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Riding Zach LaVine’s breakout season, Bulls now have supreme confidence

Zach LaVine, Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have momentarily snagged the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference, and their success this 2020-21 season is thanks in large part due to Zach LaVine’s breakout campaign.

Led by the 25-year-old star, the Bulls are gaining more confidence each game, as evidenced by this remark from veteran forward Thaddeus Young.

Young also noted the big difference between this season’s team and last season’s group led by Jim Boylen:

Bulls guard Coby White also revealed a hilarious moment that happened during Chicago’s 120-100 win over the Houston Rockets. White briefly went to the locker room to get his bloody nose checked. When he asked center Wendell Carter Jr. about what happened when he came back to the bench, the 21-year-old big man said LaVine went crazy with 14-0 scoring run:

As Johnson said, it wasn’t quite what happened, but LaVine did go wild in the third quarter, where Chicago broke the game wide open with a 46-point period. Among those 46 points, 14 came from LaVine, as he finished with 21 points. He scored all of those 14 points in about a three-minute stretch, which included 11 straight points for the Bulls during that stretch.

LaVine didn’t need to carry the scoring load in their 20-point win on Monday, but his recent torrid stretch has given the rest of the Bulls more confidence. Aside from LaVine, five other Bulls scored in double figures. Coby White top-scored for Chicago with 24 points, while Carter notched 18 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks.

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played this season, and Chicago could very well fall off from the No. 8 spot due to the competition in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, this is undoubtedly significant progress from these young Bulls. In previous years, they never even found themselves in the mix for a postseason berth. Led by the arrival of new head coach Billy Donovan and LaVine’s All-Star campaign, the Bulls are finally well-positioned to make their first playoff appearance since 2017.