take my word for it:
Devin Booker on Patrick Williams: "I like that kid. I like his size. I like his mindset, his mentality. We talked a little bit on the court. I gave him a couple things I’ve seen now that we’ve played them twice and not playing them again. I think he has a bright future."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 1, 2021
• Devin Booker dropped 45 points on Patrick Williams, and he still saw plenty of promise in the rookie. He is the most recent name to add to the “big-time players who have praised Williams” list, which is headlined by LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard (or, as I prefer to call him, the Patrick Williams wannabe). Booker and Williams are two very different players, however, I still have no question some words of advice from one of the more lethal scorers in the game can only do him some good. After all, that’s the next step many of us are looking for in Williams’ game. The presence of guys like Zach LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, and now Nikola Vucevic have surely taken away scoring opportunities from Williams. Fortunately, he has still found a way to contribute with well-timed cuts and smooth spot-up corner 3’s, but I think we can all agree it feels like there is a lot more in his bag.
• Williams finished with a great 16-point, 7-11 shooting performance last night. Seven of those 11 shots came 11ft from the basket, and he looked noticeably more decisive than he did over the first couple months of this season. The game was his second straight with double-digit shot attempts, and that is a streak that only happened once so far this season. I’m hoping that we continue to see things trend in this direction, because with the way he is playing and the weight he holds for the future, I’d love to see him get more of an opportunity to showcase what he can do on that end of the floor.
• Losing to the team with the second-best record in the league by five is something I can live with, especially when we consider the Bulls were without one All-Star and two key rotational players. I think what last night’s performance showed us is that this is very much a new team, one with a deeper load of talent and an improved ability to limit their mistakes. Obviously, we’ll have to see clean and competitive performances like this continue before we get too excited, however, I’m definitely encouraged by the fact the Bulls came out on the right side of the turnover and fouls battle. Chicago tied their second-lowest turnover mark of the season with only 9 against the 5th-place Suns defense. Meanwhile, they also won the foul battle 21-20 (was a little better than that until they had to foul at the end to try to stay alive). Vucevic, Theis, and Brown (the newbies) combined for only one turnover and three fouls.
• Vooch’s first three games look pretty good to me.
Nikola Vucevic's first 3 games with #Bulls:
21 pts, 9 rebs, 9-16 FGs, 32 mins
21 pts, 9 rebs, 9-13 FGs, 27 mins
24 pts, 10 rebs, 8-18 FGs, 34 mins
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) April 1, 2021
Vooch's first double-double as a Bull.
24 points | 8-18 FG | 10 rebounds | 2 steals pic.twitter.com/t5wtrDEPOv
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 1, 2021
• FWIW: It’s hard not to think the Bulls could have pulled this one out with Zach LaVine, which sucks. I’m sure it was frustrating to sit there and watch Devin Booker absolutely cook his team knowing that he could probably go toe-to-toe. Oh well, I hope one night of rest did him a lot good. And, hopefully, this game without him gave the rest of the team a chance to get a bit more comfortable with Vooch.
• This was dope. Happy retirement, coach.
Our favorite Roy Williams moment ❤️ pic.twitter.com/qU2YeQ4wWL
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) April 1, 2021