Zach LaVine reminded everyone today why the Chicago Bulls paid him the big bucks.
The max player looked like just that as he touched the Detroit Pistons from start to finish. He dropped 18 points in the first quarter on his way to a season-high 43 points, shooting 15-20 from the field with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Both the lift on his jumper and the explosiveness in his first step looked to be back to All-Star level. He attacked the paint with sheer aggression as he hunted one high-percentage look after another. Only four of LaVine’s 20 attempts came in the midrange, with a barrage of layups and downtown makes guiding him to his season-best performance.
The Bulls definitely needed LaVine to find his groove because the defense wasn’t doing the job for three and a half quarters. Detroit shot 47.7 percent on the night and capitalized on some silly Chicago turnovers. For a little while, it seemed like they could steal the ballgame and hand the Bulls another concerning loss, but the vets were able to put together yet another strong crunch time showing and end the game on a 17-3 run.
At the end of the day, I’m not going to clap that loudly for a win over the nine-win Detroit Pistons. But that’s now five wins in six games for this Bulls team. When we consider how this season started, that does feel like a decently big deal. We’ll see if they can keep it up with two tough matchups against Cleveland coming up.
Check out the full box score here.