This season we have seen tremendous growth from Kris Dunn in terms of his offensive production and his aggressiveness. He’s taken a lot of possessions to do it which has put a hit on his season-long efficiency, but Friday night in Dallas was a fantastic performance: scoring a career high 32 points on 12 of 17 shooting along with dishing out 9 assists. He even was efficient from three-point land as well, knocking down 4 of them. Like said in the recap, this was Dunn’s best game of his career, served as one of the real the real leaders for the Bulls in this game, and came against a much-hyped rookie in Dennis Smith Jr..
Kris Dunn went off tonight against the Mavs! #32 finished the night with a career-high 32pts and added 9ast, 2reb and 4stl. pic.twitter.com/mRRo3hJndd— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 6, 2018
(0:00-0:11) This sequence is initiated by a dribble weave at the top of the three-point line. This is a concept which Chicago uses a lot and has a lot of variations of it. In this one, they use Dunn’s athleticism as a way to get an easy basket at the rim.
The play starts out with the dribble handoff between Denzel Valentine and Dunn in which the former gives it to the latter, who ends up handing it back off. Dunn initially starts near the baseline but gets a screen from Lauri Markkanen while going to the three-point line, allowing for an easy catch and handoff. After giving up the ball, Dunn takes two steps and then begins to curl towards the basket. His man in Smith Jr. is staying back behind the three-point, knowing Dunn still has a long way to go in establishing a consistent jump shot from there and isn’t much of a threat. So when Dunn sprints towards the paint, Smith looks to be in good position but as soon as he turns, he’s met by a screener in Robin Lopez. With Lopez’s man Maximilian Kleber stepping up in response to the screen, a clear path to the basket opens with nobody close enough to contest. Then seeing Dunn is wide open, Valentine throws a lob pass towards the basket and in the direction of the guard. Dunn does a good job of going up, catching the ball, and laying it in as he was going down.
(2:01-2:10) Dunn also displayed his ability to beat defenders off the dribble and score. He begins this possession by dribbling at the top of the three-point line and is guarded by J.J. Barea. As soon as Barea backpedals to the top of the key, he is screened by Bobby Portis. But Dunn doesn’t take it initially. He fakes going right and steps back, which gets Barea to jump up, then decides to use the screen. By Barea going up, he is at a worse angle to contest and he seems to forget a screen was there. So with Dunn going to his right again, Barea follows him but runs into Portis for a second time. The screen catches Barea off guard and leaves in a position where he can't contest on a jump shot by Dunn. So with the space between him and his man, Dunn is able to get off a solid mid-range jumper, which he swishes.
Dunn also added 4 steals, capping off an impressive all around performance from the second year guard. He still has a lot to improve on in terms of his offensive game and what his ceiling is but against the Mavericks, he showed how explosive he can be.
Niko Mirotic has a horrible final minute of the game
With the Bulls up big with less than a minute to go, victory was in sight until Nikola Mirotic made some boneheaded mistakes to let Dallas back in the game. One being a misplaced pass off the inbound which led to a dunk and another being a lane violation on a free throw.
The mistakes by the big man were all part of a chaotic final minute which led to some nervous moments at the end, including a three-point try by Yogi Ferrell which nearly went in.