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Bulls vs. Hawks final score: Chicago cruises to 111-93 victory in preseason finale behind Coby White, Zach LaVine

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now the real games start

Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Bulls head coach Jim Boylen wanted to treat this preseason finale against the Hawks like a dress rehearsal for the regular season, and he ran normal rotations for the first three quarters. After a sluggish start, the Bulls found their groove as the game went along and hammered a Hawks squad that played last night in New York, 111-93.

Zach LaVine finished off a ridiculous preseason with another scorching-hot performance, going for 23 points in 25 minutes on 8-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 from 3-point land. For all the hubbub about him taking mid-range shots, he took just one 2-pointer from outside the paint (barely), which he made. He finishes the preseason shooting 59.2% from the field and 56.0% from 3, with 46.2% of his shots coming from beyond the arc.

While LaVine was incredible again, Coby White stole the show in the second half as the Bulls blew the game wide open. White poured in a game-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 6-of-8 on 3-pointers. The rookie buried several heat-check treys in the second half to really get the crowd going. Sure, he didn’t record a single assist and barely passed the ball (this is a theme), but it’s hard to complain when a guy is making everything and is a plus-33 on the night. He’s obviously a work in progress, but he’s a whole helluva lot of fun.

While White’s long-range shooting was the most notable part of his night, he also threw down a massive dunk in transition:

This play started thanks to some strong defense, and the Bulls’ second unit really brought it defensively to help create some separation in the first half. Kris Dunn may have been awful offensively again (0 points on 0-of-4 shooting), but he was a menace defensively, racking up three steals and numerous other deflections. Dunn hounded Trae Young after Young gave him the business last season, so clearly the Bulls guard took it personal. If Dunn can bring that type of defensive effort every night, he can make an impact in this bench role despite his offensive struggles. The 1-2 punch of White and Dunn off the bench could be dynamic with the different skill sets they bring to the table.

Wendell Carter Jr. also got some minutes at center with the second unit (Dunn-White-Arch/Porter-Young-Carter) after looking slow and bad to begin the game with the starters. Carter tweaked his left thumb earlier Thursday and is kind of a mess offensively right now, especially when he’s not dunking the ball, but he found his legs on the defensive end in his second stint. He blocked three shots in 22 minutes.

The Bulls also got 15 points from Otto Porter Jr. and 11 from Luke Kornet, who caught fire in the second half after an ugly start:

The Bulls got up 46 triples for the game, continuing their preseason trend. While they “only” made 15 of those, the fact they got up that many was a good sign, especially considering they were mostly quality looks. The Bulls did a nice job generating good shots from beyond the arc, rather than just jacking up garbage.

If there’s one disappointment from this game, it was Lauri Markkanen. While he crashed the glass hard and snared 11 rebounds, he had a bad offensive night, scoring just four points on 2-of-8 shooting while missing all six of his 3-point attempts. Poor jump-shooting nights will happen, but it would be nice to see him a bit more involved offensively and not just floating behind the 3-point line, which we saw too much of in these preseason games.

Still, it’s hard not to feel pretty good about where the Bulls are at heading into next Wednesday’s opener against the Hornets. LaVine looks primed for an All-Star season, and the improved depth on the roster has been noticeable. Even White looks like he may be ready to contribute faster than expected. If the health can hold up (knock on wood), this should be an entertaining season of Bulls Basketball.

Speaking of entertaining, I will leave you with newly minted starting point guard Tomas Satoransky nutmegging a defender for an assist: