Arcidiacono. I’ve learned how to spell it without looking it up. Like Buehrle, Hjalmarsson, Ayanbadejo & Grudzielanek before it, the spelling of Arcidiacono is something sportswriters in this town will have to memorize because Ryan is making a name for himself. Tough name for a tough kid. The Philadelphia product plays hard defense and is gaining confidence in his offensive game. Arch (nicknames prevent carpal tunnel syndrome) looked overwhelmed last October in his NBA debut. Kris Dunn was out and Arch clocked 5 minutes of PT against the Raptors and I remember thinking that might be his first and last NBA appearance. For 2017, it was. He bounced back and forth from the G-League to the end of Bulls bench. Then Arch got another chance in January and he looked better. He played a handful of game and contributed. But he was hesitant to shoot. He got even more run in March, when the Bulls went full tank and upped his game another notch. Now, he’s playing like he knows he belongs.
With Kris Dunn injured, Arch is the backup PG and he might stick in that role if he keeps turning in performances like he did Saturday night in Atlanta. Zach LaVine was the star, again, with 27 points on a variety of beautiful, acrobatic drives to the hoop. But Arch’s hustle and playmaking ability seemed to inject energy into a Bulls team that’s been lacking it too often in this young season. He made several key plays during a 2nd half surge that lifted the Bulls to a 97-85 win. Arch totaled 13 points and 7 assists in 31 minutes. He also recorded 2 steals and a blocked shot while making Hawks rookie sensation Trae Young work hard on offense. Young struggled mightily, missing all 6 of his three-point attempts.
Jabari Parker hit a clutch trey and LaVine nailed a big jumper in the final minutes to finish off Atlanta.
Cristiano Felicio played heavy minutes and was fully engaged. Big Cris grabbed 8 boards and made some nice defensive plays.
Wendell Carter Jr. had a double-double with 10 points & 10 rebounds.
Two humorous broadcast moments:
Early in the 2nd quarter, radio analyst Bill Wennington read a promo for a upcoming giveaways, where Bulls fans entering United Center will receive fleece blankets. Play-by-play man Chuck Swirsky laughed because he thought Bill said “free spankings”.
At the beginning of the 3rd quarter, NBC Sports Chicago showed a Oklahoma Sooners side-by-side of Stacey King and Trae Young with their equally impressive college b-ball stats. Stacey cracked that the only one who could stop him from scoring once he reached the NBA was Phil Jackson.