After resting his starters against the Indiana Pacers, Jim Boylen decided to play his five best players against the Toronto Raptors. This time around, the Chicago Bulls were the ones who played against their opponents backups. Chicago dominated in the matchup, racing out to a 92-61 after three quarters. The fourth quarter consisted of garbage time as the Bulls finished up their two-game road trip with a 105-91 win.
It was a very distributed offensive attack from Chicago. Four of the five starters scored in double digits and Coby White dropped 18 off the bench. They were okay from the field with an eFG percentage of 51.1 and had 26 assists on 37 made baskets. Like they have been doing all preseason, Chicago took more efficient shots with only six points coming from the mid-range. They did a great job of getting three-pointers up, taking 49 attempts from downtown.
Zach LaVine was Chicago’s main bucket-getter against Toronto. He lead all scorers in the game with 26 points and he added four assists in his 25 minutes of action. LaVine was aggressive all night: attacked the basket with ferocity, running through any open space given to him. The LaVine and Lauri Markkanen and pick and roll combo was effective as it gave Toronto a tough choice: either focus on stopping the drive and give a knock-down shooter like Markkanen too much time, or take away the three and allow LaVine a free path to the basket.
In the clip below, Toronto chose the latter option and paid for it.
Outside of using Markkanen, the Bulls used a variety of off and on-ball screens to free up LaVine.
Here, they used a double screen of Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter Jr. to generate a quality look from deep.
Chicago was able to force the three Raptors defenders to choose whether they were going to step up or sag off. Oshae Brissett, who was guarding LaVine on the play, was the key man on the play and stopped when Carter Jr. rolled right past him. The hesitation in committing to LaVine gave the shooting guard more than enough time to rise up and splash an open shot.
Like we saw at the start of last season, LaVine has been playing out his mind on offense, not forcing and looking in command while taking what the defense gave him.
It’s been a good start to the preseason for the Bulls offense and LaVine is a big part of it.
Coby White shows his range
White had another nice outing after scoring 24 against Indiana, finishing this game with 18 going 4 of 12 from three.
White found himself open in the corners when the ball was swung his way and was confident when releasing the ball.
White shoots a lot better off the catch. His pull-up game is not a strong suit for him, and this game showed some of the different ways the Bulls can set up shots for him. It doesn’t have to be a play/action they run often, but White gives Chicago’s offense some options when he’s on the floor.
This also spells well for his ability to play off the ball with the starting lineup. LaVine doesn’t need another guard who commands a lot of the ball during offensive possessions. If White can keep getting better at getting himself in good positions, he force defenses to be extra weary of his presence on the three-point line. This in turn will open driving lanes for him where he can use his speed to burn past defenders. We have a long season ahead of us but through the first handful of games, Coby White has been fun to watch.