The Chicago Bulls got in the win column Wednesday night by defeating the Charlotte Hornets 112-110 in what will go down in history as the Cameron Payne game.
Zach LaVine continued balling and putting up Jordan numbers as he scored 32 points, and had 30 or more for the fourth straight game. 10 of those came in the in the fourth quarter and he made big plays down the stretch.
The Bulls entered the fourth quarter allowing the Hornets to go on a 9-0 run. This was familiar, we’ve already seen the Bulls crumble countless times this season.
That wasn’t the case tonight.
The Bulls actually pulled through. They came up with major defensive stops down the line and fed their closer, Zach LaVine, the ball to close it out.
LaVine missed the potential game winner with six seconds left which left us Bulls fans in a familiar place as we expected the Hornets to convert and end the game.
LaVine wasn’t having it.
He forced a turnover on the inbound pass and then hit two clutch free throws (one was accidental) to seal the deal.
It’s Cam Payne time.
Payne struggled to get anything to fall in the first half, he forced low percentage shots, and had trouble getting to his spots. In the second half we saw a different look, he played more of an off-guard role while LaVine mostly played point.
This resulted in Payne finding openings and hitting a career-high seven three pointers. He finished the game with 21 points on 7-11 from downtown.
I hope to see Fred Hoiberg use Payne like this in the future and let LaVine handle the ball.
Now, what stuck out to me the most this game was the defense in the 2nd quarter and how well the offense flowed with Ryan Arcidiacono commanding it.
What I noticed with Felicio was on pick and rolls he was able to come up and double the ball handler while also being quick enough to get back in the paint and cover the center before an entry pass was made. Those are things Lopez simply wasn’t doing.
Give this man Chandler Hutchison some minutes!
He’s proven in a small sample that he deserves time in this rotation. He was the spark that uplifted the Bulls in the second quarter. He had eight points on 4-5 shooting and threw down a violent dunk off a Arcidiacono dish. Also, he gave Batum some trouble while covering him. He’s a versatile position-less player that can contribute in many ways. Hutchison is something special and has earned the trust of his coach.
Jabari Parker continued to be active finishing with 11 points 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He seems to have accepted his role. He was in late in the fourth, finishing with the group that defended so well.
Someone who wasn’t in to finish the game was Bobby Portis who had a freak injury. At this time we are still unaware of the injury but the internal concern is that he’ll miss extended time. Jabari now has to take a bigger role.
It was nice to finally see the Bulls get in the win column and I expect to see LaVine’s record setting start continue.
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