The Bulls record is now 4-7 with their 120-102 win Tuesday night at the United Center. Here are three observations:
The lid was finally lifted off the basket from 3-point range and 'The Coby White Game' had A LOT to do with it
The Bulls finally had a great 3-point shooting game and their 2019 No. 7 overall draft pick had a lot to do with it in perhaps his most impressive game as a pro.
Coby White helped spark a 22-0 Bulls run that effectively put the game away. Below is White's 4th quarter shotchart.
White came into Tuesday's game shooting 21.2% from the 3-point line and started to right the ship in a big way. He shot 0-2 from the field in the first half and then exploded in the second half, scoring 23 of his 27 points in the 4th quarter alone. He went 7-for-11 on 3-pointers against the Knicks, converting on both spot-ups and his signature step-back 3s.
Boylen said postgame "Coby was terrific and we kept feeding him.
"It bothers him when he doesn't play as well as he thinks he can play...I'm just really happy for him. I'm happy that Roy [Williams] was here tonight to see it."
Overall he Bulls went 14-for-33 (42.4%) from 3-point range, backing up the idea that the Bulls offense will be quite formidable once their shooters start to trend closer to their career averages.
Wendell Carter Jr. continues to show incredibly impressive leadership (for a 20-year old) on an off the court
Coming into Tuesday's game, Wendell Carter Jr. talked at length about Bobb Portis' big game against the Bulls earlier in the season at Madison Square Garden, in which he had 28 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes. Carter stated, "No words need to be said, we're not letting that happen...I'm not gonna have it." This is yet another example of Carter talking like a leader but what really makes him such a strong candidate to be a leader on this Bulls squad for a long time to come is the way he backs up his words.
In the first half Portis—while hardly his team's biggest problem—scored 2 points on 1/4 from the field and was a -7. Portis finished the game with 7 points on 3-for-9 shooting. Postgame Carter was all smiles when asked about the Bulls holding Portis down in the rematch.
"We still boys but both of us competitive...after the game we back to being homies."
On offense, Carter continued to show off an improved offensive game.
In the first quarter specifically, the Bulls threw Carter (and Markkanen) the ball in the post early and often and the results were encouraging. Carter tallied 8 points in the opening frame and was a big reason the Bulls jumped out an early lead.
He scored 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting and showed off some solid passing from the post despite not racking up any assists. Most of the basketball world has caught on to the fact that Carter is a great defender but eyes are slowly being opened to the young big man's burgeoning offensive game.
Carter talked to Boylen recently about having so few plays called for him, and though he is still not a focal point of the offense, things seem to be trending in a positive direction. Carter developing into a two-way force would be a welcome development amid a season with many more losses (so far) than expected.
Kris Dunn may have finally turned a corner
Kris Dunn has had an awesome season so far while settling into his off the bench role. He was third in the league in steals per game coming into Tuesday night's game and he racked up another 3 steals in the Bulls win. While the defense looks awesome, the more shocking development was his offensive contributions.
Dunn scored 13 points in 19 minutes, going 5-for-6 from the field, 2-for-2 from the free throw line and hitting 1 of his 2 attempts from 3-point range.
It isn't often that we are going to see Dunn only miss one shot in a game, but as long as he continues to show aggressiveness driving to the basket, he will continue to serve an important role on a team that—albeit against a bad Knicks team—looked like they were finally starting to come together.
Boylen was very happy with Dunn's performance, stating "he just wants to win, he wants to play winning basketball...he is locked in, he cares, he's always cared and he's playing winning basketball, I'm really happy for him."
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