The Chicago Bulls battled through some tough issues once again to pull off a gritty win.
Tuesday night, the Chicago Bulls began a 4-game road trip by opening up against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers. It’s early in the season, but this would turn into one of those season-defining nights for the young Bulls. It began just about as bad as it could.
The Bulls ended the first quarter down by a score of 39-21. This was the perfect example of a game which last year’s team would have lost. But, that’s not how Billy Donovan rolls. That’s not what this team is about. Donovan has these guys believing and competing.
Asked afterwards whether or not they would have won this type of game last year, Zach LaVine simply said:
This night was different, though. Late in the game, with just about 10 seconds remaining, the Bulls had the ball and an opportunity to put the game away. LaVine took his opportunity.
LaVine struggled from the field in this one, but that didn’t matter. When his team needed him the most, he came up big. That’s what stars do. Even on rough nights, they are still as confident as ever when taking those monumental shots — and LaVine made it happen. He ended the night with 18 points on 6-for-18 shooting, but also added nine assists, four rebounds and a pair of blocks.
This win was an important one, not only because they battled back after a huge early deficit. But, the Bulls were also without starting forward Lauri Markkanen still, who will hopefully return soon. Markkanen suffered a calf contusion a week ago but is also being held out for COVID-related reasons.
Speaking of which, backup guard Tomas Satoransky tested positive, so the Bulls have been without him for a couple of games and will continue to play without him for a little while, until he fulfills protocol.
Still, Donovan’s brilliance shone through. His rotation is coming together and proved once more that they all play significant roles. The Bulls finished with an impressive seven players in double digits, and that includes rookie Patrick Williams who notched his fourth such game of the year.
Otto Porter continued his strong play with 19 points, but more importantly he added in 13 rebounds. Filling in for the absent Markkanen, Porter has played mostly well and continues to be a bright spot for this team.
Meanwhile, the high scorer for this game was Coby White, who ended the night with 21 points but also grabbed 10 boards to cement a double-double. White also dished out five assists.
Not only did the Bulls have seven players score in double figures, but they had four players with four or more assists and four players with eight or more rebounds. Donovan has done a great job with this roster through eight games, with the Bulls sitting at 4-4 and playing well-balanced basketball.
Again, it’s early. But, the Bulls’ depth is really shining right now and could be a major reason they fight for a playoff spot later in the year.