Before tonight’s game Nick Nurse was asked how Zach LaVine playing in tonight’s game would impact the strategy to double DeMar DeRozan that worked so well for Toronto on Sunday night. Nurse laughed and said “we’re gonna double him too.”
All Zach LaVine did was log his first 30-point performance of the season as the Bulls routed the Raptors, and I’d bet that Nick Nurse isn’t laughing right about now.
But before Zach LaVine could get going, Billy Donovan made two moves early that saved the Bulls from a repeat performance on Monday night, going to Javonte Green and Goran Dragic earlier than usual to try to provide his team with a spark against a Toronto team that was out to an early 8-2 lead.
In the first 2:46, the Bulls had logged four fouls, three turnovers, and two points. It wasn’t until Zach LaVine took flight for a dunk that the Bulls registered their second field goal of the game. DeMar DeRozan didn’t record his first field goal until there was 2:43 left in the first half.
But going to Green with 9:14 to play in the first and Dragic with 7:51 to play helped the Bulls crank out 18 bench points in the opening frame, with Dragic scoring eight and Green scoring seven.
A big triple by Ayo Dosunmu with under eight to play in the first half sparked a 12-2 run for the Bulls that helped them establish a sizeable lead that helped them stay in front even despite a 10-0 run by Toronto in the final minutes of the half.
The move to swap Dosunmu and Williams for Dragic and Green not only helped spark the bench — which scored 25 points in the first half — when the Bulls needed an injection of energy, but it woke Dosunmu and Williams up to the tune of 12 and 10 points respectively in the game.
The Raptors tried to play the aggressive trap style of defense that helped them beat the Bulls in Toronto on Sunday night but having Zach LaVine on the floor tonight made that much more difficult. LaVine scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting in the first half.
This lob by from Dosunmu to Patrick Williams was a great example of how the Bulls combated the Raptors trap defense tonight.
The Bulls shook off the late first-half run by the Raptors in the third quarter and outscored the Raptors 28-17 to take a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Nikola Vucevic got hot in the third quarter, scoring nine of the Bulls’ 28 points. Vooch scored 15 points — shooting a 50 percent clip — on the night and pulled down 13 rebounds. The Bulls bench outscored the Raptors bench 35-28, and the team logged 30 assists on 42 makes.
The Bulls just flat out outhustled the Raptors tonight and led the Raptors by 20 points by the time the 10-minute mark rolled around in the fourth quarter. Zach LaVine played closer tonight, scoring 13 in the fourth quarter and finishing the game with 30 points, and the Bulls are now 5-3 with LaVine in the lineup and 1-3 when he is not.
You can find the complete box score here.