It sure is obvious the Chicago Bulls were raring to get back from their short hiatus. After having a week off due to postponements and dealing with several players in the health and safety protocol (still ongoing), the Bulls have come back to win their first two.
Sunday night, they beat the Los Angeles Lakers and Monday night, they finished off the Houston Rockets in a back-to-back.
If you remember, the Bulls actually lost to these Rockets last month. That game is what kickstarted Houston’s 7-game winning streak, in fact. So, the Bulls had some business to finish in this one.
Monday night, the Bulls were still without a handful of players, including Zach LaVine and Ayo Dosunmu. But, that didn’t matter. They were firing on all cylinders. Chicago ended up winning 133-118 and making some statements along the way.
In their win over Houston, the Chicago Bulls accomplished a few key feats.
The Bulls’ 133 points were tied for a season-high. Their 73 points in the first half were the most they have scored all season long.
But, most impressively, the Bulls’ bench poured in 66 points — a season-high. The bench points were especially key for a team that’s been down so many players recently.
An unlikely star off the bench was Alfonzo McKinnie, who scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. McKinnie has been a feel-good story this year and is enjoying his dream come true, playing for his hometown team.
The rarely-used Tyler Cook also scored 11 points, making 7-of-8 free throws.
Guard Coby White came off the bench scorching, as he finished with a season-high 24 points.
Maybe the best stat to come out of this game has to do with starting point guard Lonzo Ball, who is amidst a stellar season — by far his best as a pro.
To be in a league of his own is admirable. Ball is not just having a great season, he’s having a season in which no other point guard has had in NBA history.
His defense has been contagious this year, as many times he is the catalyst for the entire group in that area. Ball consistently takes the ball away and gets in the way of passes. But, the fact that he’s also blocking shots on a regular basis — as a point guard — is even more impressive.
This game wasn’t just an easy win over a bad team. It was, first and foremost, a necessary win that the Bulls had to have after losing earlier in the season. But, it was a statement win. This was a game in which the Bulls reminded the league what they are capable of, even at less than full strength.
Head coach Billy Donovan continues his masterful job this season and should be well on his way to many NBA Coach of the Year votes.