Bulls Insider

How LaVine impacted win vs. Mavericks without typical scoring

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Bulls Insider

Zach LaVine has said it repeatedly: He doesn't care if he doesn't score as long as the Bulls win.

Sunday offered proof.

On a day he sank just one field goal, LaVine still impacted the Bulls' 117-101 victory over the Mavericks in Dallas, posting his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 assists and even contributing three steals.

"He didn't force anything, really played the right way," coach Billy Donovan said.

LaVine, who entered the game ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring at 28.3 points per game, missed seven of eight shots and all five 3-point attempts. His output snapped a personal-best streak of four straight 30-point games.

Yet his strong all-around game and an offensive performance in which multiple players contributed left him in a joking mood afterward. It stood in stark contrast to his despondent state following the Bulls' Friday night collapse in Oklahoma City.

When the Bulls and Mavericks played at the United Center on Jan. 3, LaVine torched Dallas' defense to the tune of 21 first-quarter points -- en route to 39 for the game -- in another victory. Given how aggressively the Mavericks began trying to trap LaVine in that game, Donovan figured LaVine might be the center of defensive attention at the start.

LaVine's eight shots marked his season-low, and by a lot. His previous stood at 13.

"He got downhill, found his teammates," Donovan said. "If Zach can keep evolving like that, that’s only going to help our team and make us better."

 

The Bulls placed six players in double figures and posted their third game with 30 or more assists this season. This more than made up for LaVine's quiet night, not to mention Coby White missing all five attempts and failing to score.

"Thad (Young) mentioned it to the guys after the game. He said, ‘Coby and Zach, you guys didn’t score but you played the game the right way that really enhanced and helped us win,'" Donovan said. "Listen, those guys are players that require a lot of attention. So it opens up things for other people. And when they can play like that, it’s just going to help us.”