The Chicago Bulls blew a 20-point lead on Friday night and lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 127-125 in overtime. Take a look at this tweet from ESPN Stats and Info to get a gauge on how big of a collapse the Bulls suffered against the Thunder.
It was easily the worst loss of the season for the Bulls and one that didn’t leave the team’s best player Zach LaVine in the best of moods.
During his post-game meeting with the media, the clearly frustrated LaVine answered nearly every question in a huff and made it known how unacceptable the team’s collapse was on the road against a team the Bulls should have beaten.
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LaVine Not Interested in Semantics
The Bulls began the game playing as well as they have all season. They defended well, closed out to shooters, and contested in the paint. Offensively, the ball was being moved well and everyone seemed to be getting good shots. This quality play had Chicago up 68-50 at the half.
Through the rest of the game, they were outscored 77-57.
Head coach Billy Donovan was asked what changed from the beginning of the game to the point where the collapses began in both the third and fourth quarters. He talked about shot selection, decision making and knowing how to finish games.
LaVine was asked about Donovan’s comments, specifically a mention of “home-run shots and iso-ball,” and a clearly miffed LaVine said: “folded, home-run shots, whatever you wanna call It. We lost the game.”
LaVine also said all he can do is be accountable for himself. Here is a look at LaVine’s entire meeting with the media:
Turnovers and Poor Decisions
As usual, the Bulls sunk their own ship with turnovers and bad decisions down the stretch. Chief among them is the team’s backcourt LaVine and Coby White.
LaVine and White combined for 57 points but also generated 10 of the team’s 24 turnovers in the game. It’s easy to look at the scoring numbers from these two and to assume they did their jobs, but in watching this game and all of the others this season, many of the problems are caused by the sometimes-dynamic duo’s decisions.
White had multiple ill-advised drives to the basket where he was out of control, and seemingly satisfied with flipping up low-percentage shots on the glass while being heavily contested. LaVine is one of the league’s premier shot makers. He’s fourth in the NBA in scoring averaging 28.3 points per game, but there are moments when he leaves you wondering what he was thinking.
On Friday, he attempted to complete a long bounce pass through three defenders. The pass was stolen but LaVine was spared what would have been his team-leading 7th turnover after Lauri Markkanen was called for an offensive foul. What’s a little more troubling is increasingly bad body language on the floor from LaVine and even in the post-game pressers.
At one point, it appeared he and White were bickering after the aforementioned pass. Donovan seemed frustrated and more openly critical of his team on Friday too. Frustrations are high and the positive results are few. We’ll see if something changes or if changes are made.
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