Wow-wow-wow! What a way to start the season. Even IF Zach LaVine (let alone Lonzo Ball) were healthy and playing tonight, I don’t think anyone would’ve put money on the Bulls going into Miami and stealing the opener against the Heat. And it certainly didn’t look like they would in the game’s early minutes. But they became increasingly comfortable throughout the game and never took their foot off the gas. There was just a crap ton of effort all around, and now here we are, 1-0, with a huge first “W” against a legitimate Eastern Conference contender. I’m just so happy.
So how did we get here? Well, although there was some good team basketball played tonight — Nikola Vucevic had 17 rebounds and a double-double, Alex Caruso busted out on defense all night, and Ayo Dosunmu was pleasantly aggressive on the offensive side of the ball — this was DeMar DeRozan’s game.
Like most of last season, DeRozan absolutely took over this contest as the game’s leading scorer, with a total of 37 points on an excellent 63.6 FG% from the floor. DeRozan did it all in this one, fooling Heat players with pump fakes, throwing down massive dunks, and even hitting a couple of timely threes. And, I mean, damn, he even had six rebounds and 9 assists. It was just a baller performance from start to finish.
And he did it all without a second scorer (LaVine) to take away some of the (lowercase) heat.
It wasn’t all good news tonight, as Patrick Williams and Coby White had particularly tough games. But for every wart, there was another bright spot (Goran Dragic looked energized in his Bulls debut, Andre Drummond brought down some big boards, Javonte Green still has the spark, etc.). We’ll get into all of this and more tomorrow, but for now, let’s just enjoy it. What a way to start the season.