An Awesome Offense, A Better Bench, LaVine is Questionable, and Other Bulls Bullets

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An Awesome Offense, A Better Bench, LaVine is Questionable, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Put Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams, and Derrick Jones Jr. on the sideline, and I’d still pick this Chicago Bulls offense to hang with anyone in the league.

I know we all expected the Bulls to be a bucket-getting monster before the season got underway, but that doesn’t make watching it any less special, especially when Javonte Green and Coby White are adding 20+ points apiece. The second half against the Timberwolves was a true offensive clinic. We watched Nikola Vucevic grab 12 of his 26 points in the third quarter while Zach LaVine scored 8 of his 12 points. Those two then passed the torch to DeMar DeRozan and Coby White, who combined for 28 points in the 4th quarter to lead the team to a 42-point final frame. It was a sight to see.

The Timberwolves’ 11th-ranked offense tried to keep up with a 50.0 percent shooting performance from the field, but it didn’t matter a lick. The Bulls sank a season-high 55 field goals on their way to a season-high 134 points behind a season-high 63.2 field goal percentage. Awesome stuff.

•   Seriously, I can’t imagine the last time the Bulls were this dominant on any particular side of the ball. I know it can come and go depending on the game – nobody is perfect for a full 82 – but it feels like there is literally nothing any team can do when this Bulls offense finds a rhythm (except pray). And the catalyst of that power is surely DeMar DeRozan. A relentless scorer who acts as if the defense is non-existent every trip down the floor, it’s hard not to think the Bulls feed off that efficient energy. DeRozan has broken the 30-point threshold in the last five games, which ties a career-high and makes him to only player in Bulls history not named GOAT to have such a streak (h/t The Athletic). The stuff he is doing this season is truly special, and he should remain right in the thick of the MVP conversation.

•   Javonte Green tied his career-high with 23 points in last night’s win. While he continues to deserve endless praise for his swiss-army-knife ability, it’s hard not to have seen this kind of performance on the horizon. Green has played the best basketball of his career in recent weeks, cracking double-figures in seven of the last 10 games. He’s shot 61.o percent from the field over that stretch, taking full advantage of the space opposing defenses have given him as they try to stay focused on the trio of LaVine, DeRozan, and Vucevic. His off-ball movement and fierce cutting ability has added another layer to this Bulls offense, and his defense on the other end continues to be essential in the wake of injury trouble.

•   Man, wouldn’t it be nice if Green could come off the bench? Don’t get me wrong, he is the perfect kind of player to pair with this star-studded lineup, but it would also be great to see Donovan mix and match his minutes with different lineups on a fully healthy Bulls team. After all, this bench needs some major help, and Donovan said as much after the game:

“We need to get more from our bench. We need to get more minutes from our bench. For me, I think Tony gave us some really good minutes in the second half. I think we got to get more from Troy Brown. I think we got to get more from Malcolm. I think we got to get more when Matt’s out there. We just got to get more from our bench.”

•   Donovan did it respectfully, but I’m glad to see the head coach call this bench out. Matt Thomas has struggled so much in recent games that he didn’t even see the floor last night. Troy Brown Jr. has been hot and cold, only allowing Donovan to play him 11 minutes against the T-Wolves. Malcolm Hill is an intriguing addition to this roster, but he has 15 career games under his belt. Tony Bradley, while solid at times, has yet to be the consistent backup big this team needs. And where has Tyler Cook or Alfonzo McKinnie been? Have they truly been unplayable? Someone in this group has to step up.

•   Zach LaVine is listed as questionable for tonight’s game on the latest injury report. The All-Star looked noticeably uncomfortable during the game last night, scoring his third-fewest points of the season. Donovan implied that he’s still dealing with lingering bumps and bruising, and it sure feels like tonight could be a pre-scheduled rest for the All-Star. To be sure, the head coach said it will come down to how LaVine is feeling, but considering it’s the backend of a back-to-back after some back and knee issues, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team circled this as a rest day earlier this week.

•   I waffle between letting LaVine play and sitting him more frequently. While I want him to be 100 percent, I do trust that this medical staff likely sees no path to more significant injury trouble if he plays. All of it seems to be more of a pain tolerance situation for LaVine, and I can’t deny that his mere presence on the floor makes a significant difference when it comes to opening up this offense. Still, if there is a route where some extra rest with the All-Star break can get him back to 100 percent, I’d probably do it.

•   You love to see DeRozan putting Patrick Beverley in his place.

•   You also love to see Coach Caruso hard at work.

•   All the new hires!



Author: Elias Schuster

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