Bulls

Will league discipline Dunleavy for incidents against Bucks?

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Will league discipline Dunleavy for incidents against Bucks?

Mike Dunleavy’s importance to the Bulls cannot be understated, illustrated by his lights-out performance in the Game 6 clincher against the Milwaukee Bucks, where he hit everything in sight.

Unfortunately, he also hit a few players wearing Bucks uniforms, and you wonder if the NBA will take a look at his actions against Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis Antetokounmpo, which prompted retaliation from both and an ejection from Antetokounmpo.

It appeared as if Dunleavy gave Carter-Williams a shot to the neck when Carter-Williams drove the lane in the first quarter, followed by the second-year guard leaving the game for a short while with injury before returning. It also looked like he gave Antetokounmpo a shot near the face area later in the first half. On the same possession as Dunleavy was spotting up for a transition triple, Antetokounmpo was measuring Dunleavy, charging into him as Dunleavy unleashed a triple and sending the veteran forward sprawling into the stands for a four-point play.

“I don't wanna comment on it. It's a physical game, there's a lot going on,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau when asked about the possibility of losing Dunleavy, adding he didn't see the plays he was being asked about.

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Considering the hard look the NBA took at incidents in the Celtics-Cavaliers series in the first round, where things nearly got out of hand in the form of a Kevin Love injury and two-game J.R. Smith suspension, one has to wonder if the league will take action against Dunleavy before Game 1 of the highly-anticipated Bulls-Cavaliers series, which begins Monday in Cleveland.

With Smith out, the Bulls have a huge chance to steal one or both games in Cleveland, as the Cavaliers are adjusting to losing around 35 points in offensive production. If he’s available, Dunleavy’s shooting would be a big part of that.

Aside from his donut in Game 5, Dunleavy was red-hot in the first round against the Bucks, shooting 17-for-29 from 3-point range in the other five games. With the amount of attention Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler will draw against a Cavaliers defense that isn’t nearly as dynamic as the Bucks, Dunleavy’s availability to crack open things from the perimeter will be crucial.

As every hour passes by without hearing from the league office between now and Monday, the Bulls breathe an extra sigh of relief in hopes they won’t be a man down for the series opener.

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

On some nights, basketball can feel pretty simple. For the Bulls’ offense — a unit in desperate need of a breakout — tonight was one of those nights.

“I told him, whenever you get it, just shoot it. No matter where you at,” Coby White said of Zach LaVine (who else?) after the Bulls routed the Hawks 136-102. “It just seems like when he gets in a rhythm, he's impossible to stop.”

At present, that sentiment resonates strongly. LaVine scorched the Hawks Wednesday night to the tune of 35 points on 12-for-15 shooting, 7-for-7 from 3-point range. And he did it all in just 25 minutes, sitting the entire fourth quarter of a resounding victory that the Bulls, mercifully, polished off early.

“You know, I get it going. And I want it to stay that way,” LaVine said. “It finally got all put together… It feels good. You wanna have wins like that. It does good for the team and obviously for the body [resting the entire fourth quarter].”

Trouncing the Hawks simultaneously snaps a three-game losing streak for the team, and a shooting funk for LaVine. He shot only 33.3% from the field on 19 attempts per game in the three games that comprised that scheid — hard-fought losses to the Warriors, Heat and Raptors. The Bulls’ total margin of defeat from those three contests was eight points.

“That's what we've been trying to put together,” LaVine said of the Hawks game. “Even though we've had our losses, we’ve been competing every game, we've had stretches where we look really good, where we look like the better team. But we're coming out with the losses.”

Not so tonight. But of course, it’s facetious to call the type of display LaVine put on ‘simple’. Every NBA game, no matter what colors the competing teams sport, features the best basketball players in the world. There are no easy nights at the office in this profession.

Which makes just how easy he can make it look all the more astounding. And all the more worth appreciating.

“Zach's efficiency obviously is just unbelievable,” Jim Boylen said. “He wants to be great, and he's working, and his habits are good. So I'm happy for him.”

LaVine joins a list of only 13 players in NBA history to score 35 points in 25 minutes of play with this performance, including Ben Gordon and *drum roll* Michael Jordan. He is also now the 20th player in league history to shoot 100% on 3-pointers on seven or more attempts in a game. When he’s on, it’s a spectacle. Appointment television.

But, for LaVine, the focus remains on the team. And the future.

“I don't think every game's gonna be like this, obviously,” he said. “But we need to have more of them.”

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 136-102 win over the Hawks

0:45 - Reaction to blowout win over Hawks, no cookies though?

3:30 - Viewer comments on Matt being angry, and admitting being wrong on LaVine

5:00 - Zach LaVine highlites by Big Dave

8:10 - On Denzel Valentine and the potential for starting

9:35 - Viewer comment asking for Coby White to start, Matt gets annoyed

10:05 - Viewer comment on trading for Michael Porter Jr

11:30 - Viewer comment on Denzel Valentine in 3-point contest

14:30 - Viewer comment making fun of Sabine’s Cowboys

15:15 - Viewer comment on Markkanen

17:15 - On Otto Porter Jr and missing at least another month

20:55 - Viewer comment on LaVine being the most athletic player in the NBA

23:30 - Viewer comment on Kris Dunn

24:30 - What was your life ‘It’s Over’ moment when you were overconfident?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

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Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.