LaVine's Knee, DeRozan's Streak Continues, Vucevic Playing Like an All-Star Again, and Other Bulls Bullets

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LaVine’s Knee, DeRozan’s Streak Continues, Vucevic Playing Like an All-Star Again, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls


One night after Zach LaVine sat out of the Chicago Bulls win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, news dropped the All-Star is heading out west to see a specialist for his left knee. While a previous MRI this season showed no structural damage, LaVine has continued to deal with soreness. All parties appear eager to get a second look.

While it’s nearly impossible to stay positive in the wake of the Bulls’ truly abysmal injury luck, I will try my best. As of now, he has not been ruled out for All-Star Weekend, and we do at least have that first MRI sharing optimistic results. So, if you need me, I’ll be doing my breathing exercises while listening to ocean sounds and rubbing a rabbit’s foot (speaking of which … does anyone have an extra rabbit’s foot lying around?).

•   At least we still have DeMar DeRozan. I feel like a broken record every morning typing my silly words on how superb the All-Star starter has been, but the guy will not stop decimating opponents! He now has six-straight games with 30+ points, which is the longest such streak of his career. Even more impressive, he’s dropped 35+ points in five of those games! It’s truly hard to put into words how mesmerizing he has been to watch, and I can tell Derrick Jones Jr. feels the same way. The forward made a shocking return to the floor last night and spoke with reporters about the midrange assassin: “I told him before, I’m glad on his team now because I don’t have to be the one guarding him [and] all them damn shot fakes. He’s an incredible player on an incredible role, and I just hope he keeps it up.”

•   I actually highly recommend you tune into DJJ’s postgame conversation. Not only does he reassure us that he feels good to go after his fluke finger injury, but he informs us that he does plenty of yapping on DeRozan’s behalf: “Me personally, I’m going to let you know how bad of a night you’re going to have guarding him. I’m going to talk my trash for him. He’s not even going to say anything to you. I’m going to talk it for him.”

•   Nobody has scored more points over the last six games than DeRozan, per NBA Stats. To be sure, part of that may be out of necessity, but part of that also thanks to 13 years of experience. In a tough time of the season when many are dealing with bumps, bruises, and pre-All-Star break fatigue, DeRozan has learned to stay fresh.

“All year, my goal is just to be completely lock in. Continue to get better as the season goes on,” DeRozan said after the game. “Just knowing at this point in the season what it’s like physically, emotionally, the ups and downs of the season, being fully prepared for it. Just understanding it.”

•   DeRozan isn’t the only one keeping the Bulls afloat. We’re seeing the full benefit of investing in multiple All-Stars, as both he and Vucevic have stepped up in a way that only the most elite players can. Vucevic is now averaging 24.4 points and 13.3 rebounds in the month of February. He’s shooting 59.0 percent from the field, doing a complete 180 from the efficiency levels we saw to start the season. Coming out of the locker room after a first-half funk, the Bulls fed Vucevic repeatedly as he dominated OKC on his way to 15 points in the 3rd quarter. Every made-bucket came at the rim.

•   Honestly, Vucevic’s recent success might be one of the bitter-sweet outcomes of this injury trouble. It’s forced him to step up in a way he technically hasn’t been asked to this season. If this Vucevic is here to stay, the Bulls will only be that much tougher to take down when/if they reach full health.

•   Heads up: The Brooklyn Nets have lost their 11th-straight game and sit 8th in the eastern conference with a record of 29-27. Of course, they still need to get healthy (and add Ben Simmons into the mix), but I don’t think anyone would have predicted this back in October.

•   Troy Brown Jr. is an official Bulls legend …

•   Shoutout to the Bulls for recognizing Neil Funk last night and earning him that W.


Author: Elias Schuster

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