Aggressive Kris Dunn
Kris Dunn was aggressive from the jump, which wasn't all that surprising considering Zach LaVine was on the bench. Dunn finished with 23 points on 9 of 15 shooting, and his four assists were more a product of teammates missing shots than him not distributing. He was an efficient 4 of 6 on midrange shots (and made his only 3-pointer), but it was his eight attempts in the paint that made the biggest mark.
Dunn's aggressiveness isn't something new, and it'll be interesting to see how much of that carries over when LaVine is back in the lineup Tuesday. Dunn's two steals and two blocks were an added bonus, though Nets point guards had their way most of the night. It wasn't a highlight night for any Bulls defender.
Lauri's shot returns...kind of
The box score shows Markkanen shooting 8-for-18 and scoring 19 points, solid numbers considering the recent funk he was in. He went 1-for-3 from beyond the arc, but most of his damage was done inside. That's a fine recipe for a rookie who had gone 3-for-28 from deep in February, but also probably not fair to say his shooting struggles this month are vanished. He again looked comfortable with Bobby Portis when the two were paired together, and any night where Markkanen leads the team in field goal attempts is a good night.
Cam Payne and Cristiano Felicio still look lost
It's unfair to continue harping on Payne, who is clearly shaking off some rust playing in his first real action since April. But he needed a jumper in the final minute to break an 0-for-8 shooting night, and he finished 1-for-10 with two assists in 18 minutes. He was decent against the Timberwolves and had seven assists against the Sixers, but on nights where he's off...boy, is it evident.
As for Felicio, this experiment already looks to be failing. He's played 61 minutes the last two games and has a grand total of six rebounds. To put that in perspective, Cameron Payne had five rebounds in 18 minutes tonight. Noah Vonleh had seven boards in 15 minutes. Felicio also went 2-for-3 from the field, finishing with four points, three rebounds, three fouls and a game-worst -28 rating. He's going to continue getting 30+ minutes a night, and you'll see a direct result of that when the Bulls make a very early selection on draft night in June.
Good for the tank
Yes, Monday's loss was a big one as far as the ping-pong balls in May are concerned. The Bulls are now tied with the Nets in the win column, and they stay 2.5 games back of the Suns and Hawks, both of whom also lost Monday night.
The good news is the Bulls still have two games left against the Nets, a bottom feeder team but one that doesn't own its first-round pick in June so doesn't have much need to tank.
In other draft pick news, the Pelicans won their sixth straight game (beating the aforementioned Suns), so for now it looks like the Bulls won't have a second Lottery pick. Still, that pick shouldn't get much higher than, at worst, 20 or 21. The Bulls will have options wherever New Orleans winds up.
And if you're keeping tabs on Anthony Davis perhaps coming back to Chicago in free agency in a few years, the cost keeps getting higher (duh, he's worth every penny). On Monday, The Brow went for 53 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks. He's been the MVP of the league since DeMarcus Cousins went down with his Achilles injury, and he's the reason the Pelicans could get as high as No. 3 (!!) in the West.