Lauri Markkanen hypnotizes in first half against Cleveland

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 21: Lauri Markkanen
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 21: Lauri Markkanen /

The Chicago Bulls traveled to Quicken Loans Arena to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, and Lauri Markkanen put on a show in the first half.

Lauri, Lauri, Lauri, can’t you see, the way you splash 3s just hypnotizes me.

In the first half of Tuesday’s game against the Cavs, Lauri Bird (shoutout to Mariano) made 5-of-6 3s. He played a huge role in the Bulls jumping out to an early lead on Cleveland, as well as putting up 38 points in the first quarter.

Markkanen was certainly the player to watch for Chicago and flashed that tantalizing potential for all to see.

His first two made shots from behind the arc look nearly identical, with him popping to the top of the key and Robin Lopez, ever diligent, setting solid screens on Kevin Love to free Lauri.

Those were great looks, ones he has to cash in, and by all means it looks like he’s going to keep on raining from downtown when left open. He punctuated this nice Paul Zipser drive and kick to the corner with a 3-pointer that didn’t even touch the net until it was nearly through the hoop.

But his fifth, and final 3-pointer of the half was the one that stuck out to me the most.

This is a, “I’m in a rhythm, I don’t care who is guarding me or how close they are, I’m firing it up” 3, aka a J.R. Smith 3-pointer. LeBron is there, in decent position, and gets a hand up to contest Lauri’s shot but it might as well be a guiding arrow for our friend from Finland.

I love Markkanen’s quick release and decisiveness in putting up shots. If there’s one thing the Bulls don’t need more of (caveat: there’s a lot of things they don’t need more of) it’s another big that loves to pump fake out on the arc.

Lauri Markkanen was silent in the second half

However, he disappeared in the second half, only scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds. However, that basket was spectacular in its simultaneous ugliness and display of strength, something not associated with Lauri.

A lot of Lauri’s disappearing act can be attributed to Fred Hoiberg inexplicably waiting until the 6:15 mark of the fourth quarter to re-insert him into the game, after subbing him out at the 4:57 mark in the third.

One weakness of his game that was on display was his inability to do much in the post. He had Kyle Korver on a switch and wasn’t able to get any type of position, and couldn’t get Love to budge when he attempted to back him down.

As Markkanen bulks up you’d expect this aspect of his game to improve to at least a respectable level, and couldn’t possibly overshadow his first half flamethrower routine.

The other thing that needs to improve: Stacey King’s nickname for the man. The King of the North is just lame, and we all know Stacey can do better than that.