Enhanced Box Score: Bulls 102, Wizards 82 – February 26, 2023
Are the Patrick Beverley Bulls the best defensive team of all time??
It wasn’t the prettiest effort for the Bulls today, but they played really well defensively and fought through a slow start. For the second consecutive game, this team looked like they played with a renewed sense of urgency that we really haven’t seen since last season.
Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic did the heavy lifting offensively early to keep the Bulls afloat. But Coby White exploded in the second half and finished with 17 points to give the Bulls a second unit spark.
The most impressive player of the day, however, was Zach LaVine.
When Patrick Beverley signed with the Bulls, he told LaVine his job was to score. LaVine clearly took that message and ran with it putting up 27 points in another efficient offensive performance. For the second straight game, LaVine shot over 60% from the field and scoring look easy. This is the Zach we’ve been waiting to see since he signed the max extension, let’s hope this one sticks.
I mentioned it earlier in jest, but wow does this defense look good. That’s now back-to-back games holding their opponents to a season-low point total. They had been playing fine since the new year, but the arrival of Patrick Beverley to go alongside Alex Caruso has made this defense DANGEROUS. That’s two games now holding opponents under 90 points.
Beverley and Caruso on the floor together make the Bulls’ defense so dynamic. It takes the pressure off LaVine and DeMar and gives you two of the best and most responsible defensive guards in the NBA on the court at the same time.
The three-point shooting wasn’t great, but similar to the game overall it got better as the game went on. They started off just 1-for-13 from deep, but after that finished 7-for-17. So while 8-for-30 overall good for 26.7% isn’t good enough, the way they turned it on after the slow start was encouraging. This game is a perfect example of how important Coby White playing and shooting well off the bench is.
This game was almost like a bizarro Bulls game. They got off to a slow start, fought their way back in, took a lead into the 2nd Half, added onto it in the 3rd quarter, and buried the Wizards in the 4th. It was like the mirror image of so many Bulls games we’ve seen this year with hot starts and fading down the stretch.
I’m slowly starting to buy back into this team. They still have a long way to go, and they’re still flawed, but the effort, energy, and doing the little things right that we’ve seen in the last two games is something to build on. It will be a big week for the Bulls. Tuesday night it’s another Play-In implications game as they go to Toronto. Then they have matchups with the Pistons, Suns, and Pacers. A 3-1 week is an incredibly reasonable goal and would put the Bulls right back on track.
Check out the full box score here.