With Zach LaVine missing his umpteenth straight game compounded by a late scratch of Nikola Vucevic, the Bulls were severely undermanned heading into a back-to-back in Atlanta against the Hawks Saturday night.
They wound up winning the first half 63-54, helped by a wild 6-0 run in the final minute. Patrick Williams had his best offensive output in months with 15 points in that half. It’s enough to make a dumbass sportswriter in all of us wonder: Do Vooch and LaVine impact winning? Have the Bulls formed a 24-minute identity? Is Patrick Williams actually Batman and LaVine is Nightwing and Vuc is, uh, Red Hood? It’s certainly worthy of debate!
But then the second half happened, the Bulls scored 34 points and went 0-10 from three, shooting 3 free throws to the Hawks 14. Atlanta has a lot more talent and it showed up, whereas the Bulls played Ryan Arcidiacono 16 minutes and it’s my policy to fast-forward whenever they’re not being a serious franchise (either for wins or development) and I see the team went +9 in those minutes but ::fart noise::
Even Williams only went 2-5 in the second half to finish with 19 for the game. Here’s some highlights of that relative bright spot.
Williams’s points matched his age, so that’s encouraging. But then you see another game where the other very young talent, Coby White, featured more slumped shoulders than makes. And Lauri Markkanen, with Vuc’s absence, was, well...he’s technically still a young player. And at least they have a lottery pick co...damnit!
After getting outworked in New York, this past weekend saw an opportunity for the Bulls to pick up wins against teams not taking them as seriously. They failed on both nights, this one saw one half where they looked competitive.
The Wizards also wound up losing last night so the standings deficit is still at 3 games behind with 8 games remaining. There’s a day off before Monday’s game at home against the Sixers, I suppose we’ll see the Bulls intentions by how they treat LaVine, and now Vucevic’s, return to action.