It was a winning week for the Chicago Bulls! It started with an 112-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers last Sunday. Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points and Kris Dunn added 17 with 7 assists. Wednesday saw the return of the TimberBulls to Chicago. Derrick Rose dropped 24 points on his hometown and Minnesota beat the Bulls handily, 119-94. There was a silver lining in the beat down, Zach LaVine returned from his ankle sprain much earlier than I think anyone expected. He came off the bench and managed to score 28 points against his former team.
Friday marked the first time that the “core” players, Markkanen, LaVine, Dunn, and Wendell Carter Jr, got a chance to start a game together, and it went fairly well. The Bulls beat the struggling Washington Wizards 101-92. They brought a balanced attack against the Wizards led by Zach LaVine’s 24 points. Wendell Carter Jr played very well, putting up 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks. The rookie center is finding some much needed confidence and chemistry with Kris Dunn. The sight of Dunn lobbing the ball to Carter for dunks is becoming a familiar and welcome one. Kris Dunn scored 13 points and had 8 assists in the game against Washington. Lauri Markkanen was solid on the boards, grabbing 14 rebounds and scoring 14 points. While his scoring was down, it wasn’t from a lack of shot attempts. Lauri was 5 of 15 from the field, and led the team in shot attempts.
The balanced victory in Washington is very encouraging. It shows that the core players can work well together, covering each others weaknesses with their strengths, and finding the ever elusive chemistry that makes a team successful. We’ll have to see if they can keep up this level of cooperation against stronger opponents, but it’s a reassuring first step.
MVP of the Week: Kris Dunn (2)
While Dunn didn’t really have any standout performances this week, he was pretty consistent in his production, especially assists. Since his return from injury, he has done a good job keeping everyone involved on the offensive end of the court. He is averaging 6 assists per game against 2.4 turnovers this season, and he was better than his average this week with games of 7 and 1 (Cleveland), 7 and 2 (Minnesota), 8 and 1 (Washington). These are the kinds of numbers Dunn will have to produce if the Bulls are going to continue winning games. I think he can do it!
Chasing Dickey Simpkins (The Bulls top players in Win Share for 2018-19):
Simpkins – 2.9 Win Share (‘98-’99, the worst Top Win Share in Bulls history)
1. Ryan Arcidiacono – 1.8
2. Wendell Carter Jr – 1.6
3. Justin Holiday – 1.5
4. Zach LaVine – 1.0
Last week, I promised an Eastern Conference Power Ranking but Christmas celebrations kind of got in the way of me making that happen. So, this Wednesday I’ll put together the first power ranking of the New Year. Speaking of which, Happy New Year! Thanks for continuing to read my posts, here’s to another year of Bulls fandom! Cheers and Go Bulls!