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Bulls avoid disaster vs. Pistons to accomplish feat not done in 4 years

Zach LaVine, Bulls, Pistons

The Chicago Bulls entered the 2021-22 season with a fair amount of hype, and they wanted to get off to a strong start against a Detroit Pistons team that will likely wind up at or near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Bulls struggled through a rocky offensive performance with their new-look roster but avoided disaster with a 94-88 victory, putting them over .500 for the first time since March 2017.

Zach LaVine was the one Bull who was able to dominate, going for 34 points on 11-of-17 shooting. LaVine’s supporting cast had their ups and downs, with Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball combining for 44 points on 2o-of-50 shooting.

Chicago’s much-maligned defense clamped down and helped lead the way to victory, but the offense was a legitimate disappointment given the improved talent level. It could be a work in progress for this group as they build chemistry together.

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On the latest episode of Blue Wire’s Cash Considerations pod, Ricky O’Donnell gave his brutally honest take on the ugly season-opening win:

“The Bulls have won the first game of the season for the first time since 2016. They have a winning record for the first time since March of 2017. And it kind of feels like a loss after that game because it was so ugly. … It was not a pretty game. From the very start of this game, it was incredibly ugly. The ball movement that defined the Bulls’ offense in the preseason was nowhere to be found. It was a relatively rough debut for DeMar DeRozan, his first time in a Bulls uniform. It was a pretty spotty game for Nikola Vucevic as well. But Zach LaVine … he really wills the Bulls into it in the second half.”

The expectations were certainly higher for Wednesday’s game, but a win is a win:

“This was a game I really expected the Bulls to come out and win by 20, but it didn’t happen. It was a pretty sloppy, physical game from the very start. The Bulls never really found a rhythm, but they still won so credit the Bulls for getting this W. It was a game they absolutely had to win. If they would have lost this game, it would have felt devastating.”

The Bulls shot only 43.0% from the field and 7-of-23 from 3-point range. They had 18 assists and 17 turnovers. There were a ton of missed layups that hurt, which is something that should be easily corrected. It was truly an ugly performance, but still being able to pull it out is hopefully a sign that things are different this season.

Listen to the full episode of Cash Considerations here:

Cash Considerations: A Chicago Bulls Podcast is part of the Blue Wire Podcast Network. The pod can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts.