The Bulls won a close game.
That statement isn’t uttered often by those that are a part of the organization. Nonetheless, it was against one of the league’s best teams, the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite superstar Kawhi Leanard sitting out due to “load management” the Clippers still came in loaded. A lot went right on a night that was expected by many to be a blowout.
This game comes off the heels of the Bulls worst offensive performance of the season against the Charlotte Hornets. They only managed to score 73 points in the game. Yah you read that correctly. THE game.
The Bulls came to play and more importantly, the heavily criticized coach Jim Boylen didn’t look out of place. After recent backing from team president Jon Paxson, it was nice to see a marked improvement in a coach that will be here for the foreseeable future.
Playing the Right Guys
One of the criticisms of Boylen is that his lineups and rotations have hurt the team as a whole. Lineups that include Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacano and Coby White in a three-guard lineup that gives up a lot on the offensive end. The lineup would often come at the expense of playing some of the better players on the roster i.e Tomas Satoransky.
Those questioning his capability as an NBA coach have been more than vocal but for a moment on Saturday night, there was a glimmer of hope. All of the players with the best plus-minus playing for the Bulls played the most minutes on the team. All players that were at least a +10 in the box score, played no lower than 36 minutes in the game.
Players Stepped Up
Even with the Clippers missing players, they were still the better team on paper. The Bulls players stepped up and made plays. Zach Lavine put on a show with his 31 points that included the game-winner with two seconds left. Lauri Markkanen didn’t have massive scoring numbers but he was a beast on the boards. He finished with 17 total rebounds on the game.
Other role players that had been somewhat lost in the Jim Boylen mix stepped up as well. Denzel Valentine was able to pour in a huge 16 points and provided a much-needed presence from the perimeter that’s been missing during the absence of Otto Porter Jr. Thaddeus Young tacked on 17 points as well.
Not much has been going right for this team this season but this game highlighted just how competent they can be. It just takes a little bit from everyone on the team.