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Exclusive: Zach Lavine falls short in his challenge to Michael Jordan

Zach Lavine is off to a historic start for the Chicago Bulls, but his challenge to Michael Jordan fell through against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. Lavine kicked off this season with four consecutive outings where he scored over 30 points.

This accomplishment put him in the same breath as Hall of Fame ballers like Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Jerry West. Lavine become the first Bulls player to achieve this feat since Michael Jordan himself. He helped Chicago beat the Hornets in their first matchup, and he had a chance to continue his streak by dominating in Jordan’s house in the second game of the Bulls’ back-to-back series with Charlotte.

Everyone is aware he’s a freak athlete, and Lavine was able to take his game to the next level by focusing on recovering from injuries and building consistency.

Zach LaVine, Bobby Portis, Bulls

“Last year I was hurt, so I was able to get back and get healthy,” said Lavine. “I got a full summer of working out, training and seeing what I did good and did bad. Then I had training camp as well, so I was able to be on the court while remaining healthy. A lot of people make their biggest jumps in the summer, and I did a lot of hard work.”

In the Bulls’ crushing 135-106 loss to the Hornets, Zach Lavine scored 20 points in 26 minutes. He got off to a cold start, but heated up in time. Lavine also contributed four assists and three rebounds. He probably could have reached 30 points, but his team was so far behind heading into the fourth quarter, playing him would have been useless. Michael Jordan once started a season by scoring over 30 points in six consecutive outings, which is a franchise record. Lavine will have to try again next season, and he knows better than to compare himself to the GOAT.

“I don’t try to compare myself to the greatest person of all time man. That’s a reach. I’m just trying to help the team win. I think it’s a good test for us to play a team back-to-back, because it’s almost like the playoffs,” Lavine continued.

Zach LaVine, Bulls

Lavine has an astounding 42-inch vertical, which may have even increased since he’s joined the NBA. He’s refined his game to become more of a threat from deep. He’s also been showcasing his in-between game, which features a few floaters and pull ups. It took a team effort to slow him down, and the Hornets had the kind of hive mindset necessary to get the job done.

The star of the night was Kemba Walker, who poured in 30 points in three quarters. The Bulls were severely undermanned, as they were missing Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Denzel Valentine and Bobby Portis. They are off to a 1-4 start, but the Bulls will look a lot different when they have all their personnel. It’s up to Zach Lavine to lead them.