Bulls management is now likely feeling pretty good heading into the all-star break (whether they should is a different question), as the Bulls earned their 2nd win in the Otto Porter era and now have ended the franchise-worst 11 game home losing streak with a 122-110 win over the Grizzlies Wednesday night.
The Bulls offense continues to look much better than it first did under Jim Boylen, with him allowing (and Porter’s addition helping facilitate) more open play in terms of ballhandling and shot-taking.
And in this one Porter himself was the star, going for a career-high 37 points on an insane 16-20 from the field. In only 34 minutes of action, he also chipped in 10 rebounds and 2 assists.
Porter continues his ridiculous opening stretch with the Bulls. He’s now averaging 22.5 points over his 4 games here, shooting 58% on threes and 64% on twos. This was also only the second game in Porter’s entire career where he took 20 shots, an example of the potential here (because the Bulls have so few good players) to flourish versus being more of a role player in Washington.
Yes this was merely against the Grizzlies, and even their top-10 defense has suffered since their flurry of trade deadline moves including dealing Marc Gasol. But it was still nice to see a game where Porter and the starting lineup dominated. The Bulls started out this game a scorching 12-13 from the field, yet still found themselves at a deficit after their terrible bench checked in, and all of those guys were in lineups with -10 deficits or worse.
But the starters, i.e. the actually important pieces, were very good. Robin Lopez was dominant in his opening stint and finished with a season-high 25 points. Markkanen put up 21 on 14 FGAs, Lavine had a low (for him) 15 points but didn’t take many shots and had 7 assists. Ryan Arcidiacono started for the injured Kris Dunn (another ‘tough kid’ who played through an injury) and had 11 assists.
The Bulls now get to head into the All Star break with positive spirit or whatever, and a couple practices in there as well to further integrate Porter in what’s actually looked like a real NBA offense. If you are the type to ‘worry’ about the Bulls performing well, don’t do so because you proudly don’t understand math, but this whole ‘looking good and winning once in a while’ thing may give John Paxson reason
cover to not pay for a 3rd coach to keep Boylen as head coach.