The Chicago Bulls showed some long-awaited heart and resiliency in tonight’s home game against the Miami Heat, climbing back from down 22-1 to start to a 102-97 victorious finish. Aided by DeMar DeRozan’s 23-point night, Chicago outscored the Heat by 15 in the second half. Halftime deficits have become a common theme for the 2023 Bulls. Last night was a similar scene against Orlando, climbing from a 15-point hole before losing by six. While the rest of the team celebrated the comeback win, one player with a less-than-stellar outing was bothered by something, brushing past a Bulls’ media team member on his way back to the locker room. It’s not a great look for a player who’s recently been the center of trade talks and rumored to want out of Chicago.
Frustrations Boiling Over
This is a terrible look for Zach LaVine. Reports of finger-pointing from his camp have been leaked all week, along with a wish list of teams he’d prefer to get traded to. It was made public that he wants to play under a new head coach and that he’s still frustrated with Donovan’s coaching decisions from over a year ago. The two-time All-Star seems to have hit his breaking point.
Questions will indeed be asked about the meaning behind LaVine’s actions, but initially, it leaves a sour taste from the outside looking in. It could be related to his late-game usage, only scoring or assisting on three of Chicago’s final 13 points, including zero field goal attempts. This followed his two three-point field goals in the previous 90 seconds before DeRozan effectively took over the final stretch for the Bulls.
Finally Fitting In A Role
Whether it’s because of the outside noise or realizing he’s virtually trying out for other clubs, LaVine is quietly putting up some impressive outings lately. In his last four, he’s averaged 21.5 points, 4.3 assists, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks plus steals per game. That’s more assists, rebounds, and blocks plus steals than his averages a season ago, and the well-rounded efforts are earning him time on the court.
Although the scoring numbers aren’t as blistering as they usually are with LaVine, this gritty Bulls roster would prefer the well-rounded version with timely three-point shooting than the pure scorer he’s been in the past. An effort similar to this contributes to winning basketball more so than his 51-point, 4-turnover night with zero assists when Chicago fell short to the Detroit Pistons in October.
Is Zach LaVine good as gone, and what could this behavior from the Bulls’ star mean for his future?