Vooch Dominates, Off to Paris, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Nikola Vucevic Dominates, A Balanced Attack, Off to Paris, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Guess what? The Chicago Bulls followed up a three-game losing streak by beating the defending champions by 14 points.

Now, they’ll head to Paris for a matchup with the 12-win Detroit Pistons. Does the whole losing to trash teams translate overseas or can they avoid completely embarrassing themselves on the international stage?

I can’t wait to find out (jk … I can wait)!

  • The Chicago Bulls kept it simple. After Nikola Vucevic started the night 5-7 in the first quarter with 12 points, they kept the ball headed in his direction. The big man gained steam as the night went on, shooting a season-high 31 shots to tie his career-high 43 points. He sank 10 of his 14 shots within 9ft of the basket, taking full advantage of a small Warriors team relying on Kevon Looney and Draymond Green to man the frontcourt.
  • The performance was undoubtedly encouraging when we consider how much these Bulls’ guards have struggled recently to get Vucevic the ball in his spots. The lack of a real point guard has arguably shown up most in this way, as botched entry passes and skipped mismatches have left a lot of potentially easy buckets off the scoreboard. But Vucevic reminded his teammates just how effortless some games can be if he’s given an opportunity to feast. Remember: You don’t become a two-time All-Star by accident.

  • The scoring column wasn’t the only way Vucevic left his mark, though. He scooped up 13 rebounds (four of which were on the offensive end), 4 assists, and 4 steals to go along with just one turnover. It was truly the kind of dominant, well-rounded, and aggressive performance the Bulls needed after a three-game skid.
  • The question now is whether or not the Bulls have found a new recipe for success. While the size advantage is undoubtedly part of this winning equation, there is probably a case to be made for playing through Vucevic even more often. Not only is he a gifted scorer, but it’s his ability to take advantage of spacing and generate open shots with his connective passing that makes him such a truly versatile offensive threat. Whether it be LaVine in attack mode or DeRozan hunting ISO possessions, this team can sometimes fall into a trap of leaving Vucevic out of the equation.

  • The Bulls looked completely comfortable playing off their big man. Three players finished the night with 6 or more assists and each starter finished inside double figures. Coby White also joined with his own 15 points off the bench in a 6-7 performance. That now makes it three straight games that White has finished with 13 or more points. I’m sure the Bulls’ front office – who has reportedly had their fair share of trade talks revolving around White – is happy to see him surging midway through this season.
  • Chicago’s defense also rose to the occasion. The slow-moving lets we saw over the past handful of games were replaced with active hands and quick feet. The Warriors turned the ball over 23 times to the Bulls’ 10, allowing LaVine and Co. to score 19 points off those TOVs. While the Warriors still shot 49.4 percent from the field, the Bulls still deserve a lot of credit for staying engaged on both ends.
  • Speaking of which, Alex Caruso is just so awesome …

  • We’ll talk more about this big performance against the Warriors over the next couple of days. The Bulls do not play again until Thursday as they get settled for a highly-anticipated Paris game. According to plenty of posts from the team’s social accounts, they boarded the plane after last night’s game with lots of smiles …

  • PLAY DALEN IN PARIS!

  • One big reason I would love to see DeMar DeRozan stick around: He’s one heck of a veteran to have in that locker room.

  • Joakim Noah out there supporting the boys!

  • Happy MLK Day.

  • I’d say so.

  • Works for me!



Author: Elias Schuster

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