For at least one more game, the Bulls had Bobby Portis and Kris Dunn back in the lineup after extended layoffs due to injury. They were still bad, again booed out of their own building, but at least they’re finally healthy.
Portis and Dunn played 19 and 20 minutes respectively with mostly solid results, although both guys finished the game with a plus-minus of -9.
Dunn stuffed the box score, banking nine points, dishing out a team-high six assists, turning the ball over twice, and picking up four personal fouls. It was a busy 20 minutes off of the bench for the Bulls third-year player.
All three of Dunn’s field goals were right at the basket as he was nice and aggressive all night (also shot and made three free throws; he averaged 2.2 free-throw attempts in 29.3 minutes of playing time last season).
In this highly cerebral play, he notices that Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox (a good defender) has turned his head because he’s worried about an incoming screen from Bulls big man Wendell Carter Jr. So, Dunn uses a quick crossover to blow past Fox for an easy layup.
On paper, the six assists in 20 minutes look impressive. At least four of them though were Dunn dumping the ball off to a teammate who after a few seconds of dribbling the ball around hits a tough bucket in isolation. More just Dunn happened to be the one to pass them the ball so by default he is the one who gets the assist rather than his pass setting up a teammate for a great look they otherwise would not have had.
Regardless, picking apart the quality of an assist is fairly petty. Six Dunn passes led to points on the board for the Bulls and that’s all that matters.
Dunn’s most impressive find of the night was this play.
The Kings double team Dunn off the pick-and-roll because they aren’t too worried about a rolling Cristiano Felicio doing damage at this point. Dunn proceeds to shoot a pass over two defenders to Bulls rookie Chandler Hutchison in the corner. The play shows off Dunn’s athleticism, basketball intuition (for knowing where guys were on the floor), and his vision.
Dunn’s six assists per game average last season proved that he’s a capable passer and the offense ran smoother last season through him than it did through anybody else. The Bulls hope that translates into the new season.
Even if it’s corny at times, Portis’ passionate, multi-effort play is something that the Chicago Bulls really need right now.
Portis got his shots up to the tune of eight field goal attempts in 19 minutes of playing time against the Kings. He also wiped the boards clean, grabbing a tied-for-a-team high eight rebounds including two on the offensive boards.
One game is never enough to judge the effect players have on a team. However, as two of the more vocal, high-energy guys on a sinking Bulls team, Portis and Dunn will play a critical role in setting the tone for how this team competes for the rest of the season.