I was going to start today’s bullets spitting some facts about the last time the Bulls won five games in a row. However, it turns out December of 2017 was quite a depressing month. The word “scandal” came up too many times to count and the word “wildfire” was plenty prevalent.
So, yeah, rather than bum everyone out by reflecting on bad current events, I’ll just simply say the Bulls have their first five-game winning streak in five seasons.
• The competition over this stretch may not be anything to rave about, but the fashion in which the Bulls obtained it is. *Pops glow sticks, turns on EDM, begins to rave.* The team has scored at least 113 points in each of the past five games, reaching the 130-point threshold three times. Night after night, this group continues to provide a beautiful display of ball movement and efficient bucket-getting. And this culminated last night with a ridiculous 61.9 shooting performance from the field. The Bulls have now shot at least 61.0 percent twice this season, and they have shot at least 53.0 percent from the field in their past four games. Only six times in franchise history have they had such a streak. The more recent of which dates back to 1990 (Nov. 24-Dec. 4), per Stathead.
• Seven players scored in double-figures against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, propelling the team to a season-high 38 assists. The last time the Bulls achieved this total came on December 2nd, 2014, against the Dallas Mavericks in a game that went into double overtime. The last time the Bulls achieved this total in regulation came on April 4th, 1996, against the Charlotte Hornets, per Stathead. Scottie Pippen had 14 assists while he, Michael Jordan, and Toni Kukoc all scored at least 20 points.
• To think the Bulls could achieve this without their best playmaker on the floor is pretty absurd, but it only further demonstrates the strict identity Billy Donovan (who isn’t even on the sideline!) has been able to implement behind the scenes. No matter who is in the lineup, the Bulls will play an unselfish brand of basketball, and no one demonstrated that better than Coby White last night. The third-year guard had – what I believe to be – one of the single-best games of his career. No, he may not have hit seven 3’s in the 4th quarter or dropped 30+ points, but he did dish 12 assists to go along with his 17 points. While the mark technically fell one shy of his career-high, it was easily one of the best passing performances I’ve ever seen from White.
• The tunnel vision that has plagued the sparkplug scorer in the past was nowhere to be seen. He kept his head up in transition to find Ayo Dosunmu and Javonte Green; he split defenders with a bounce pass to set up a Tyler Cook dunk, and he forced the defense to collapse as he attacked the paint before some well-timed kick-outs. Look, I’ve been higher on White than most over the years, and he’s now forced me to cool on my stance quite a bit with his inconsistent play. But I still see a much-needed role for him on this Bulls team, and I do think we need to remember he is just 21-years-old. As painful as things were at times last season with the guy playing starting point guard, there is no question the experience will aid his overall development. And last night is a representation of that.
“I feel like I’m getting better,” White told reporters after last night’s game. “I just feel like I got to get reps under my belt. For me, it’s just continuing to get in the gym, obviously, but continuing to get reps on the court and continuing to play with these new guys: DeMar, Vooch, and Zach. Just playing off those guys because, obviously, those are the main three players on the team.”
• White also made everyone smile with his awesome postgame interview. The mentality of this team is unlike anything we’ve seen in years.
"There's not a game that goes by that we don't believe we can win. And we all believe in each other. At the end of the day, we're just a team that has fun while playing basketball, and you can't ask for a better team than that." @CobyWhite pic.twitter.com/EKlNw35PkA
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) December 30, 2021
• Good note here by Steph Noh. Obviously, it helps to have a very talented roster, but assistant coach Chris Fleming has done a great job in relief of Billy Donovan this week. He’s made some smart in-game adjustments on Trae Young, and the decision to pick him up full-court definitely made a difference. Not hard to see why Fleming has gotten head coach interviews in the past.
Love this strategy from interim Bulls coach Chris Fleming. Seen a bunch of different Bulls (mostly Javonte Green and Ayo Dosunmu) guarding Trae Young with an extremely deep pick-up point throughout the game. Hawks are short-handed, they're trying to tire him out. pic.twitter.com/oOFcmKCjlP
— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) December 30, 2021
• Uh, maybe Tyler Cook should play some more.
TYLER COOK, HE HAS A FAMILY!
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 30, 2021
• No one is cooler than Zach LaVine. No. One.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 30, 2021
• You love to see this.
Abad is the definition of perseverance.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 29, 2021
• Just give anyone different the power.
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 30, 2021