In what can only be described as a disappointing night for the 10th-seeded Chicago Bulls, who lost 120-108 to the quietly solid Atlanta Hawks. However, there was one bright spot and positive takeaway from the evening: Zach LaVine is a scoring machine.
Though he cooled off in a big way in the second half scoring just 11 points, the Bulls' do-it-all shooting guard torched Atlanta for 39 points in the first half on scorching shooting splits (13/19 FG, 7/9 3FG). This performance puts LaVine in some absolutely historic territory as the owner of the third-highest scoring half in the past 25 seasons:
Most points in the first half in the last 25 seasons:
2003 Kobe Bryant – 42
2016 Klay Thompson – 40
2021 Zach LaVine – 39 pic.twitter.com/3sD6LuvegT
— ESPN (@espn) April 10, 2021
This milestone is sure to be an enjoyable one for Zach LaVine, who, when he was a much younger player on the Minnesota Timberwolves. During that time he was not shy in mentioning how he desired to model his game after the late legend. LaVine will also be honored then, to have earned another milestone along side his legend tonight:
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 10, 2021
Kobe Bryant, who is noted as being the player most similar to the great Michael Jordan, would appreciate these levels of parallels — and like him, Zach LaVine finds himself as the leader of a once-proud team clawing their way back into contention. The Bulls, who now fall to 22-29, and are tenuously holding onto the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference, and with it the last spot in this season's play-in tournament. The Bulls will need every ounce of effort from both him and newcomer Nikola Vucevic if they are to recapture the glory days of old.
Maybe this glimpse at history will be a hint of things to come for the young scoring phenom.