It was another busy week of basketball for the Chicago Bulls. Monday’s loss to the Boston Celtics marked the halfway point of the season. Three games later, the Bulls are 16 – 28 and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Here’s how it all went down…
The Look Back:
Monday kicked off the Bulls week with another rough loss to the Celtics (113 – 101) in Boston. Zach LaVine led the Bulls in scoring with 30 points, and Thaddeus Young had one of his best games of the year, punishing the Celtics in the paint with 17 points of his own. It was the first time all season that Young operated primarily out of the post, and it was a thing of beauty. It really makes you wonder why the Coaching Staff hasn’t been using him there all season.
The Bulls were back in Chicago on Wednesday, defending home court against the Washington Wizards. Washington’s star guard Bradley Beal looked like he belonged on the set of M.A.S.H. with all the bandages and ice packs he had strapped to his body between his minutes on the court. He still managed to put up 23 points for the Wizards, but the night again belonged to Zach LaVine who scored 30 points for the second night in a row, leading the Bulls to a 108 – 99 victory.
Daniel Gafford dislocated his thumb early in Wednesday’s game against the Wizards. He will miss the next 2 to 4 weeks. With Wendell Carter Jr out another 3 to 5 weeks with his high ankle sprain, we can expect to see a lot more of Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felicio in the lineup.
Back to the Look Back:
Friday night, the Bulls lost the first of a back-to-back, in a nationally televised game against the Philadelphia ‘76ers. The Bulls dodged Sixers big man Joel Embiid for the umpteenth time as he was sidelined recovering from hand surgery. Still, the Bulls couldn’t win. Ben Simmons ran roughshod all over Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, the two men with the unenviable task of defending the talented playmaker. Between Simmons 20 points and a fiery 24 point shooting performance from Denzel Valentine clone Furkan Korkmaz, the Sixers easily mopped the floor with Chicago. Final Score: 100 – 89.
In the second game of the back-to-back, the Bulls overcame a near 20 point deficit going into the fourth quarter, to steal a win from the Cleveland Cavaliers, 118 – 116. It was a nice juxtaposition watching Cleveland’s all too familiar 2nd half collapse. Now we know how our opponents feel when the Bulls cough up a lead. How’d the Bulls mount the comeback? Zach LaVine went off, putting the Bulls on his shoulders once again, and willing them to victory. He scored 42 points, grabbed 6 rebounds (which led the team), added 3 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks, and received a small Gatorade bath at the end of the game, courtesy of Thadd Young, for his effort.
Stat of the Week: 14 Games
That’s the number of games Zach LaVine has scored 30 or more points this season. He is now averaging a cool 25 points per game, 13th in the league and just 0.1 away from Russell Westbrook and the 12th spot.
MVP for Week 13: Zach LaVine (6)
Zach LaVine is good. Here are some videos for proof.
The Look Ahead:
It’s another full week of basketball for the Bulls, though fortunately for us all, they are facing several below .500 opponents this week which should give them some chances at victories.
-The Bulls travel north on Monday to square off against the best team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bulls have not played well against the 37 – 6 Bucks, mostly because they have Giannis Antetokounmpo, but also because they have Giannis Antetokounmpo. Did I mention Giannis Antetokounmpo? Maybe Cristiano Felicio will prove to be the Greek Freak’s kryptonite. Probably not though.
-Back at home on Wednesday, the Bulls welcome the 15 – 27 Minnesota Timberwolves to Chicago. Karl-Anthony Towns is the Timberwolf to keep an eye on. With all the injuries to the Bulls bigs, KAT could be poised for a big night. That being said, Zach LaVine loves playing against his former team, and has beaten them several times in recent history. It should be an exciting game, one which could go either way.
-Friday, the 15 – 27 Sacramento Kings are in town. Yet another struggling team the Bulls might be able to take advantage of. The Kings are currently on a 4 game losing streak, but with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, they have a talented roster that matches up well against the Bulls. This should be another exciting game that the Bulls have a chance to win.
-The Bulls finish the week on the road, Saturday, in Cleveland for a rematch with the Cavaliers. After this past weeks dramatic comeback for the Bulls, I’m sure the Cavs will be looking for revenge. Hopefully it won’t take another 40+ point game from LaVine to seal the deal, but if it does I’m here for it.
That about does it for this weekend update. The Bulls have 3 winnable games this week and one they have no business showing up to. I guess you have to play them all though, and like I said, maybe Felicio knows how to shut down Giannis. Until he does, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!