Friday’s night overtime loss to the Pacers at United Center was one of the more entertaining Bulls games I can remember this season. Certainly the best TV of the Jim Boylen era. Indiana All-Star Victor Oladipo is tough, and outdueled the 3 Musketeers in red. He hit big shot after big shot, including a bank 3 with .03 seconds in overtime. LaVine hit a jaw-dropping corner 3 that would’ve tied it moments later, but the release was ruled late. Lauri Markkanen drained a long 3 with a hand in his face just before the Dipo shot to necessitate the Ola-deep-one. Kris Dunn was all things to all people, dishing out a career-high 17 assists, throwing down a monster OT dunk over Myles Turner and nailing a tough 3 down the stretch in regulation as the Bulls raced back to force overtime. LaVine was spectacular, hitting 2 last-minute threes himself, including the game-tier. Zach Attack brought the fire early on Friday night, with 17 first quarter points. He ended with 31. Lauri had 27 and KD 16. Wendell Carter added 15.
The key to the enjoyment of this Bulls games and what I hope is a few months of games like this…was the new lineup and a looser Jim Boylen. John Paxson and Doug Collins apparently talked to Jim about letting the offense open up a little bit. It did. The trade of the overplayed Justin Holiday has completely revamped the flow of the offense – at least for one game. In situations where Holiday would’ve launched a runner or a long ball, new starting 3-man Chandler Hutchison kept the ball moving. The ball found the scorers – Lauri and Zach. They each shot the ball more than 20 times. Key stat. Great trade.
I loved watching this game. Neil & Stacey loved calling this game. 18-thousand fans loved attending this game. I can only imagine Bulls players loved playing in this game, despite the loss. This could be Bulls basketball from now on…please?