Are the Bulls back?
The NBA standings may be abberational through the first three weeks (I mean, the Wizards are tied for first place in the East), but the Bulls sure look like they’re for real. Chicago is 8–3 (tied with Washington atop the conference) after posting wins over the Nets on Monday and the Mavericks on Wednesday. And the Bulls aren’t just winning—they’re looking fun as hell doing it.
The Bulls were in control throughout the second half of their win over the Mavs, but the final nail in Dallas’s coffin was this play just past the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
The Mavs got out in transition and Dorian Finney-Smith drove to the hoop, where he was closed off by Nikola Vučević. He tried to find Dwight Powell, who was cutting toward the basket, but Alex Caruso swooped in front and stole the pass. A falling Caruso managed to stop himself and the ball from going out of bounds and tossed the ball to Vucević. At that point, Lonzo Ball saw Zach LaVine all by himself behind the play and called for the ball. Ball then fired a rocket of a baseball pass to LaVine, who provided the exclamation mark with a 360 dunk.
It’s no secret that LaVine can throw down acrobatic dunks like that, but when was the last time Bulls fans saw him do so to cap an impressive sequence of team basketball in a win over a playoff team?
The Bulls went through a massive overhaul this offseason. Only seven players on this year’s team were with Chicago last season and just three of the seven (LaVine, Vučević and Javonte Green) are part of the regular rotation. The retooled squad looks like it has a chance to be the first Bulls team to make the playoffs since 2016; just ask Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.
“All I can say is, the Bulls are back, man,” he told reporters.
Caruso is pumping the brakes a bit, though.
“I think we have a lot of ways to get better. That's probably the most encouraging thing for me,” he said. “Eleven games into the season, I don't think you can say anybody's back, especially for the prestige of the Bulls. They won three championships in a row twice. Being back, that's a big statement.”
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A good song
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