Zach LaVine hasn’t cooled off.
After dropping 11 three-pointers in a 41-point performance on Friday night, LaVine came out like the game never ended. He scored 17 points over the first two quarters, scoring six of those points in the final 28.1 seconds of the half to help give Chicago a 53-49 lead.
Not everyone looked as ready to roll as LaVine, though. While Vucevic and DeRozan had decent starts, neither was in a particularly strong rhythm in the first half. Mix this with a disconnected defense, and the Bulls found themselves susceptible to plenty of Jazz runs. At one point in the 2nd quarter, the Bulls failed to score the basketball for five-straight minutes, underscoring just how up and down the night was.
The tired legs on the defensive end showed up worst in the 3rd quarter. The Jazz scored 40 points to take an 89-84 lead into the final frame. Possession after possession it felt like the Bulls left lanes wide open for easy Jazz drives at the rim (Lauri Markkanen literally dunked the ball eight times). The POA defense was desperately missing Alex Caruso and Javonte Green, and for a second it looked like their absence could prove to be the difference between a win and a loss.
But then Zach LaVine did more Zach LaVine things. And DeMar DeRozan also did some DeMar DeRozan things.
The Bulls’ max player helped Chicago ignite a 19-4 run and drained three-straight 3-pointers. This final burst helped push him to a team-high 36 points on 12-21 shooting. Coby White and Patrick Williams also played a key role in helping Chicago clinch their third-straight victory, scoring 11-straight points to initially help the Bulls reclaim the lead.
I know the Jazz have fallen off quite a bit since their hot start, but I still consider this a pretty good win. They got the stops that mattered most and shot 53.0 percent from the field to secure their third-straight victory. That’s now 8 wins over their past 11 games, and that’s a big enough sample size to stir up some hope that this team is on the right track.
Check out the box score here.