The Bulls won last night in Sacramento, thanks to a shot of adrenaline from the bench group in the 1st half and balanced scoring led by the presumed 1-2 punch of Zach LaVine (29 points) and Lauri Markkanen (20). It’s the first time this season they’ve both topped 20 in the same game. The launching point for their breakout is spelled out cleverly via quotes reported by KC Johnson:
Is Zach saying he & Lauri took matters into their own hands and ignored the offensive scheme to finally find success through the pick-and-roll? Let’s get Markannen’s take:
“Gotten away from that”??? That highly successful and difficult to defend dual action pick and roll? Where the 2 best offensive weapons are utilized most effectively? The pick-and-roll that worked last year and, now, for the 1st time this year…led to a road win against Buddy Hield and the Kings?
I went to bed wondering what to think about this development. Maybe I’m reading too much into the quotes from Zach & Lauri. Was Boylen really against the LaVine/Markkanen pick-and-roll? Is this a mini-mutiny against the failing offensive scheme?
Suddenly it came to me and I sat up thinking about Jack Nicholson. No, not because the famous fairweather superfan is back sitting courtside at Laker games because they’re good again. I’m thinking about the movie he did with Adam Sandler. “Anger Management came out at the tail end of the Sandman’s hey day. Back when Sandler movies broke box office records and were announced via Super Bowl commercials. I remember the 2003 Super Bowl ad when the world learned Sandler and Jack would be going head-to-head on the big screen that summer. I was pumped for the hilarity.
The movie isn’t Sandler’s best, but it’s not his worst either. But, to my point – in the film, Jack Nicholson plays this radical psychologist with an immersive, risky and devilishly antagonistic treatment plan to force Sandler’s character to defeat his insecurities in regards to public displays of affection, self-confidence and commitment. It works in the end, but not before Sandler is driven to the brink of homicidal hatred towards Nicholson due to the intentional mind games that seem to Sandler all too real and underhanded. In touch with this raw animal emotion, Sandler is able to profess his love for Marisa Tomei and win her back from Nicholson – who, it turns out, was only courting her to push Sandler.
So, now for real, to my point – now that you have the backstory of ‘Anger Management. What if Jim Boylen had this wild idea that the only way to make Zach LaVine emerge as a true superstar was to provoke him into a leadership role? Make Zach so angry via bewilderment at the system that Zach finally said “Fuck it, I’ll do it myself.” So Zach went to Lauri and said follow me, Pip. I’m the coach on the court, and I’ll play defense, too. And suddenly he blossoms into the driving force behind this team. All that athletic talent and natural scoring ability combines with a newfound sense of grit and determination that the greatest possess. The ability to take a team and turn it great, make everyone accountable under your leadership. The way LeBron or Kawhi instantly transform the atmosphere in a locker room.
And Boylen sees his master plan all come to fruition – sits down on the bench and says “Goosfraba”