Lonzo vs. LaVine, DeRozan's scoring punch and MVP's slogan—Chicago Bulls...is it fun again?

2021-12-13 20:08:52 By : Ms. Jocelyn Ren

Lonzo Ball (Lonzo Ball) used a long pass to Zach Lavin (Lonzo Ball) to show off his elite court vision for two hands jam. (0:18)

LONZO BALL went on the court and made a high-altitude pass on the court.

Not long ago, Alex Caruso hit the floor under the basket to secure another steal, providing food for Nikola Vucevic, who was quickly found The Bulls' point guard. The baseball-style pitching found his own mark when the ball hit Zach LaVine. Zach LaVine dribbled twice and dunked 360 degrees in an authoritative manner, because in the Bulls game, the United Center Of 20,910 viewers have been sold out. Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

The Ball-to-LaVine combination has become an almost nightly connection for Chicago; "Chi Slama Jama" color commentator Stacey King called the new era of Chicago Bulls basketball this new era. Ball contributed 10 assists to LaVine in the conversion this season, second only to Devin Booker and Phoenix Suns' Michael Bridges (11 times), becoming the most frequent pass-scoring combination.

"We have a completely different energy in the team," LaVine said in the first week of the season. "We want to play this way.... This is the most exciting time I have ever played since playing basketball."

The Bulls haven't provided a reason for so many years of excitement. In the past four seasons, no team in the NBA has a worse winning percentage (.339) than Chicago. But after a positive offseason, the Bulls made a big splash on the roster of free agents-introducing four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Caruso’s defensive expert, who leads the league in steals per game. And the always cunning ball to pair up with All-Stars Vucevic and LaVine-they have reaped the benefits.

It's so easy @NBCSChicago | @ZachLaVine pic.twitter.com/iO8vjW9KMk

The Bulls started 8-3, the best start since 2012. They are one of the four teams (Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Miami Heat) ranked in the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency this young season, and even their most optimistic predictions are surprising.

This is the first time the Bulls have surpassed 0.500 at any time in a season since March 2017, featuring Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in the short "three alpha" era. This alone brings back the crowded houses that became commonplace after the 1990s. The Bulls ranked first or second in home attendance for each season from 2011 to 2017, and then dropped to 24th in the 2019-20 season (due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Bulls only allow fans to enter the 2020-21 season The last four home games)).

Their new-looking team and wonderful aerial relay brought the fans back to the stage. The Bulls ranked in the top 10 in attendance, and the atmosphere was very jubilant. The audience often sang "MVP" carols for Caruso. The Bulls have not raised the Larry O'Brien trophy since 1998, have not won a playoff series since 2015, and have not participated in the playoffs since 2017.

But the Bulls have re-engaged with a city eager for a winner.

"Growing and maturing in the league, you at some point, or at least I am now-I am willing to do anything to win," LaVine told ESPN. "Obviously, what I did before was not recorded."

Whether Chicago can maintain its early-season success is being tested in mid-November, and it is booming so far. Even the opposing player noticed that "The Bulls are back."

The Bulls played 14 consecutive games against teams in the playoffs or playoffs, and started this difficult game with a score of 4-3. They will face the Warriors (10-1) on Friday (10pm Eastern time, ESPN) and begin a five-game West Coast trip, tied for the longest away game of the season.

The team's supplement is paying off, and perhaps this will help Chicago win the biggest gamble of the summer.

The Bulls' series of measures to improve the team's strength during the offseason prevented them from providing LaVine with room for a long-term contract extension before the start of the season. The 26-year-old LaVine made it clear in the summer that he believed he had exceeded his last contract and "hoped that he would respect" the next contract. With one season left on his $19.5 million contract, LaVine can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and may be the best player on the market.

However, LaVine has often reiterated how much he wants to win during his five-year career with the Bulls. This is the first time Chicago has surrounded him with talents who are ready to do so.

LaVine said: "I think the most important thing is that I will participate in the competition this year and have great fun from it." "In terms of contract, I will let my agent handle it. Obviously, I want to be here. We There is a very good team... But for the moment, I am very happy where I am now and I want to help this team win."

When the Bulls players talked about sharing the court with Ball, a common theme emerged. Obviously, they all had a great time.

"It's like he drank six energy drinks before the game," LaVine said. "For example, how did you pass the ball there?"

"Damn player, talent, IQ," DeRozan said. "It's funny; he makes things easy."

"So far, there really isn't a point guard in my career who can pass the ball to me," Bulls forward Derek Jones said.

Since the Derrick Rose era ended in Chicago in 2016, the Bulls have not succeeded in finding a point guard that can continue to produce. They shuffled in a series of mediocre options, including Rondo, Jerian Grant, Chris Dunn, Cameron Payne-before he broke with the Suns-Thomas Sartoranski and Kobe White , They could make their debut on this trip to the West Coast and missed the beginning of the year due to shoulder surgery during the offseason.

Ball was the second overall pick for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, but the 24-year-old has now played for this team for five seasons. The New Orleans Pelicans asked him to sign and then change-this move is still under NBA investigation due to potential tampering violations-for veterans Satoranski, Garrett Temple and a second-round draft pick right.

The Bulls need a leading guard, and Ball needs a home after becoming the weirdo of the two teams, so maybe this helps explain why Ball and Chicago have been a perfect game so far.

"He is incredible. He is one of the highest IQ people I've worked with," LaVine said. "This guy is the real deal. He influences the game in many different ways. Obviously, people are trying to figure out what you can't do, and you don't appreciate all the good things you do."

Ball's scoring decline (12.6 points per game) and his assists (4.5 per game) are at a career low, but he has been the engine of the Bulls' transitional offense. According to data from ESPN Stats & Information, Chicago averaged 1.41 points per game during the conversion this season, second only to the Philadelphia 76ers and second in the NBA. Ball has 21 assists this season, tied for third in the NBA (his brother Ramelo Ball ranked first for the Charlotte Hornets with 26). According to Second Spectrum tracking data, among the players who brought the ball to the court during the conversion (at least 35 times), Ball ranked eighth in points per possession.

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Caruso told ESPN: "He has finally grown into a player he knows he can be, and he has a lot of confidence in himself." "It can come to a situation where you are embraced and get the green light to play your game, This is what everyone wants.

"He is just a catalyst. I have a saying,'A man is either an energy provider or an energy sucker.' Lonzo is an energetic person. The way he plays, he pushes the rhythm, is very selfless... .. This allows others to enjoy the ball because they have layups on the wing and easy layups."

Bauer likes to show up in the gym after training at night to shoot some more shots. This is a habit he developed when he played with his brothers Ramello and Liangelo many years ago. Those extra shooting training helped Ball improve his accuracy-his three-point shooting percentage has improved in each of his five seasons.

Now LaVine and DeRozan have started to participate in some late night courses with him.

LaVine said: "It's refreshing to see people working here and having the same motivation as you." "The most important thing is to have that kind of friendship. We are all in the gym and we are all working."

DeRozan said after his victory over the Brooklyn Nets on November 8th: “It’s a constant understanding. It’s not just about winning a game. Or losing a game. Understanding this is a long-term one. To become one. For a good team, you must understand that you must work hard every day."

When the Bulls beat the Mavericks 117-107, Lonzo Ball caught fire from a three-pointer.

The Bulls tried to quickly adjust their roster during the March NBA trade deadline, adding Vucevic to push the team into the playoffs, but they ended 12-17 and were not eligible for the playoffs. On September 6, more than two weeks before the start of the training camp, the Bulls arrived in Chicago to train at the Advocate Center. With the encouragement of coach Billy Donovan, the players are eager to start working.

In the offseason, Caruso and DeRozan each took time to meet with LaVine and exercise together. Donovan is LaVine's first Bulls coach for two consecutive seasons. After returning from Tokyo with the US team, he flew to Los Angeles to spend time with LaVine.

Donovan recalled his five-year tenure in Oklahoma City, when the Thunder first combined Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in 2017. After seeing how long it takes these bonds to form, he wants the Bulls to get along with each other as much as possible, play basketball to understand each other's tendencies on the court, and go out to dinner to get to know each other off the court.

Donovan said last week: "These guys are from the situation where they used to be that guy." "I don't know Wauchi's situation in Orlando, I don't know DeMar's situation in San Antonio, but I know we played against Zac last year. The degree of dependence. Now you have to bring in players, not only Vooch and DeMar, but also [a new rotation]. They have to play with each other, get familiar with and have these conversations. I just think it’s more important than anything else to speed up Some.

Wednesday, December 15th, the Lakers vs. Mavericks, 7:30 p.m. Clippers vs. Jazz, 10 p.m.

Friday, December 17th, Celtics Warriors, 7:30 PM, Lakers Timberwolves, 10 PM

"When you put players like this together, you can't expect it to just mesh and gel. It will take a while."

Those pre-season trainings are the reason the Bulls players mentioned that the team has merged so quickly. DeRozan (26.0, sixth) and LaVine (25.9, seventh) are both in the top ten in the league in scoring. They became the Bulls' second pair of teammates to score 20 points in seven consecutive games. This is from Michael Jordan. And Scotty Pippen has never achieved a feat since.

DeRozan ushered in one of the most efficient starts of his career, shooting 48.8% from the field, mixing a few three-pointers (2.4 attempts per game) and hitting a few (34.6%), and still Can get frequent free throw opportunities (7.5 shots per game, fourth in the NBA) to increase his career's second-highest effective field goal percentage (50.9%).

Ball's three-point shooting percentage reached a career high of 44.7%. He and Caruso led the defensive end and entangled the team in the backcourt. They received contributions from high-energy role players such as Jones Jr., Javent Green, and rookie Ayo Dotsum, who was another popular candidate who played high school basketball in Chicago and attended the University of Illinois. At least for now, their efforts have eased the blow of Patrick Williams' loss of the season due to a wrist injury.

The Bulls still have some problems to solve: their depth is still thin, their three-pointers are the least in the league (27.3 per game), and their rebounds are constantly being punished by the team because of their lack of frontcourt. In size, and after they tested positive for COVID-19 and entered the NBA's health and safety protocol on Thursday, he will be without Vucevic for at least 10 days. But these growing pains have been concealed by a team willing to sacrifice for victory.

"In terms of people-DeMar, Wach, Zach-the three All-Star players, they are the three lowest-maintained and most selfless people in the league," Caruso said. "Each game [scoring] 20-25 points, but if this is the right game, the ball can be passed to the open player.

"There is only one common goal. Zach hasn't won much in his career. Wach hasn't won much in his career; he has been to the playoffs a few times. DeMar has had some success. But I think they are all kind and eager to return to playing really good basketball. And you and me and some other people who are pursuing success, we are all moving in the same direction."

LaVine entered his eighth season. This season began with the first round of the Minnesota Timberwolves draft in 2014. He has never participated in the playoffs. He has never experienced a winning season until the Bulls started the season 4-0. He has never been part of a four-game winning streak in his NBA career.

The excitement is back to Chicago, but how far can this take this team?

"You can't be afraid to play these teams because you want to play them later in the season," LaVine said. "It is a challenge to see where you are as a team and how much you can get better. I look forward to playing against these teams. I think this is the mentality you must have."