The Bulls are coming off two straight victories after being embarrassed in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bulls were up by 20+ points against the Thunder and allowed them to come back in the second half and win in overtime. That loss stung from the coaches, to the players, and to the fans. As the Bulls closed that game it almost looked like the old Bulls. Shooting guard Zach LaVine trying to play hero ball and throwing up ill-advised shots. The team completely falling apart defensively. It was a tough game to watch. It left many fans concerned and wondering how head coach Billy Donovan would correct it. Well here we are two games later and it looks like Donovan made the necessary corrections.
After brutally blowing a 22-point lead to OKC, the Bulls have bounced back with consecutive solid close-out victories. They're learning from their mistakes, people.
The Billy Donovan effect is a beautiful thing.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 19, 2021
Not only did the Bulls win both of their last games but they held and maintained leads in both. They didn’t take their foot off the gas and they got the wins they should be getting. If you watched the Bulls during those two games it was easy to notice that something was different. The Bulls offense was producing.
The offense is continuing to score at a high level
Believe it or not, the Bulls currently average the 4th most points per game in the league. As a team, they average 117.4 points per game. The team’s field goal percentage is 47.8% which is in the top 10 in the league. The team’s three-point field goal percentage is 38.5% which is also in the top 10. This team is able to score at a high level this season and they are spreading the wealth a bit better with 25.4 assists per game compared to 23.2 last season. In the early stages of this season, the Bull’s main scorers were guards Coby White and Zach LaVine. As we’ve progressed that has begun to shift and the Bulls aren’t relying on LaVine to take over.
Spreading the wealth on offense
Throughout the Bull’s first 14 games LaVine has lead the team in scoring 10 times. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s been just the Zach LaVine show. There are seven Bulls players who are averaging double-digit scoring per game. While LaVine leads the way he is followed by forward Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, and center Wendell Carter Jr. Just look at the numbers put up by this group in their last win.
Bulls 125, Rockets 120
Bulls are 6-8 after 0-3 start
LaVine 33 points, 7 assists
Markkanen 18 points and huge 3 late off LaVine assist
Bulls 7 players in doubles and 20 3-pointers
Oladipo 32 points, 9 assists
Wood 30 points, 9 rebounds
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 19, 2021
The team had seven players score in double digits and didn’t have to rely on LaVine scoring 40+. LaVine is an elite scorer so he is going to get between 25-35 on any given night. His shot selection is what’s important. As long as he isn’t throwing up ill-advised shots to be the hero for the team he can actually settle into his game. Donovan is giving him that opportunity. It’s clear that Donovan fully believes in him.
"Zach LaVine is an elite, elite scorer."
– Bulls HC Billy Donovan
(Via Bulls FB Live)
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) January 19, 2021
He’s not wrong. LaVine is having the best year of his career thus far. He’s continuing to produce night after night. Even on an off-night shooting, he produced 10 assists. In the Bulls, last two wins White has only averaged 5 PPG and 4 APG. Even with those struggles, the Bulls have pulled through. The bench has been a big part of that.
The Bulls are striving for the best bench in the league
The Bulls bench has big for them this season. A large part of that is due to Donovan keeping his veterans on the bench. Donovan has had forwards Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young along with guard Garrett Temple coming off the bench. Combined these three have played in almost 2,000 games. That experience coming off the bench is huge. Temple knew that they could be a special group and told them before the season began.
Before the first game of the #Bulls' season, Garrett Temple gathered the team's 2nd unit and told them they can be the "best bench in the league" because of their experience and talent.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) January 17, 2021
If you take the five bench players who have played in at least 10 games this season they are averaging 45.8 points per game combined. Chicago’s bench is the 11th best bench in the league. They are slowly but surely getting better each game. In their 117-101 win against the Mavs, the bench scored 61 points. As this unit continues to progress the Bulls offense will only get better. This is a testament to Billy Donovan. He has taken 13 players who were on the team last year and improved their offensive efficiency. He’s running plays and trying to keep them away from hero ball.
The Chicago Bulls Offense: Then (Meh) and Now (Wow)https://t.co/PATkUeWXWi
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) January 11, 2021
A full breakdown of the offensive changes can be seen in that video. Let’s watch as the Bulls continue to build their offense and progress through this season. The team meets up with Charlotte on Friday to try and continue this win streak.