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Lauri Markkanen shines with 21 points in 2019 Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend

fun dunks!

NBA: All Star-Rising Stars Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With Zach LaVine opting against participating in the Slam Dunk Contest, Lauri Markkanen was the only Bulls representation in Charlotte for All-Star Weekend. (Unless you want to count Michael Reinsdorf!) While Markkanen’s Team World lost 161-144 to MVP Kyle Kuzma and Team USA, the Bulls big man enjoyed a nice showing with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting to go along with six rebounds in 22 minutes.

These games obviously feature little to no defense, so big numbers aren’t all that impressive, but it was still nice to see Markkanen perform well in a game loaded with outstanding young talent. The Finnisher (he wore shoes with this nickname on them) had several big dunks, including an alley-oop from Luka Doncic and a windmill on a fast break:

Here are Markkanen’s full highlights:

Markkanen has been outstanding for the Bulls of late as the offense has opened up with Otto Porter Jr. in the fold, and those good vibes carried over to this weekend in Charlotte. Before the game, he had some fun interacting with fellow Euros Dirk Nowitzki (the coach of Team World) and Luka Doncic, even using a Simpson GIF to make a mutiny joke:

The Bulls may be having a terrible season, but Markkanen is a beacon of light for the franchise. Perhaps we’ll see him in the actual All-Star Game next season in Chicago. Here’s the logo:

Get excited.