Things aren’t going well at the moment for the Chicago Bulls. They are on a downslide, and find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to even the play-in tournament . There’s reports about locker room discontent to the point of confrontations during halftime amongst the players.
Miami was missing Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and a couple other rotation players. So If there ever was a time for a win, it would be at this very moment and thankfully for the Bulls, that’s exactly what happened.
Despite being down at halftime, Chicago roared back with a strong second half to take down the Miami Heat 113-103. The Bulls outscored their opponents 61-46 in the final two quarters. This was good not just in the standings but for the overall vibe/feeling around the team. It always feels good to win, but especially when comes on the road and it snaps both a losing streak and a couple truly bad performances.
After reports came out today about him not seeing eye to eye with coaching and the franchise direction in general, Zach LaVine responded with an outstanding game. He scored 21 points on an efficient seven of 13 from the field including three shots from downtown. LaVine added seven assists and six rebounds along with being a team high +21. It was an encouraging outing, especially offensively where he looked calm and decisive in what he wanted to do with the basketball. There were rare times where he forced a bad shot. After all of the reporting in the past 12 hours, this was a solid rebuttal by LaVine.
This was one of the rare games where all of the Bulls former All-Stars played well, combining for over 70 points. Nikola Vucevic was Chicago’s leading scorer in this game with a double double of 29 points and 12 rebounds. He hit some big three-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep Miami at bay from making a last gasp run. DeMar DeRozan had 24 points on nine of 15 shooting from the field along with five rebounds and five assists respectively.
Alex Caruso stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, three assists, and six rebounds in 23 minutes. Coby White was the leading scorer off the bench with 14 points including going five of five from the line. All of his makes came from behind the three-point line.
Looking deeper in the rotation, the Bulls were already without Javonte Green again when Derrick Jones Jr. sprained his ankle midway though the third quarter. It meant Andre Drummond saw his first action in a while. Goran Dragic got some more burn off the bench than usual, playing 20 minutes while Ayo Dosunmu only played 5 and half as the last guard in the rotation. Interesting to see that Ayo played so little and the Bulls other young prospect, Patrick Williams, had another poor showing, but it wasn’t relied upon as the stars and veterans had more than enough.
As a team, the Bulls had a great shooting game. They hit 54.1 percent of their attempts from the field and were solid from three-point land, knocking down 13 of their 31 tries. It was a bit of a sloppy game from Chicago’s offense as they committed 16 turnovers but they also shared the ball with 24 assists.
For the Heat individually, Bam Adebayo had 27 points and 12 rebounds while Tyler Herro hit four threes en route to dropping 19. It looked like Duncan Robinson was going to be the latest 3-point shooter who killed the Bulls, but after hitting 4 threes in the first half he went scoreless in the second.
While one victory doesn’t solve all, it does offer some slight relief in what has been a tough and painful past couple of weeks for Bulls basketball. Beating a Heat team without two of their best players isn’t something which shows that Chicago has turned a corner or anything, but it does stop the bleeding. It was an impressive that they were able to turn it on in the second half and put away a team they were better than.
The Bulls will find out quickly if this is any sustainable momentum, as they play the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow in the second game of a back to back.