The Chicago Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating the Magic 118-92 on Saturday night. Aside from the first quarter, which ended deadlocked 31-31, the Magic were never in this game. The Bulls scored 30 and 34 points in the second and third quarters, respectively, as the Magic put up 12 and 21 in those same frames. As the team continues to deal with injuries, the Bulls’ role players stepped up to get their revenge on the Magic, who took Chicago down 123-119 on Friday night.
For the Bulls, Zach LaVine led the way with 39 points. After scoring 42 points last night, Nikola Vucevic was kept in check and led the Magic with only 17 points.
Chicago had dropped two games in a row leading into Saturday’s matchup. They lost those contests in frustrating fashion, too. The Bulls lost by four to both the Knicks and the Magic in two very winnable games. After snapping a three-game losing streak on Monday by beating the Knicks, it seemed like the Bulls might be on their way to another one. Lauri Markkanen exited Friday’s matchup against the Magic with a shoulder sprain. Furthermore, the Bulls were already down big men Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. Chicago needed a big game from LaVine and the rest of the Bulls to make up for it.
Zach LaVine Bounces Back
Zach LaVine has had some up and down performances so far this season. He put up 26 points last night, but the effort and efficiency were not inspiring. It was the same story Wednesday against the Knicks as he posted 24 in similar circumstances.
Tonight, LaVine put up 39 points in only 33 minutes while shooting 16/25 from the field and 5/6 from deep. He attacked the rim more often, drawing five free throw attempts. That frequency is not where it should be for a player of LaVine’s caliber, but it is a start. Throw in the fact that LaVine only had two turnovers, continuing his trend of taking better care of the ball, and this was a promising overall performance.
Will The Real Coby White Please Stand Up
Coby White had another inconsistent night, continuing an unsettling trend. The young guard is still learning the NBA game, but his first half was abysmal as he put up no points. Then, he caught fire for a spell in the third. Overall, he finished with 13 points, seven boards, and three assists on 5/12 shooting and 2/6 from three.
It’s evident White’s struggles have caught head coach Billy Donovan’s attention. Veteran Tomáš Satoranský equaled Coby White’s minutes tonight at 27 apiece, and it was Satoranský sparking the Bulls and showing the play the Bulls have been missing at point guard. Satoranský put up nine points, five rebounds, and six assists on 3/5 shooting and 2/2 from three. Keep an eye on the minutes for these two players. You may see Satoranský’s time going up as White’s minutes continue to drop.
Patrick Williams Getting Aggressive
Patrick Williams had a career-high 20 points Friday night against the Magic. He followed it up with 16 points and ten rebounds, posting a double-double on 7/13 shooting. Williams is getting more aggressive and looking for his offensive opportunities more, which is a needed adjustment for the Bulls.
Role Players Playing Roles
No Lauri, no WCJ, no OPJ, no problem. The Bulls got great games from other role players. Denzel Valentine entered the starting lineup and recorded 20 points and a +/- of +24. As previously alluded to, Satoranský had 9-5-6 and led the offense incredibly well. Thaddeus Young posted 11-3-4, Ryan Arcidiacono didn’t even shoot, but he bothered Terrence Ross, who was getting hot, to no end. Throw in the monster two points, one rebound, and two assists by Cristiano Felício, and the Magic didn’t stand a chance.
State of the Bulls and What’s On Tap Next
The Bulls now sit at 9-13 as they prepare to take on the Washington Wizards at home on Monday, February 8th at 7:00 CST. We will still have to see if Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. might be available, but the Bulls have the opportunity to take advantage of a dysfunctional Wizards team to try to claw closer to .500. As always, tune in to the Bulls On Tap podcast for further postgame analysis.