Bulls

Wendell Carter starts it, Zach LaVine finishes it as Bulls earn second straight road win

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USA TODAY

Wendell Carter starts it, Zach LaVine finishes it as Bulls earn second straight road win

The Bulls earned a second straight road win Friday night in Washington, D.C., beating a John Wall-less Wizards team 101-92. They needed a strong second half to get it done, and did so by shooting 61 percent after halftime and knocking down seven triples and managing just one in the first 24 minutes. Here are four observations from the victory as the Bulls move to 10-26, two full games better than the 8-27 Cavaliers.

1. Wendell Carter Jr. breaks out (for Jim Boylen)

He was much more effective in the first half but Friday was still a monster performance from Wendell Carter Jr. He finished the victory with 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots in 33 minutes, the most he had played since Fred Hoiberg's last game as head coach.

He double-doubled in Jim Boylen's head-coaching debut, but he hasn't had much of an impact since the coaching change. Entering Friday, Carter was averaging 8.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 11 just 22.2 minutes. He nearly reached those marks in the first quarter alone against the Wizards, tallying 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks while playing all 12 minutes.

Carter was virtually unstoppable rolling to the basket, and Kris Dunn (game-high 8 assists) did an excellent job finding him. All but three of Carter's 10 field-goal attempts came in the restricted area, where he was a perfect 7-for-7. It was great seeing him knock down a 21-footer in the second half, but it's clear he's most comfortable and confident around the basket. He can add to his offensive game later; for now he should be rolling, rolling and rolling some more.

If nothing else, those rolls collapsed the Wizards defense that gave the Bulls some better perimeter looks in the second half. He'll have a much stiffer test against the Raptors defense on Sunday, but this was a great sign. The Bulls needed to get Carter rolling after some uninspiring play the last few weeks.

2. The second half was all Zach LaVine's

It's safe to say Zach LaVine has knocked off the rust from missing five games with an ankle injury. Jim Boylen said LaVine would be limited to 30 minutes, and that's all he needed to tally 24 points on 7 of 12 shooting and three triples. The best part? LaVine went to the free throw line eight times. That was the most attempts he had taken since Nov. 24 in a road loss to the Timberwolves.

After 28 points on Wednesday and 24 more tonight, it's safe to say LaVine is going to be just fine with Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen in the lineup with him. He had the ball in his hands much more in the second half, which took Dunn out of the offense for large stretches, but it resulted in a victory. It's tough to argue with a 19-point second half from LaVine, regardless of how it affected everyone else. He took over when he needed to and got the job done against a hapless, injury-riddled Wizards team.

3. Robin Lopez was...actually pretty good

We highly doubt Robin Lopez has any sort of trade value, but he's doing the Bulls some favors with his play of late. Yes, he went 3-for-13 in Wednesday's loss to the Timberwolves, but as bad as he was two days ago he was that impressive Friday, tallying 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks off the bench in 15 minutes.

It's the third time in four games he's reached double figures, and he now has a block in 10 straight games (to put that in context, Wendell Carter Jr. has three games without a block in that same span). We won't write too much about it, but at the very least Lopez will have teams keeping an eye on him as the trade deadline and buyout deadline near. It'd be a shock if the Bulls got anything of value for him, but it was nice to see him string together a positive outing again.

Of note on the trade front, we'll add here that Justin Holiday found a little rhythm. He made a pair of 3-pointers and added three more steals in 38 minutes. Jim Boylen is showing no signs of slowing his minutes down.

4. Jabari Parker remains nowhere to be seen

The $20 million man couldn't get into a 20-point victory in Cleveland or a 25-point blowout loss on Wednesday. And even when the Bulls were playing some of their worst offensive basketball of the year...Parker remained on the bench.

Not that this was unexpected, but (*pure speculation alert*) Parker may have played his last minutes with the Bulls. Blowout wins, blowout losses, stagnant-as-all-hell offense, and yet no sign of Parker. All with Bobby Portis out, too.

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 8. That's really all you need to know here.

 

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

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USA TODAY

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

After much discussion over whether or not the NBA should impose harsher penalties on teams for breaking the anti-tampering rules, an official decision has been made. The NBA Board of Governors passed a much more strict set of rules that will force teams to be compliant with the anti-tampering rules.

Among the new measures, the league will be selecting five teams per year that will undergo a "random audit", the maximum amount for a fine related to tampering has been raised to $10 million and team officials are required to save communications with agents for one full year.

The league will also retain the right to take the communication devices of owners if it is deemed necessary in investigations, though it has been stated that it is not something that Adam Silver wants to rely on moving forward. 

Though concrete details have not been released, possible punishments for tampering will reportedly include taking away draft picks, the voiding of contracts and more.

This is all in an attempt to create a more "even playing field" amid the belief that small-market teams are at a disadvantage when it comes to player movement. The new rules sound great but there is already fear among NBA GMs when it comes to how their privacy will be affected with this being a clear area of focus for the league. 

Along with the new, harsher tampering penalties, the league also announced that they have changed the language regarding traveling calls to "address the uncertainty around traveling." Another new rule announced was that teams are now required to announce their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes, in an effort to "increase transparency for teams, media and fans." Teams will still be allowed to change their lineups up to the last minute if a player gets hurt in pregame warmups. 

All of the new anti-tampering rules approved by the league on Friday were a response to this wild NBA offseason we just experienced. There were many deals agreed to right at the start of free agency, such as the Bulls with Thaddeus Young, and the timing of those deals had many owners wanting the league to make tampering a greater focus. To a greater extent, moves like Anthony Davis forcing his way to the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard orchestrating he and Paul George's move to the Clippers are what got this package of anti-tampering measures passed.

Adam Silver has picked up a reputation as an NBA Commissioner who is very willing to listen to new ideas and make changes, and Friday's events support that reputation as he and the league continue to look for the best ways to get NBA teams to be in compliance with the anti-tampering rules. 

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

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Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

The Jonas Brothers are in Chicago for concerts that are taking place on Thursday and Friday night, and they have enjoyed quite a week. This week the trio has enjoyed a nice golf outing at Village Links in Glen Ellyn, had some quality BBQ at Bub City and even got the amazing opportunity to play a touch football game at Soldier Field. But one particular Bulls guard is looking to add another fun experience to their Chicago trip.

The Bulls organization welcomed the Jonas Brothers to the city with a set of custom jerseys for the trio and their significant others and that's when Ryan Arcidiacono chimed in with his offer. 

Since the Jonas Brothers have already got to play some football on the actual Soldier Field grass, Arci figured they might as well keep the Chicago sports-themed fun going and shoot some hoops with him. 

Now, Arcidiacono didn't make it clear whether or not he was offering for the Jonas Brother to get some shots up with him at the United Center, where their shows take place on Thursday and Friday night. But, either way, his time is running out as they will be moving on to Jackson County, MO for their next stop on tour on September 21.

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