It’s no secret that the Chicago Bulls haven’t lived up to expectations this season. But over the past week and half, the team has been playing solid basketball.
For example, on Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls defeated a red-hot Brooklyn Nets team by a 121-112 margin. It is worth noting that the Nets had reeled off 11 straight wins coming into that match-up.
And on Friday night, the Bulls defeated a Philadelphia 76ers team that had won 11 straight games at home. Not only that, but this marked Chicago’s first victory against Philadelphia since March 2019 — a span of nearly four years.
The catalyst in the Bulls’ recent win was none other than Zach LaVine. After scoring a combined 39 points against the Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, LaVine exploded for 41 points, and he entered rare air in the process.
LaVine shot an efficient 14-for-19 from the field, including 11-for-13 from 3-point range. It was the second-highest total in franchise history. The highest total was also set by LaVine back in November of 2019. In that contest, he recorded 13 made 3-pointers for the Bulls.
Additionally, LaVine became just the second player in NBA history to make 11 three-point field goals in a game while shooting 80 percent from beyond the arc. As a surprise to no one, the other player is Golden State Warriors’ sharp-shooter Stephen Curry.
With LaVine making just about every shot he put up, it created opportunities for his teammates to contribute as well.
“He got hot, we couldn’t find him, we started trapping him and everybody else got easy opportunities because he was making shots,” 76ers point guard James Harden said, via CBS Sports. ”Just one of those games.”
Thanks to a pair of victories over a pair of teams who have two of the five best win-loss records in the conference, the Bulls have climbed into the ninth spot in the playoff race on the heels of notching seven wins in their last 10 outings.
But merely sneaking into the playoff was not the goal for the Chicago Bulls coming into the season. And if they want to continue to climb the standings, they will need to play with this level of intensity on a nightly basis, something they haven’t been able to do all season.