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Bulls vs. Hornets highlights: Patrick Williams is doing a little bit more, which makes a lot more difference

also more Goran and Zach worry

NBA: NOV 02 Hornets at Bulls Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Not sure what entirely we can take away from last night’s blowout win over the Hornets. The Hornets, bad already, were not only still without their Ball point guard like the Bulls, but additionally were missing Terry Rozier and Cody Martin. Somewhat competitive in the first half, but then Gordon Hayward was out for the second, and in that latter half Charlotte scored 36 points and had 11 turnovers.

That said, the Bulls were on back-to-back, and maybe if this is the March 2022 version of this team they’d still lose this game? I suppose they just lost to a bad team missing mid players in San Antonio just last weekend, so nothing is, like, assuring.

But there was a lot of good fun stuff to see, even considering that added opponent context:

Patrick Williams, doing stuff

This is now two (2) solid games in a row from Patrick Williams. And I don’t think it’s because Billy Donovan is doing anything different to ‘boost his confidence and get the kid going’. Williams is more just taking the opportunities that were always there, and I suppose playing against bad defenses helps too.

As Mark Karantzoulis relayed on Twitter (gross)

7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal for Williams last night against the Nets.

6 rebounds, 2 blocks for Williams tonight against the Hornets.

The shot-making tonight was the added bonus, but these stats are just as impactful, if not more so.

Dragon magic

Goran Dragic continues to be a godsend, especially in these games where a bench boost is sorely needed. He captains the reserve unit well, pushes the pace knowing he has runners alongside him, and as an unforeseen bonus is shooting an absurd 53.6% on threes this year.

And he’s just always been a fun as hell player to watch, and good to see that he isn’t as washed up as his last season may have suggested.

When can we start to worry about Zach LaVine?

I recognize that last night was the first time LaVine played in both ends of a back-to-back all season, so this is technically progress.

But still it’s very worrisome not that he is doing injury management, but that he needs injury management. He’s injured, that sucks! And something that we were told not to expect after offseason surgery.

Zach was awesome in Tuesday’s win over the Nets, but it was mostly on 3-point shooting (and, again, playing a terrible defense). His drives this season have been ‘yikes’-inducing:

LaVine didn’t get to the line once against the Hornets, his free-throw attempt rate is down from last year overall and his percentage of shots taken from three is the highest of his career. Percentage of shots inside of 10 feet have actually been a tick up, but there’s been nothing from mid-range. Most worrisome is that the make percentage is so poor: from 0-3 feet LaVine is shooting 50% (70% last two seasons, I’m not digging into what it was post-knee-sprain) and from 3-10 feet he’s at 25% (~40% last two seasons).

He can still shoot from distance, of course. And gets the respect of the defense. Despite all those poor drives he had zero turnovers to 6 assists, including this one off of another bad-looking sequence.