Bobby Portis had a big game as the Bulls opened Summer League play with a win.
Portis scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Boston Celtics, 71-62, on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas.
In his first action since getting drafted with the Bulls' first-round pick in last month's draft, Denzel Valentine scored eight points and hauled in six rebounds, also coming away with a pair of steals. But his one assist compared to four turnovers and a 4-for-16 shooting performance surely didn't represent what he wanted to do in his first Summer League game with the Bulls.
Jerian Grant, acquired from the New York Knicks in the Derrick Rose trade, scored 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting (2-for-8 from 3-point range). Jack Cooley and Spencer Dinwiddie scored in double figures off the bench.
Cristiano Felicio scored six points and grabbed five rebounds. Dez Wells — who joined Portis, Felicio, Valentine and Grant in the starting lineup — didn't score.
The Bulls' next Summer League game comes against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. They take on the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.
On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, the Bulls Outsiders team of Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine join Kevin Anderson to talk about the series premier of ‘Bulls Outsiders’ Thursday night. Hear about how the show came together and what they are hoping to bring to the Bulls fanbase this season. They’ll also share their bold predictions for the season including two potential end-of-season award winners from this roster.
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
We all know what Zach LaVine is capable of doing on the offensive side of things. But what about his defense?
It's no secret that LaVine has had his fair share of struggles on defense, but Kris Dunn thinks highly of his 23-year-old teammate and what his potential is at the other end.
"On the defensive end I just told him, 'You're as fast as me. You're more athletic than me. There's no way you shouldn't be a good defender in this league. You could be one of those guys who could be dynamic in the passing lanes because you're so athletic and fast.'" Dunn said of LaVine. "And personally, I like to score. If you get in a passing lane, that's a dunk for yourself and because you've got so much bounce that's when you get the crowd on their feet — maybe do a windmill, a 360, something.
"But I think he's been going a good job on the defensive end. It's not going to be easy. We all got to learn and I think we're all trying."
Improving his defense would obviously be a big step forward for LaVine (and the Bulls), and he knows it.
“I think I had a lot better focus on the defensive end,” LaVine said when assessing his preseason. “I had some mistakes too, but I wanted to go out there and just really hone in on being more focused down there. I felt like I did OK with that. Still some areas I want to get better at, definitely off-the-ball I think I did a lot better than I had before.’’
LaVine and the Bulls travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Thursday night in their season opener. You can watch Bulls Pre- and Postgame Live on NBC Sports Chicago before and after the game for highlights and analysis.