But, with the emergence of Ayo Dosunmu taking a second-year leap, the future looks bright. Still, this team has lacked the defensive intensity that Ball brought, and they’ll have to continue working through that.
Speaking of defense, the Bulls were down throughout the entirety of their matchup with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. Finally, towards the end of the third quarter, Chicago started to come alive. The Bulls outscored the Nets by three in the third quarter, but saved their best for last.
The story, so far, has been starting slow, picking it up and not being able to close it out. Billy Donovan’s crew changed that narrative Tuesday night, in large part due to a clutch performance by Zach LaVine.
Zach LaVine is polarizing in terms of his superstar capabilities, but the Chicago Bulls saw him come alive in this game against Brooklyn.
LaVine was given the bag this offseason — but what other choice did the Bulls have? Did everyone think he was worth that contract? Of course not — and the truth is, he wasn’t worth it. But, in today’s league, there was no other option.
Many times over, LaVine has proven he cannot be “the guy” for the Bulls. We have seen flashes, and he’s been a very good player in Chicago. Yet, he has not become the superstar he needs to be if the Bulls are going to truly compete for a championship.
In the fourth quarter Tuesday night, though, LaVine completely took over. Through three quarters, LaVine had just nine points and looked utterly deflated. He looked like, once again, a guy who wasn’t capable of taking over a game when the Bulls needed someone.
But then, something dazzling happened.
LaVine went off for 20 fourth quarter points.
The Bulls pulled away thanks to LaVine’s explosion in the final quarter and won the game by a score of 108-99.
LaVine was able to overshadow a strong performance by Kevin Durant, who ended with 32 himself.
This was an encouraging performance from LaVine, who we’ve seen do this from time to time. But, the question has always been, when will it get to the point where we see this more often? Will it ever happen?
LaVine’s days as an above-the-rim guy might be behind him due to all of his knee trouble, therefore it might be time for him to focus solely on being the scorer the Bulls need. As he did in this one, LaVine is capable of taking over the ball game. But, the consistency has yet to show up behind that characteristic.
For now, we can savor the victory and know that LaVine does have that ‘dog’ in him. Hopefully, we see it let loose more often down the line.