The Bulls wound up taking care of business against an overmatched opponent at home, as what was a late-and-close affair turned into a comfortable win after a 13-1 run in the final minutes.
The Pistons have the worst record in basketball, without Cade Cunningham may have the worst roster in basketball, and were missing a couple key players due to suspension, in so much where you could call any of them key. So it’s a bit concerning that they hung around for so much of this game, even tying it at 110 with five and a half minutes to play.
But the Bulls have way more talent and it showed in those final minutes. Zach LaVine scored or assisted on multiple plays down the stretch, capping off a 43 point night that started with a scintillating 18 point first quarter.
Up up and AWAY— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) December 31, 2022
Zach LaVine ends the quarter with a spectacular alley-oop dunk pic.twitter.com/jCfpTvyKza
LaVine wound up going 5-9 from three, but more encouraging has been seeing him return to proficiency in finishing at the rim. If that is back for good, it is one of the few clear signs that this team is improving.
As a team Chicago shot 12/27 (44.4%) from distance, but that was less than their opponent per usual. The Pistons were kind of pulling makes out of their asses, so I don’t fault the Bulls defense too much for Alec Burks going 4-4 or Rodney McGruder going 3-5.
The Bulls aren’t very good, so nothing is ever too comfortable. They gave up more offensive rebounds, and some poor transition defense even off of made field goals.
But credit to LaVine and the other starters for shutting the door emphatically on a team they indeed should’ve taken care of handily (and eventually did).
It's a 40-piece for Zach LaVine pic.twitter.com/MjTf6BRGk7— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) December 31, 2022
Bulls have now won 5 of 6, but it doesn’t feel like things are much better, just the ebb and flow of an NBA winter. The schedule is unrelenting, and they play in less than 24 hours against the Cavaliers.