It was a 0 for 4 week for the Chicago Bulls. They suffered an historic blow out loss to the Golden State Warriors, two more losses that came down to the final possession against the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers, and finished the week on a lackluster note with a loss at home to the Houston Rockets…
This week made it painfully obvious how much the Bulls miss their injured teammates. The Klay Thompson Record Breaking 3 Point Extravaganza might not have been possible with Kris Dunn on the court. The Bulls probably wouldn’t have been held to just 7 points in the 3rd quarter by the Rockets if Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, and Denzel Valentine where available. I feel bad for Zach LaVine. His production has dipped this week as teams have been zeroing in on him defensively. They have been double-, sometimes even triple-, teaming him in order to slow his scoring down. The defensive pressure has been effective. LaVine has gone from scoring 30+ points a game to just barely breaking 20 points in his last couple efforts.
As bad as the injury bug has bitten the Bulls, there is still a silver lining to be found, especially over the last week. Wendell Carter Jr. is the MVP of Week 3. His confidence is at an all time high right now. He found his shot in garbage time of the Warriors trouncing, out battled the uber-talented Nikola Jokic in the overtime loss to Denver, and has been a steady force ever since. You can see how much better every aspect of the Bulls game is when Carter is on the court. The energy that he plays with has been contagious. There is a wonderful chemistry brewing between Carter and LaVine on pick-and-roll plays, and his teammates are beginning to believe in his offensive abilities.
Not to be out done, fellow rookie, Chandler Hutchison, has also taken huge strides this week. While he has not been as productive on offense as Carter, Hutch looks like he belongs on an NBA court, something that could not have been said about him even a week ago. He too seems to have found his confidence during the Warriors blow out. His defensive energy is a real positive, his length has been a real hassle for opponents, he has been forcing turnovers and getting fast break buckets, it’s exactly what Hoiball is all about.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 4, 2018
With Kris Dunn out, Zach LaVine has been tasked with being the lead ball handler, a job he is starting to warm to. While he still turns the ball over in bunches, his decision making has been better, and his assists per game are steadily rising. Zach is averaging 3.8 assists per game in this young season, which is a personal best (his previous high mark was during his rookie season when he averaged 3.6 assists a game). With continued focus, and help from teammates returning in the next few weeks, it’s a real possibility that LaVine could get to 4+ assists per game.
The Stat of the Week: 2
The number of games the Bulls held opponents to under 100 points at the end of regulation. The Bulls held the Houston Rockets to 96 points, and the Denver Nuggets to 98 points at the end of regulation in their respective games. Unfortunately, the awful 3rd quarter against Houston in which the Bulls only scored 7 points, and the overtime performance of Nikola Jokic, doomed the Bulls to 2 of their 4 losses on the week. Even so, it’s a welcome improvement on defense and helps balance the 149 points they gave up to Golden State on Monday night. Let’s hope the defense continues to trend in that direction.
The Bulls unveiled their new City Edition uniforms this week. I am a big fan. I think they’re even better than last years City Edition unis, but you can be the judge…
— Lauri Markkanen (@MarkkanenLauri) November 1, 2018
Also, Justin Holiday has changed his hair style and it seems to have improved his play! He is shooting 50% from the field since the hair cut. Maybe Jabari Parker should think about seeing Holiday’s stylist?