Mavericks Come to Town, the Lakers Big Mistake, Shooting More 3s, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Mavericks Come to Town, the Lakers Big Mistake, Shooting More 3s, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Random Thought Before I Type Words About Basketball: Working from home basically gives you no excuse to procrastinate on little chores like doing your laundry or running the dishwasher. You’re always a few feet away from things that need to be done, and we all know we have enough short breaks throughout the day to do those things. Boring.

•   The Dallas Mavericks are a confusing team, and I touched on that in our weekly preview. While Luka Doncic is one of the NBA’s few players who can steal a game with his own two hands, the team’s 7-3 record does not feel like the best representation of their early-season success. For example, the Mavs 53.1 true shooting percentage ranks an underwhelming 25th in the league and their offensive rating as a whole sits just 23rd. The defensive end of the ball has been slightly better, but they still sit just 15th-overall in defensive efficiency. In other words, this Mavericks squad feels a bit more beatable than their 3rd-place standing in the West suggests, especially for a Bulls team that just took down a Brooklyn Nets squad in impressive fashion. Now that I said that, Chicago will proceed to lose by 50 and Billy Donovan will quit. 

•   Of course, I’m not trying to say the Bulls should consider the Mavericks a lesser opponent. As much as the advanced analytics dislike this Mavericks group, it’s simply a fact that Doncic and Co. have been able to execute the best during the game’s biggest moments. Dallas is a perfect 4-0 in Clutch games this season, and they also hold the 7th-best offensive rating in these situations. Much like it has been for Chicago, the entire 4th quarter has been a bright spot for Dallas, as we see their overall 21st Net Rating jump to the 11th-best in the final frame (FWIW: Chicago is currently the league’s best 4th quarter team). So we can’t rule out the possibility that the Bulls get a taste of their own medicine tonight if the game remains within reach for the Mavericks down the stretch.

•   I also have a feeling this could be another game where we quickly miss Coby White. Again, while the Mavericks’ offense has not been anything too dynamic to start the season, they do have two superior offensive weapons off the bench. Point guard Jalen Brunson is putting together a career season with 15.0 points, 4.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds off the bench. Dallas also has Reggie Bullock in a second unit role, who started 64 games last season for the 4th-seeded Knicks and shot 41.0 percent from behind the arc. Bullock may not be off to the strongest start this season, but he’s a solid two-way contributor whose threat to shoot from deep has the Mavs bench scoring an average of 33.2 points per game compared to the Bulls’ 24.7. So if Ayo Dosunmu would like to give the Bulls another 15-point performance, that would be splendid!

•   Expect quite the difference in offensive style between the Bulls and their opponent over the next few games. The Mavericks, Warriors, and Clippers all rank top-7 in 3-point attempts per game while the Bulls rank deadlast. This desire on Chicago’s end to limit their 3-point shots has yet to be all that problematic, especially since they are hitting the ones they take at an efficient rate (11th in the league), but I still think this number will have to increase slightly in the coming weeks. After all, rarely does a playoff team in today’s league rank bottom-three in 3PAs.

•   Executives around the league have recently bashed the Los Angeles Lakers for their decision to let Alex Caruso walk this summer. The defensive hound and key Bulls’ contributor currently ranks 3rd in the NBA in total steals and 4th in deflections per game, being the catalyst for the team’s 4th-best defensive rating. Caruso spoke about his departure from the Lakers with JJ Redick on The Old Man & The Three podcast, confirmed via a blink (watch the video blow), that LA refused to even offer him a two-year, $15 million contract. U dumb, Lakers.

•   It is super encouraging to see White running full speed with the Windy City Bulls. The third-year guard practiced with the G-League affiliate before rejoining the Bulls later in the day.

•   The vibes on this team >>>>

•   You know how much confidence you must have to even take this shot?

•   Just Fields is that dude. Matt Nagy is not.

•   Whoa … another win!?

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.