Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine rising to star status after scorching hot streak

On the night of Jan. 10, Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine continued his quest to prove his All-Star status with a career night against the Clippers.

The close losses have kept mounting for the Chicago Bulls of late. They wound up losing three of their four games on the west coast road trip last week. And all three of those losses came in the last three games. In their last game, first-year head coach Billy Donovan and the Bulls fell just short of the Los Angeles Clippers on the road on the afternoon/evening of Jan. 10, by the final score of 130-127.

The other two losses to round out the west coast road trip for Donovan and the Bulls came at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings. At least the Bulls kept very close with the Clippers and Lakers, losing those two games by a combined margin of just five points.

After the loss to the Clippers out of the weekend, the Bulls are sliding down the Eastern Conference standings, sporting a record of 4-7. At least the Bulls are remaining competitive in these games against better opponents on their schedule, especially on the road. That is something that the Bulls didn’t do over the course of the previous three years of the rebuild under former head coaches Jim Boylen and Fred Hoiberg.

Moreover, what is also encouraging for the Bulls is the play of late from standout shooting guard Zach LaVine. The Bulls are getting some seriously impressive offensive production from LaVine of late. He’s on fire, and is proving that this could be the first season where he should get an All-Star nod.

In the loss to the Clippers, LaVine registered a whopping season and game-high 45 points, to go along with seven rebounds, seven assists, five turnovers, no blocks, and no steals. He shot an efficient 15-of-26 from the field, 10-of-16 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.

The last three games, and four of the last five, saw LaVine register at least 32 points while shooting better than 55 percent from the field. And in that same span of games, LaVine had registered at least five rebounds and five assists.

LaVine has started in all 11 games he’s played in with the Bulls so far this season, averaging more than 35 minutes per game. And he’s averaged a solid 27.7 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.6 blocks. LaVine shot 49.1 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 88.7 percent from the free-throw line.

With the way that LaVine played for the Bulls of late, they are remaining more competitive against some of the best teams in the NBA. And he is making his own case as a contender to be both an All-NBA Team selection and get an All-Star nod for the first time in his career to date.

The per game stats and overall efficiency from LaVine so far this season is actually elevated by a good margin compared to how he performed last year. All things considered, that is really impressive since he had a career year during the 2019-20 campaign.

What Bulls fans want to see from here on out is the supporting cast for LaVine to remain healthy and productive. LaVine obviously isn’t going to go off for 45+ points every single game. But if he can give the Bulls around 25-30 points, in an efficient manner with his shot selection and in managing turnovers, then this should be more than enough to get the Bulls in playoff contention this season.

LaVine and the Bulls will hope to break their three-game losing streak in their next outing, on the road on Jan. 15 against Donovan’s former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bulls and Thunder are set to tip off at 7 p.m. CT on Jan. 15 in OKC.