After Wednesday night’s season-opener, Zach LaVine made one thing clear: This ain’t last year’s team.
From the moment the clock started ticking on the home-opener tonight, the Bulls were in complete control. Even though LaVine failed to find his groove from the jump, it didn’t matter a lick. DeMar DeRozan showed everyone at the United Center the value of having a strong secondary scorer, getting the offense rolling with an efficient 10 points in the first quarter.
Then, once LaVine came back from his first ounce of rest, he was ready to grab the torch like only LaVince can. He dropped 20 points in the 2nd quarter to balloon the Bulls 11 points lead to a 65-47 margin at halftime. From there … the night was as good as gone.
In the second half, the Bulls looked far more like the fun-loving, free-flowing offense we saw during the preseason. LaVine and DeRozan finished the game with a combined 56 points. Meanwhile, the bench played their role perfectly, forcing stops and out scoring the Pelicans bench 35-29.
By the way, I was in the arena tonight (probs why they won), and I’d simply be lying if I said the atmosphere wasn’t revitalized. There is clearly something different about this Bulls team, and it’s not only in terms of talent, it’s also in the confidence they carry. And while they have a long way to go to truly prove they are a threat in the Eastern Conference, there is no denying they are off to a strong start.
More tomorrow. I got plenty of I’m gonna go celebrate a beautiful home-opener.