As much as I love some Chicago Bulls basketball, please give this team some rest!
- I really want everyone to take a second and let what Zach LaVine did last night sink in. Single-handedly outscoring a team that has Kevin Durant in the 4th quarter is not … well … normal. I know the “injury management” situation has left a weird taste in our mouths to start this season, but last night’s game reminded us of why the team is proceeding with so much caution.
- While there may be some pretty stinkin’ good scorers in this league, only a select few are as good as or better than LaVine. He’s a max-level talent who has the ability to steal games, and we saw him do exactly that last night. We can’t necessarily fault him for struggling to find his rhythm over the team’s first couple of weeks. If anything, the team deserves a bulk of the blame for not being more transparent about the fact that LaVine entered training camp without any five-on-five action post-surgery. As long as they were honest, his limited availability and slow start wouldn’t have felt as concerning.
- Don’t get me wrong, I still feel a bit uneasy about how fast LaVine can ramp up when we consider just how frequently he is resting games. But perhaps last night was a sign of what’s to come. He looked more than confident shooting off that left knee, and his 10-21 stat line was far closer to the efficient scorer we’ve grown accustomed to. According to the man himself, he’s also feeling better with each game.
- In fact, LaVine could be feeling so much better that tonight’s backend of the back-to-back could be on the table. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson shared that no one ruled out the possibility of him playing at home tonight against the Hornets. While I don’t expect it to happen right now, the mere fact that it’s even being considered is a step in the right direction.
- LaVine getting an interview on TNT like the star he is:
- The Ayo Dosunmu breakout season continues. The starting point guard played a fundamental role in helping the Bulls pull off a much-needed win. Not only did he score 17 points on an efficient 7-11 performance, but he also snatched two huge steals in the final 3 minutes of action off Kevin Durant. He took full advantage of playing against this 29th-ranked defense in the NBA, flying past defenders in the halfcourt and finishing six of his seven makes within six feet of the basket. Talk about prioritizing high-percentage looks.
- Dosunmu also played a role in limiting Kyrie Irving to just 4 points in 32 minutes of action. He shot 2-12 from the field in what was one of the single worst performances of his career.
- Goran Dragic did it again. The veteran free agent signing continues to prove he has a lot of good basketball left in the tank. In a game where Coby White had to ride the bench due to a quad injury, Dragic played the role of sparkplug scorer and scored 15 points on four 3s with the second unit. Oh, and he did it against his former team!
- Now, having said all of this, it’s not like last night’s nationally-televised win answered all the burning questions I have about this team. There are still concerns about their 3-point shooting and shockingly inefficient offense, as well as their inability to guard the opposing 3-point line. After all, the Nets held the 29th-ranked defense and 19th-ranked offense coming into the game, so the Bulls should have been able to take control of that game a whole lot earlier than they did.
- NBA trade deadline still better …
- I like having healthy goalies.
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