For the Bulls to break an ugly streak, they needed an ugly win.
For the first time since October 27th, 2016 …
The Chicago Bulls are 1-0. pic.twitter.com/TaYyEVJGe4
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) October 21, 2021
A 94-88 win over the Detroit Pistons gave Chicago their first opening night victory since October 27th, 2016. Yes, you read that right. Nothing about the victory was pretty, especially when we compare it to the free-flowing and highlight-inducing preseason we saw this month, but it was still a much-needed performance.
Despite adding a four-time All-Star in DeMar DeRozan and a highly-coveted point guard in Lonzo Ball, it remained Zach LaVine who put the team on his back and stole the show. He finished the night with 34 points behind an efficient 11-17 performance from the field and a perfect 11-11 showing at the free-throw line.
I know he’s had more statistically jaw-dropping performances in the past, and perhaps I am just caught up in the moment, but I think that might have been the most superstar-like I’ve seen the 26-year-old. His ability to limit mistakes, score at a whim, seal the game a the line, and grab some of the biggest rebounds of the night left me feeling more confident than ever in his ability to ascend up the league ranks this season (and, folks, I was already pretty damn confident).
The rest of the team looked … meh. I’m pretty sure I lost a chunk of hair for every missed shot at the rim, and a 7-24 performance from downtown is certainly not something I expected to see from this group right out of the gate. However, the defensive intensity translated pretty beautifully from the preseason. Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso were all over the place. The team forced 17 turnovers and scored 22 points off those turnovers. Of course, the Bulls also coughed up the ball their fair share, but the team’s commitment on this end of the floor ultimately put them in a position to win. And considering all the concerns that surround this team on that side of the ball, that’s an encouraging sign.
Anyway, I’ll have plenty more thoughts tomorrow. I need to go take a hot shower and try to relax – that was far more sweat than I expected to drip on opening night.
You can check out the full box score here.