Following the Chicago Bulls‘ big 118-117 victory over the New York Knicks, it’s hard to not feel quite a bit better about this team’s future despite their poor 14-18 record. Posting their first three-game win streak of the season, the Bulls are looking better than ever, and it’s all thanks to the ‘Big 3’ of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic.
Whatever locker room dispute happened at halftime in Minnesota seems to have affected this team for the better. Whereas the Bulls were notorious for choking close games earlier this season with a terrible 3-10 record in the clutch, they have now racked up three wins in tightly-contested games against quality teams with genuine playoff aspirations.
Instead of taking turns in isolation and freezing their teammates out, the Bulls’ trio of stars seem to have finally learned how to play together better and get each other involved. They have averaged a combined 74.3 points per game during their winning streak. It’s not difficult to imagine that the wins will keep rolling in if all three continue firing on all cylinders at the same time.
This comes as an ironic twist, considering opposing teams were likely hoping they’d hit the trade block just a few short weeks ago.
The Chicago Bulls are looking far more dangerous with all three of their All-Stars producing at a high level.
Critics have spent a lot of time picking apart the shortcomings of Chicago’s role players in their search for an explanation for the Bulls’ shortcomings. First, the issue was Patrick Williams’ lack of aggressiveness, then it was Ayo Dosunmu and Alex Caruso’s fault shots not falling, and then it was Andre Drummond’s decision-making.
These are not the real issues plaguing the Chicago Bulls. They never were.
The solution to the Bulls’ struggles was in front of our faces all this time. All this team needed was for its three highest-paid players to actually prove their worth. At the same time, in the same game. Instead of playing hot potato with the ball and taking turns having good nights, the Bulls have finally figured out the offense must run through all three players to have sustainable success.
We saw this last night, where Zach LaVine was undoubtedly the MVP of the game. Zach had a team-high 33 points on an excellent 12-for-22 shooting from the field. Come crunch time, however, he didn’t force things as the hot hand. He let DeMar DeRozan (who by no means had a bad game of his own, contributing 25 points) find his spot and do what he needed to do to secure the win.
And the rest, as they say, is history. I just hope this can be our future too.