The Chicago Bulls are moving on in the NBA play-in tournament. Chicago hosted the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night with their season on the line, and they delivered in their biggest game of the season. Coby White dropped a career-high 42 points and led the Bulls to a 131-116 win. Chicago will now take on the Miami Heat on the road on Friday in a rematch of last year's NBA play-in tournament.

This season has been a special one for Coby White, and he clearly isn't ready for it to end. Stats in the play-in tournament don't count (well, they do in White's book), but 42 points is the most that he has scored in an NBA game. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan thought that it was an all-around great performance from his budding star.

“He set the tone getting downhill, we talked about it for a couple days and he did a really good job playing aggressively and going downhill, took his threes when they were there, and made a lot of really good passes to guys,” Billy Donovan told the media after the game. “I thought he played a really complete game. 42 is a huge number, and it's phenomenal, but I thought he played a really complete game. I thought he defended, I thought he assisted, I thought he got downhill, made the game easy for guys. I thought it was a great performance from him.”

Another player that had a big game for the Bulls was DeMar DeRozan, and he has also been a huge piece to the puzzle this season. Tonight was more about White, however, and the veteran star liked what he saw.

“He did alright, he could do a little bit better,” DeMar DeRozan said with a smirk. “No but he led us tonight. We talked before the game, just coming out and being aggressive, try to make a statement early on, and that's what we did.”

Coby White wanted to be aggressive from the start

Chicago Bulls guard Coby White (0) gestures after making a three point basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half during a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at United Center.
© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Getting into the paint and being aggressive was a big goal for the Bulls in this game, and Coby White couldn't have done a better job doing it. He was difficult to defend all night, and he always seemed to make the right choices.

“We just wanted to play with pace and get downhill,” Coby White said. “…We know that once we attack the paint and get the defense to collapse then we either gotta finish or spray out and just make the right reads. Everybody played a total role.”

White played so well that the United Center crowd was chanting his name in the fourth quarter. The atmosphere in Chicago was special all night long, and that was ‘dope' for White to hear.

“It was a dope moment for that [Coby chants] to happen, I'm thankful for it, I'm thankful for the fans,” White said. “It felt like a playoff vibe, the place was rocking tonight.”

So about that career-high…that 42-point performance isn't technically a career-high for White because stats don't count in the play-in tournament. It counts in his book, though.

“I'm definitely counting that as my career high,” White said with a laugh. “It's on the stat sheet right here so.”

The Bulls are one win away from making it into the playoffs. They will tip off against the Heat at 7:00 ET on Friday.