The Bulls welcomed back home fans for the first time in a long time, and put on a performance worth the wait in a 128-112 domination over the visiting Pelicans.
This was a game the Bulls surged out to an early lead after some ugly early shooting by both squads, and never really were threatened by the Pelicans. There was a brief point in the 3rd quarter where an over-20 point lead got trimmed to 10, but by the 4th it was up near a 30-point advantage and while Zach LaVine really didn’t need to come back in it was pretty cool that he did.
LaVine led the Bulls again with another sparkling shooting performance: 32 points on 19 shots, and while his first game showed a lot of points at the free throw line this one had him scorching from beyond the arc, going 6-9 from distance in his typical effortless style.
LaVine was huge again when his team needed it, which in this game was around the 2nd quarter after the Pelicans finally stopped tripping over themselves and made things at least a bit harder on Chicago. To start the game it was a Pelicans turnover-fest with 6 cough-ups (and several long misses) in the opening period and the Bulls looking as good as we’ve come to expect when it came to running at every opportunity. When the Pels settled down a little bit (credit to the Bulls defense too for that early disruption) it looked like they may indeed make a game of it but LaVine shooting this way makes the Bulls a very difficult squad to come back against.
He wasn’t mostly alone like last game. DeMar DeRozan did what he came to Chicago for in captaining LaVine-less lineups and getting to the line, going 8-9 from there to finish with 26 points.
And Lonzo Ball wound up with a triple-double after a 10 pt, 4 assist fourth quarter, what I wouldn’t necessarily call garbage time but it certainly was piling-on time. The Pelicans were scoring a lot too but the Bulls were up big feeling confident, and rightfully so.
The Bulls role players all had solid contributions, with Javonte Green and Alize Johnson rebounding from their dud road debut in Detroit to provide solid activity and productivity in this one. They, and Alex Caruso, are just the kind of bench players who when they do good things, they’re the kind of good things that get home crowds going bananas, which was the case in this sparkling return to Chicago’s home arena.
The Pelicans meanwhile just did not get much from their role players, with former Bulls Garrett Temple and Tomas Satoransky combining in 17 minutes to shoot 1-6 for three points. Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas got their buckets, and Devonte Graham bounced back after a horrible start to make six threes, but it should be noted that New Orleans’ starting unit took a big dump to start the game, setting an early tone for a very fun Bulls rout.
Minutes were kept relatively low and they were pretty stress-averse ones in the second half, which bodes well for a game in under 24 hours as the Bulls welcome the Pistons.