After a 128-112 win over New Orleans, the Chicago Bulls are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2016.
The last time the Bulls were in this position, Fred Hoiberg was still the head coach and Jimmy Butler was their best player. Although it’s only been five seasons, it feels like a lifetime ago with all of the changes taking place during that time.
After outlasting a gritty Detroit team 94-88 in the season opener, over 20,000 fans welcomed the Bulls to the United Center for game two. With a lot of excitement in the building, the Bulls didn’t disappoint dominating the Pelicans start to finish.
Zach LaVine Is Elite
Unlike the game against the Pistons, Chicago’s offense got going pretty early. Despite Zach LaVine going scoreless through the first quarter, he went for 30 plus points in his second consecutive game.
Lavine finished the Bulls’ home opener on Friday with 32 points, six assists, and five rebounds.
Much like last year, the efficiency is arguably most impressive thing about his game. Through two games, LaVine has shot 22/36 (61%) from the field, 7/14 (50%) from three, and 15/16 (94%) from the line. Yes, it’s only been two games but LaVine has proven to be efficient in his play prior.
The difference now for LaVine is that for the first time in his career he has real help. Let’s not forgot the best team LaVine has played on (record-wise) was the 2020-2021 Bulls who finished 31-41. Which brings no surprise to his comments following the win over the Pelicans.
“This is the most excited I’ve been playing basketball and I’m having a lot of fun out there.”
There’s no doubting the energy inside the United Center during Friday’s game was much different than recent years.
The Bulls Found Their Point Guard
Bulls fans have been eager to watch Ball play with Chicago ever since the rumors came up during last year’s trade deadline. Now with it finally coming to fruition, Ball did not disappoint in front of the home crowd.
Lonzo posted a triple-double in his first game against his former team. Coming off a four-year agreement with Chicago this summer, Ball finished Friday night with 17 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. What makes that even more impressive is that he did all that with zero turnovers.
From the very jump Ball was aggressive, driving and finishing through contact to score the game’s first basket. Not only did he do a near perfect job while orchestrating the offense but he also got after it on the defensive end too. Using his size and athleticism to his advantage, Ball was incredibly active in passing lanes on his way to three steals on the night.
Ever since Derrick Rose and the Bulls parted ways in 2016, the Bulls have been in need of a point guard. It seems like they finally have found their guy. That’s not to say Lonzo Ball is or will ever be what Rose was in Chicago, he’s by far the best at the position since Rose left.
A Lot To Be Excited About
Again, I know it’s only two games but everything just seems different with this team. Not just the talent level, but the chemistry was very on point for a team playing just their second game together Friday night.
The Bulls finally feel like they’re out of a rebuilding stage and will be a legit contender in the East this year if healthy. The best thing is, this team has the potential to keep getting better the next few years if they’re able to extend LaVine this summer.
There’s obviously a lot left to be answered with the Bulls but after just two games there isn’t a much better start Chicago could ask for. Despite the offense being shaky in game one, the defense carried them to a win. A defense who many questioned coming into the season.
Luckily, Chicago’s schedule is not overly taxing in the early going which should give them time to work out the kinks.