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Bulls vs. Hawks recap: preseason ends on a high note as backcourt looks phenomenal

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fun Bulls!

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

The Bulls ended their preseason on a high note, flying past the Atlanta Hawks 111-93 Thursday night. In a game that featured a little bit of a slow start, the Bulls got into their groove offensively and cruised the rest of the way.

And how about Chicago’s renewed offense? Jim Boylen and Chris Fleming are going to make me and a lot of other folks eat some crow this season. For a second consecutive game, the Bulls lofted 40+ threes (46), although they only converted on 32.6% of them. This is the modern offense we thought we’d see under Fred Hoiberg. Nice to see it finally come to fruition.

Zach LaVine scored the team’s first 10 points on his way to another high scoring, high efficient night finishing with 23 points on only 8 of 11 shooting. This is a trend that has persisted through the preseason; LaVine is putting put the same numbers as he did last season, but on greater efficiency and in less minutes. If this can continue throughout the regular season? Jesus, watch out.

Here are other takeaways from Thursday night’s preseason finale:

Coby White / Kris Dunn = offense / defense

These two had really great performances Thursday night, but each on different ends of the floor. Kris Dunn’s presence was felt immediately in the first quarter hounding Atlanta point guard Trae Young. His defense disrupted the Hawks offense multiple times during his time on the floor, specifically in the first half. While he finished with zero points, he contributed five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Based on what it appears his role is going to be this year, that’s what you want from him.

As for Mr. White, whew boy. This kid just gets better with every game, doesn’t he? Many thought it’d take a while before he settled into the NBA, but he may be way ahead of everyone’s expectations. On defense, his effort is great and offensively he’s consistently pushing the pace off makes or misses and stays within himself in the half court. White finished Thursday with a whopping 29 points on 10-14 shooting, including 6-8 from three, and zero(!) turnovers.

What this brings me to is that these two could be a nice ying and yang situation for the Bulls second unit. A combo-guard unit that can hound point guards on one end and the other being a ball of fire on the other.

Wendell Carter, Jr. and Lauri Markkanen’s offense where art thou?

Wendell percolated a little bit in his second game back, but through his two games and Lauri Markkanen’s five, their offense has left much to be desired. For Carter Jr., outside of his poster dunk Thursday night, his finishing and touch around the rim hasn’t been great. And we’ve yet to see him embrace his range from deep. As for Lauri, many have noted throughout preseason his lack of aggression on offense, with a tendency to be a floor spacer on the wings.

Even though the Bulls offense has operated extremely well to this point, Boylen and his o-coordinator Fleming, will need to get these two more involved for them to accomplish their goal of reaching the playoffs.

Good vibes heading into the season

The Bulls are team of guys that look like they genuinely enjoy each other. Multiple times during the broadcast, the camera caught the guys on the bench laughing and playing around. During the fourth quarter when the Bulls went on a huge run that included White and Luke Kornet heat checks the entire bench was damn near on the floor cheering.

Chicago begins their season next Wednesday in Charlotte at 6pm CST. This feels like it could be a really fun year for the Bulls.