Stars Step Up, Knicks Eye LaVine, DJJ Leaves With Injury, Capela Out, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Stars Step Up, Knicks Eye LaVine, DJJ Leaves With Injury, Capela Out, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

The moment I saw this is the moment I knew the Bulls were about to snap their win streak:

  • In all seriousness, I give the Bulls props for taking care of business last night. With a load of drama breaking throughout Tuesday, the full expectation was that they’d walk on the floor with zero motivation and a lot of bottled-up anger. They were seemingly able to turn that anger into fuel, however, shooting 54.8 percent from the field and having one of their better performances from the “Big 3.” Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic combined for 74 points, 13 assists, and 23 rebounds.
  • Having said that, nobody should start to rethink the direction of this season after the Bulls beat a Heat team without Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and Caleb Martin. They still coughed up 17 TOVs and allowed five Heat players to score in double figures. It wasn’t by any means some kind of dominant or clean win that signals a full-season turnaround. Now, if they are able to put together another decent showing tonight in Atlanta, then maybe I’ll let a drip of optimism back into my body. But, for now, I’m not reading too much into this game.

  • Speaking of LaVine, Steph Noh put together a great video that outlined some of the plays that may have sparked this locker-room incident. A lot of the comments were reportedly directed toward LaVine for his lackluster defense, which we can’t deny was on full display during the T-Wolves’ 150-point effort:

  • I don’t know how to feel about Zach LaVine right now. Not only is he underachieving this season, but he also seemed to be the driving force behind yesterday’s big report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania. On one hand, I do believe there is a really good player in there that can help this franchise point things in the right direction. On the other hand, he’s given us no choice but to question some of his leadership qualities. He’s the max player who is supposed to band everyone together. I’m not quite sure he fully understands the change of responsibility and perception that comes with that massive pay raise. Whether he wants to admit it or not, expectations have changed and it’s up to him to rise to the occasion.

Several NBA teams, including the New York Knicks, are monitoring whether LaVine will become available on the trade market after Chicago’s underwhelming start to the season at 12-18, Lonzo Ball’s return from injury in question, and Nikola Vucevic’s looming free agency.

  • Derrick Jones Jr. played 15 minutes last night before leaving the game with a left ankle sprain. Considering the Bulls are set to take the floor again tonight in Atlanta, I think it’s fair to assume Jones will not suit up. Whether or not we should expect him to miss any more time than that is up in the air. In the meantime, expect to see less small-ball and more Andre Drummond.

  • While the Atlanta Hawks have gotten back both Dejounte Murray and John Collins since the Bulls lost to them in heartbreaking fashion earlier this month, they will be without Clint Capela tonight. All things considered, that feels like a big break for a Bulls team that struggles to contain the pick-and-roll and can get hammered on the glass.
  • That’s what we in the industry like to call a “John Paxson Promotion.”

  • Tis the season! Awesome stuff from the rookie!

  • Extend the man!

  • Good news!

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Author: Elias Schuster

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