Chicago Bulls: Well-rounded effort downs Wizards

Chicago Bulls Wendell Carter Jr. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls Wendell Carter Jr. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Six Chicago Bulls players scored in double digits to defeat the Washington Wizards 101-92. It was the Bulls 10th win of the season.

The Chicago Bulls continued their solid stretch of play on the road in their victory over the Washington Wizards, notching their second win in three games away from home.

Every Bulls starter, as well as Robin Lopez, notched at least 10 points in the outing.

Zach LaVine led the way for the Bulls with 24 points on twelve shots. Lauri Markkanen had 14 points and 14 rebounds on spotty shooting while Wendell Carter Jr. added 17 points and 13 rebounds in the win.

Chicago had another relatively solid defensive outing on Friday, a recurring development in the Jim Boylen era. And while the Wizard were without two-thirds of their Big Three in John Wall and Otto Porter Jr, the continued effort of the Bulls on defense is a breath of fresh air.

Carter in particular has benefitted from the energy on defense, although he still gets put into positions to take bad fouls when his teammates don’t rotate. When engaged, he flashes a lot of what makes him special, like this massive block he had in the first:

Carter’s ability to cover space both laterally and vertically bodes well for Chicago efforts to try and turn him into their defensive big man of the future

The benching of Jabari Parker might also have something to do with the Bulls improvement defense. Despite Bobby Portis’ injury sidelining him for the game, Parker didn’t log any time on Friday. He has received four DNPs in the past seven games due to a coach’s decision.

Parker has been the worst defender on the Bulls’ roster this season. In some part due to ability and in large part due to effort, he is a massive weak spot in Chicago’s already-terrible defense, and his absence is noticeable.

One place where the Bulls could probably use Parker, however, is on offense. Last night’s game was a reminder that, even in victories, this team is still a slow, clunking machine on that end of the floor in a league of teams finding new ways to modernize themselves at every turn.

Markkanen continues to be the biggest victim of Boylen’s emphasis on running down the shot clock. The offense forced Markkanen into multiple end-of-the-clock looks, a recurring theme of the new system. It’s part of the reason Markkanen’s percentages have languished so far in his return.

Boylen has been adamant that the offensive system will come, and that he is focused on getting Chicago to play defense for the time being. Still, it’s hard to ignore the potential offensive growth being stunted for players like Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Carter. Each have struggled this year in their own ways, but the new offense seems to only be exasperating these issues.

Chicago has now won four of their last 10 games and Friday’s victory drops the Bulls to fourth in the NBA lottery standings. The Cleveland Cavaliers (8-28, 2-8 in their last 10 games), New York Knicks (9-27, 1-9), and Phoenix Suns (9-27, 5-5) all hold worse records than the Bulls.

Next. Potential trade packages for Jabari Parker. dark

Chicago will travel North to play Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors this Sunday.