The Chicago Bulls came into Wednesday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers with a brand new starting lineup. The Bulls won 104-89 having their biggest lead be 25 points while giving fans hope and excitement for the upcoming season.
Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis, and Wendell Carter. Coach Hoiberg knew changes were inevitable after their past two games of horrendous defense and dysfunctional offense. This lineup left the big free agent signing, Jabari Parker, on the bench. Parker’s last two games he shot a combined 4-23 and literally played zero defense.
Changes had to be made.
Right from the start we noticed their presence.
The interior defense was tremendously better, while Carter and Portis’ switches on the pick-and-roll were excellent alongside with getting out and contesting mid-range shots. The defense as a whole was flawless with everyone contributing. Playing with a ton of energy and intensity.
Zach showed us that he has improved his defense significantly.
Now for the fun part: the Bulls offense was electrifying. They just looked like a totally different team out there. Three starters scored 20+ (LaVine, Holiday, Portis).
Hoiball is in full affect!
Kris Dunn looked like a floor general as he commanded the offense with much confidence while letting the game come to him. He finished with just nine points and seven assist, but this was the most complete game I’ve seen Dunn play. He was vocal on the offensive and defensive side and just looked like a veteran out there tonight.
Zach LaVine And Bobby Portis were the exciting stars. LaVine continues his great preseason play by proving to us that he is worth the four year $80 million dollar deal.
Don’t worry Bulls fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief he’s going to be great. He finished with 22 points on 6-14 shooting, while shooting 2-5 on three point shots.
A specific play I noticed happened in the third quarter with 3:53 remaining. LaVine drove into the lane turning a heavily contested layup into a seemingly good layup attempt. He missed the shot then gathered his rebound and scored over two defenders. The result was a timeout by the Pacers.
He was angry and disgusted at himself for missing the initial attempt. And that right there was a big sign to me. I love how LaVine is never satisfied and is always trying to improve.
And then guess what, the next time the Bulls were on offense he demanded the ball and found his way into the lane finishing with an emphatic dunk that got the crowd jumping.
Bobby Portis continues to be the heart of this young team scoring 20 points and collecting 6 boards. His three point shot is looking nice as he hit 3 out of 5 from behind the arc. He has a knack for scoring the ball and playing physical, both offensively and defensively.
It will be intresting to see if the Bulls continue to use this unique lineup going forward.
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