The Bulls headed in the second week of the season looking for their first win. With the news surrounding Portis and Mirotic fallout, a win on the court could take some heat off the coaching staff for bit.
Keeping with typical Bulls fashion, they opened the week against Division rival Cleveland Cavaliers and played them as tough as they normally do. Early on it looked like it might be a rout in the Bulls favor, but Cleveland stayed around and LeBron does what he does best and lead his team to the win late in the game.
There was high praise for rookie Markkanen from LeBron after the game, and it was well deserved as he finished the game with 19 PTS and 8 REB. Through the early part of the season it looks like the Bulls have found someone who can be a future building block for the team, as he keeps growing each game.
Justin Holiday had his breakout game to start the season dropping in 25 PTS. The biggest win for the Bulls was their lights out shooting, especially from beyond the arc with a smooth 51.5%. What showed for the Bulls is Hoiberg’s offense can be effective if the right personnel are on the court.
After the letdown in Cleveland, the Bulls turned the tide in their next game against the Atlanta Hawks and picked up their first win of the season. It was an ugly shooting night for the team after the lights out performance in Cleveland a few nights before, but they got some big defensive plays and luck at the right times. Markkanen got a double-double in the win with 14 PTS and 12 REB, and Robin Lopez lead in scoring once again with 16 PTS. In an up and down stretch to start the season, a win was much needed for the young team.
Russell Westbrook had something special happen against the Bulls, he finally got the triple-double that he had recored against every other team in the league, minus the one he plays for of course. He sliced the Bulls apart in a 101-69 rout. This game was the prime example of how Hoiberg’s offense can flounder with young and inexperienced core. Markkanen didn’t shoot the ball as much as he should have, players couldn’t break out of slumps, and they were just outmatched. It showed the team has a long way to go in finding its consistency and identity in the league.