The Chicago Bulls rebounded from an ugly overtime loss at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday with a strong road performance and a 117-101 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon.
Zach LaVine took to Instagram to address his teammates after the much-needed victory.
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LaVine After Wins
It’s customary for LaVine to post on Instagram after wins.
He did something similar after his spectacular performance on January 6 on the road led Chicago to the win over Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. LaVine didn’t have a huge scoring output in that win, but he did sink this cold-blooded three-pointer to put the game away.
The post from Sunday was just a little different because it came after a game that saw LaVine have his worst scoring night of the season. He finished with just 10 points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field and 8-for-8 on the free-throw line.
On most nights, that sort of performance from LaVine would spell doom for the Bulls. However, thanks to a huge contribution from the bench, and Lauri Markkanen who had 29 points, Chicago staved off a triple-double from Luka Doncic and still came away with the double-digit win.
Even with LaVine and Coby White struggling (0 points in 25 minutes) Chicago still played one of its best games of the season.
The Win Was Good for Chicago Overall
LaVine’s body language had gone a bit south after close losses to the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the heartbreaker to the Thunder.
He hit an all-time low in this department after the Thunder game when he was visibly frustrated during the game and after while meeting with the media. However, LaVine deserves credit. He seemed invigorated on Sunday against the Mavericks. Despite struggling to find his shooting eye, he never let it get to him visibly on the court.
He facilitated the strong performances many of his teammates enjoyed with a team-high 10 assists. He made good decisions with the ball and limited turnovers. He had just 2 in 31 minutes of action. I’ll take a 5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio on any night from the best players in the NBA.
Perhaps even more important, LaVine took on the primary assignment to guard Doncic in the second half. Doncic torched Bulls rookie Patrick Williams in the first half with 30 points on his way to the triple-double, but with LaVine guarding him on a bulk of possessions in the second half–along with veteran Garrett Temple–the Mavs’ star finished with 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists.
That was obviously still an impressive stat line, but thanks to LaVine’s defense, the Bulls were able to curtail a bit of his momentum.
While Chicago can’t expect to win on a regular basis with a combined 10 points from LaVine and White, it was good for the team to find success without the backcourt dominating the scoring. Perhaps, it’ll encourage LaVine and White to trust their teammates more down the stretch, which has been the biggest criticism against the duo so far this season.
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