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Donovan Loves LaVine, Bring on the Vengeful Nets, Dominance Leads to Extra Rest, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Remember when the Chicago Bulls used to make bad teams look good?

Well, now they make bad teams look … uh … super-duper bad!

•   Last night’s win over the Detroit Pistons was about as dominant as they come. After sleepwalking through much of the first quarter, the Bulls realized what was at stake with a matchup against the 2nd-best team in the East roughly 24 hours away. They went on to shoot 66.7 percent in the 2nd quarter to grab a nine-point lead heading into the locker room. Then, over the next two frames, the Bulls would outscore the Pistons a ridiculous 72-35 to finish the night with a 133-87 victory. It marked the 6th time this season Chicago has scored at least 130 points, which is a feat no other team has accomplished thus far. This also marked only the 5th time in franchise history the Bulls outscored a regular-season opponent by at least 46 points (the other instances came in 2017, 1991, 1983, and 1976).

•   Thanks to the offensive explosion that saw the Bulls shoot 54.3 percent from the field and tie a season-high with 18-made 3-pointers, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball all clocked under 30 minutes of action. When we consider the Brooklyn Nets walk into the UC tonight before the Bulls face back-to-back matchups against the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics this weekend, any extra rest could prove absolutely crucial.

•   Silly me, I haven’t even mentioned the most impressive thing about last night’s win: Zach LaVine scored only 10 points. The Chicago Bulls All-Star had plenty else to contribute with 9 rebounds and 7 assists, but all he had to muster on the offensive end was his lowest-scoring total of the season for the Bulls to rip apart a 9-31 Pistons team. Imagine seeing that kind of box score a year and a half ago. A 10-point scoring night from LaVine used to mean the Bulls were on the other end of a blowout victory. It’s just another one of those games that shows everyone in the league how much has changed in Chicago.

•   Head coach Billy Donovan talked about what LaVine brings to the table after the game, reflecting on the notion that he was viewed as an empty-calorie scorer for years on end.

“People have no idea what kind of guy this guy is. They have no idea what kind of person he is. They have no idea how unselfish he is. They have no idea how important his teammates are to him. They have no idea how much he wants to win.

With all the talent that he has been blessed with, I give him a lot of credit. He could sit there and say, ‘give me the ball and let me play.’ He really wants to figure out, ‘how do I fit in with these guys? What can I do to make the group better? How do I get them better? How can I help Vooch? How can I help DeMar.’”

•   Donovan is describing exactly why this Bulls team works the way it does. As great as guys like DeRozan, Ball, Vucevic, and Caruso have been, those are players who came to play with LaVine. Without his mix of athletic gifts, unselfishness, and desire to win in Chicago, the ascent we’ve seen the Bulls take wouldn’t be possible. Simple as that.

•   The trade deadline is less than one month away, which means I get to go stir crazy over all the rumors that come across my desk!

•   The Bulls have already beaten the Nets twice this season, and both of those victories came in convincing fashion. However, not only can this superstar-packed team never be taken lightly, but they should take the floor tonight with one more weapon. Kyrie Irving has recently rejoined the franchise to play in road games, and he’s dropped 22 points in each of his two games played so far. One of the best ball-handlers in the league with elite body control around the rim, he’ll pose a new challenge for a Bulls team that will – once again – be without their best defender in Alex Caruso.

“To be the best in this league, you have to compete against the best. Tomorrow is going to be one of those fun games. I’m pretty sure they’re going to come in here with some type of revenge, especially having Kyrie back. We beat them twice, it’s going to be a challenge. It’s one of those games you look forward to. We start there and we worry about the next opponent after that,” DeRozan told reporters after Tuesday night’s game.

•   Why is tonight’s midwest game at 9:00 p.m. CT? Great question! It’s the backend of the ESPN doubleheader, with the first game being Mavs-Knicks in New York. Still, this is the type of start time that should make Adam Silver fine himself at least a couple thousand dollars.

•   Bulls are back.

•   Troy Brown has been really solid filling that dirty work role for the Bulls since Caruso and Javonte Green went down with varying injuries. He has always had such high two-way potential with great length, good ball-handling, and really solid secondary playmaking ability. The jumper has just been inconsistent since he entered the league. I hope he can continue to find himself on this Bulls roster, even though I fear the minutes will be hard to come by as the team regains health.

•   Hey, I know that account!

•   Don’t forget Lonzo Ball is an absolute beast.

•   Bulls would never.

•   So. Many. Names.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.