The Chicago Bulls gave a much better effort on Sunday night in their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but they came up short. Zach LaVine scored 33 points, but he made an error on his last basket that he admitted during his post-game presser.
With the game tied at 126 and 16.9 seconds remaining, the Bulls had the ball and the opportunity to take the final shot of regulation. Everyone knew LaVine would have the ball, and he tookt in the center of the floor a few steps inside the half-court line. Kelly Oubre was guarding him tightly and was playing aggressive defense.
Wendell Carter Jr. came over to set a pick and with about 9 seconds remaining, LaVine made his move to the basket. LaVine sunk a short jump shot to give the Bulls a 128-126 lead. Sounds great, right?
Well, the issue was LaVine made his move too quickly and it left the Warriors, who had a timeout, far too much time on the clock. As a result, this happened.
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LaVine Admits His Error
The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry mentioned he’d spoken with the Bulls’ head coach Billy Donovan in his meeting with the media, and the latter said he thought LaVine went a little too quickly on the drive.
You can hear it in the video below. It’s at the 5:43 mark:
When Mayberry mentioned this to LaVine, the Bulls’ star quickly acknowledged and agreed with LaVine’s assessment.
LaVine said that if he could have it back, he’d probably take his shot with around 2 or 3 seconds remaining.
The entire interview is below.
LaVine Had a Mostly Strong Performance
It should be noted, LaVine’s 33 points were big for the team. He turned it on in the second half and also had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. It was a complete game from a statistical standpoint.
He deserves credit for that, but there was some downside besides the quick shot that left too much time for the Warriors.
Other LaVine Issues
While LaVine found his groove a bit on Sunday, his shot selection left a lot to be desired. He fired up multiple, high-difficulty, stepback threes early in the shot clock in the second half.
One, in particular, came in the midst of the Warriors’ run that helped eliminate a 10-point deficit and led to the final result. LaVine went away from the high-screen-and-roll action with Carter that had been the most effective look for the Bulls all night.
LaVine is the kind of potentially dominant one-on-one scorer who you don’t want to shackle too much because his creativity is part of what makes him effective. However, as a veteran, he’s got to refrain from taking difficult shots for no reason.
He’s so quick and has such a good handle, LaVine can get to the basket almost at will unless he’s double-teamed. Quite honestly, he’s so gifted athletically, he can sometimes explode past 2 defenders.
Because of this skill, there are times that LaVine needs to use this as his go-to pitch rather than the pretty, high-difficulty jump shots he settles for too often. He shot 12 threes on Sunday. Had that number been trimmed to 9 with about 4 more drives to the basket, the result of the game might have been different.
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