Bulls

Five reasons to watch tonight's "Bulls Classic"

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Five reasons to watch tonight's "Bulls Classic"

Five things to watch in Tuesday night's Comcast SportsNet Chicago "Bulls Classics" broadcast, featuring the Bulls' 97-93 1992 NBA Finals Game 6 victory over the Portland Trailblazers:

1) Michael Jordan led the Bulls with 33 points in the close-out game, out-dueling his biggest rival at the shooting guard position, Portland's Clyde Drexler. Jordan, who averaged 30.1 points per game that season, won his second consecutive league MVP award and third overall. Not that he wasn't already a household name, but by bringing Chicago a second championship, there was no doubt he was already a legend, at only 28 years old.

2) The Bulls' second consecutive title was the franchise's first that was won on the home court of the old Chicago Stadium. It was a fitting show of appreciation for Bulls loyalists and those who jumped on the bandwagon alike, commemorating an outstanding, 62-win regular-season campaign and cementing a dynasty that would dominate the decade in the NBA. After sweeping the Heat in the first round, the Knicks took the Bulls to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals before they dispatched the Cavaliers and Trailblazers in six games apiece.

3) Scottie Pippen's 26-point Game 6 effort, to go along with four apiece of rebounds and assists, don't quite illustrate his brilliance at that point in his career, but he was nearing Jordan's equal as a slasher and had perhaps surpassed him as a defender (he was named to the first team of the NBA's all-defensive team, as well as garnering second team all-NBA honors for the first time in his career and making his second All-Star Game appearance) and all-around talent. Meanwhile, starting big men Horace Grant and Bill Cartwright suffered through rough outings, but Scott Williams picked up the slack with eight rebounds off the bench, while Stacey King also contributed. John Paxson's 13 points were another key component to the win.

4) The Blazers, which lost to both those 1992 Bulls and the 1990 Detroit Pistons in the Finals, just couldn't get over the hump. As talented, balanced, deep and big as they were, it seemed as if they needed another piece to complement star Clyde Drexler. Perhaps Drexler would have benefited from being a No. 2 option in Portland; he went on to win a championship with the Rockets alongside University of Houston teammate Hakeem Olajuwon in 1995.

5) Portland center Kevin Duckworth, who passed away in 2008, was a Chicago-area native. The Thornridge High School graduate -- the south-suburban school also produced Indiana University great Quinn Buckner -- attended Eastern Illinois before entering the NBA in 1986. After his rookie campaign, he quickly blossomed, becoming an All-Star in the 1988-89 and 1990-91 seasons. While some observers poked fun at his girth, the late Duckworth was quietly considered one of the most underrated centers of his era.

Coby White is making history left and right in absurd three-game stretch

Coby White is making history left and right in absurd three-game stretch

Coby White is enjoying a special stretch of basketball right now. In each of the Bulls’ past two games entering Tuesday night’s matchup with the Thunder, White set and matched career-high scoring totals with consecutive 33 point-games — something no rookie reserve had ever done

But Chris Paul was determined to stop it.

“I told Coby he wasn’t going to score 33 tonight,” said Paul, who coached White at the AAU level and has forged a deep bond with him since

Mission accomplished… Sort of.

White poured in a new career-high of 35 points in a nail-biter of a 124-122 loss to Oklahoma City, shooting 13-for-21 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range. At 20 years old and in his first NBA season, White has now logged three 30-point games in a row, all off the bench. Here are a few reasons that is statistically ridiculous:

  • White is the first reserve in Bulls franchise history to post three consecutive 30-point games (via Bulls Game Notes)

  • White is the first rookie to score 30 points in three consecutive games since starters were first recorded in 1970-71 (via ESPN Stats & Info)

  • He’s also the first rookie to achieve that feat while hitting five or more 3-pointers in each game since the 3-point shot was introduced in 1979-80 (via Elias Sports Bureau)

  • Zach LaVine and White became the second pair of Chicago teammates in franchise history to each score 30-plus points in consecutive games, joining Bob Love and Chet Walker, who did it in 1969 (via Elias Sports Bureau)

  • White is the first Bulls rookie to score 35 points in a game since Ben Gordon in 2005. Other Bulls rookies to score 35 points in a game: Michael Jordan (21 times) and Elton Brand (twice). Solid company (via Bulls Game Notes)

  • In his last three games, White is averaging 33.7 points per on 57.4/58.1/92.9 shooting splits (20.3 FGA/g, 10.3 3PA/g). 

  • In that stretch, the Bulls are scoring at a rate of 120.1 points per 100 possessions (with a +15.6 net rating) with White on the floor, and just 92.2 points per 100 (with a -41.8 net rating) with him off.

  • I don’t have any further historical context for those last two. They’re just absurd.

“That’s what he [does]. He shoots lights out,” Paul said. “I’m glad to see that he’s playing with that confidence, and this summer we’ll get in the gym and we’ll go to work.”

 

“He’s coming into his own, and I’ve said this from day one, he’s special. He can score the ball like no other,” Zach LaVine said. “He’s continuing to get better. He’s 20 years old, I think he’s starting to find his groove right now.”

LaVine and White combined for 76 of the Bulls’ 122 points against Oklahoma City, collectively keeping the team’s offensive afloat in a floundering first half, then vaulting them back into the game with an infernic third quarter. LaVine (with 19 points) and White (with nine) combined for 28 points on collective 12-for-17 shooting (4-for-6 from deep) in the third, a period the Bulls won 38-19.

“It’s been great, especially with both of us on the court,” LaVine said. “There was a couple times in the fourth — that third quarter, when we were down, I spent so much energy trying to get us back into it — and he held onto that lead for us. 

“But it’s been great, man. He’s been putting a lot of hard work in. I go into the gym late or I shoot after practice and he’s right there. He’s gonna be special.”

White played 33 minutes in the game and was a team-high +15. When he’s ‘on’ he makes the Bulls fun, interesting and electric. LaVine went on to sing gratitude for White’s ability to draw defensive attention away from him over the course of games, and shoulder on-ball responsibilities in spot moments.

Just don’t ask Jim Boylen if he’s ready to promote White to the starting lineup.

“I keep getting this question and I'm just going to answer it one more time,” Boylen said. “Coby’s in a good place. We’re going to keep him in a good place. Let’s let Coby keep playing and lets let him keep developing.”

Point taken. And the way things are going, perhaps that’s perfectly OK.

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Coby White and Zach LaVine shine in loss to Thunder

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Coby White and Zach LaVine shine in loss to Thunder

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 124-122 loss and another great game from Coby White.

0:45 - Welcome back, John Sabine!

1:45 - On Coby White's career-high 35 points

4:25 - What Coby and Zach do for each other when on the floor together

6:00 -  On the Bulls overcoming a huge deficit

8:10 - On the Thunder and their surprising success this season

13:05 - Viewer comment on Outsiders seating arrangement

13:45 - Viewer comment on Coby going for the All-Rookie second team

15:50 - On playing Zach and Coby together and White not starting

19:45 - Viewer comment on getting Coby another nickname

20:25 - Viewer comment on expectations for when Otto Porter comes back

21:45 - On potential of Shaq Harrison starting over Ryan Arcidiacono

22:55 - Viewer comment on Outsiders shirts

23:40 - Viewer comment on Bulls needs at small forward

26:10 - On Coby blowing past the rookie wall

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.