And the beat goes on.
The Chicago Bulls took on the Orlando Magic at home Wednesday night, and promptly blew out their visitors for the second time this season to record their seventh consecutive victory. Quite frankly, the game itself wasn’t even remotely close after the first quarter in what turned out to be a 112-94 win for Chicago. Pretty much every Bull that got more than ten minutes of action played a good game tonight, a credit to the offensive ball movement that saw the team dish a new season-high 31 assists.
Much as it pains me to admit it, Denzel Valentine was arguably the most impressive player on the court tonight for the Bulls. Valentine led the Bulls in scoring with 16 poitns on 6-9 shooting (3-4 from 3-PT range) while also grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing five assists. He additionally led the Bulls in +/- with +24, and completely clowned the Magic in transition with blow bys and no look passes. I sympathize with the Orlando defenders tasked with focusing on passing lanes when they have someone making this face at them:
Kris Dunn played an all-around brilliant game with 15 points on 6-11 shooting alongside seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals. He set the tone for Chicago’s aforementioned passing clinic, as his backcourt counterparts Justin Holiday, Jerian Grant, and David Nwaba would go on to contribute an additional 15 assists between the three of them. Their culumlative efforts were felt by all of the Bulls’ frontcourt, as Nikola Mirotic continued his solid play of late with a 15/10 double-double and Bobby Portis followed suit with 14 points of his own on only nine shots. Lauri Markkanen was the only starter that didn’t have an impressive performance, going 3-10 from the field in 20 minutes and missing all four of his attempts from distance.
Elsewhere, Robin Lopez resumed his habit of contributing heavily early to get the team through a slow offensive start, ultimately finishing with 10 points on 5-11 shooting and seven rebounds. Jerian Grant also dropped a nice 13 points to go along with his six assists, fueling yet another great performance from the Bulls’ bench during this winning streak.
Perhaps most impressive of all in this win was that the Bulls won by so much despite a far less-than-ideal 11-33 team shooting performance from distance. Because Chicago played such an unselfish brand of basketball throughout the night, once they had their tremendous defensive third quarter, the game ultimately went out of reach despite whatever other shortcomings the team had the rest of the way. This team has genuine fun playing with each other and looks ripe with chemistry right now, something that was an unfathomable through as early as three weeks ago.
The Bulls won’t get to hang their hat on this win for long, however, as they will go for their eighth straight victory tomorrow night in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.