Zach Lavine drives to the basket against the Detroit Pistons. Photo By: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA season is under way, and the short-handed Chicago Bulls lost to the Philadelphia 76er’s 127-108 in the first road test of the season.
Of course, we can talk about Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid having their way to impressive performances, the Bulls that were available played better than expected.
With a starting line-up that didn’t have Lauri Markkanen or Kris Dunn, I bet you wouldn’t have thought they could come out in the first quarter and put up 41 points against an elite Eastern Conference team.
Zach Lavine, and Bobby Portis came out smoking, so much that they helped the Bulls as a team hit 13 consecutive shots in the first period.
Sense the end result was a loss, I’m sure you can tell the team couldn’t keep the hot shooting going.
The Bulls would score less than 20 points in the second, and third quarter, due to players getting some extended minutes with Dunn, and Markkanen out, that aren’t consistent enough scorers once Portis, and Lavine left the Floor.
Lavine Scoring 30 points, on 11-19 shooting in the first game, after getting a $78 million contract should have the fans excited about the shooting guard being fully healthy from his ACL injury from two seasons ago.
Bobby Portis finished with a 20 point, and 11 rebound performance, and a good start to his campaign for Sixth-Man of the Year he has been trying to speak in to existence all off-season.
New addition Jabari Parker finished with 15 points in his first game playing for his hometown team, and looking to continue getting familiar with his new teammates.
Antonio Blakeney showed potential, and looks like another scoring option off the bench with his 15 points he put up.
He and Portis will really be able to keep games close once the starters are out, and a key to trying to build a good team is having depth.
Good news is Kris Dunn should be back in the line-up after missing the game for the birth of his child. Dunn’s two-way talents were obviously missing, and the difference in the talent level of him and the other point guards is glaring.
Unfortunately, Lauri Markkanen will be missing a few more weeks with his elbow sprain he suffered during training camp.
Lauri’s presence alone could of made this game closer, as his size, and athleticism was surely missed against the likes of Simmons, and Embiid.
As far as the bad, the Bulls still seem to be a terrible defensive team giving up at least 30 points in each quarter against the 76er’s. I truly don’t see the defense getting any better, as Fred Hoiberg puts more emphasis on offense.
Giving Wendell Carter Jr the start, is the step in the right direction as far changing the defensive mentality of the team, but it was obvious Carter Jr will have to fall in love with weight room before he can really assert himself as a dominant force.
Now if can out score your opponent, you can win every time, but the Bulls are too young to have the offensive fire power to out score elite teams in the Eastern Conference.
Defense will be the key for this team to be coming an upper echelon team.
Expect the Bulls to be able to put 100 points on a lot of teams this year, especially once it’s all hands-on deck again.
It’s going to be stopping the opposing team from scoring 130 points, that’s going to the problem this year.