Bulls Season Highlights: Zach LaVine
*65 game season
Shooting guard Zach LaVine, in his third season with the team, continued to blossom into one of the league’s best bucket getters. The electric Seattle native – long ago proving he was more than a dunker – was a consistent light in an inconsistent season for the Bulls. This season, Zach continued to establish himself as a premier talent around the league – though he did not make the All Star team, he had a real case. He’s got the individual accolades down – he was 12th in the league in scoring, and 10th in total three-pointers made – and Zach himself knows the next step is team success.
“For me personally, I’m just ready to become a winning team and a winning players,” he said at his post-season press conference, held over Zoom. “I’m ready to progress my career and get better and try to reach that next step.”
Though that remains Zach’s primary goal moving forward, Bulls fans have to be happy with the potential, talent and determination LaVine has showed in his three years with the Bulls. After missing much of the first season with the team recovering from an ACL tear, LaVine has shown that he hasn’t lost any of the athleticism he became known for as a young player, and has developed serious experience being a team leader on the floor for a young team. One has to be excited and intrigued with what the future holds for LaVine – whatever it is, it’s clear that he has developed into a true franchise cornerstone.
Zach LaVine hits a franchise record 13 threes against Charlotte
Let’s take a look at just a couple of Zach’s best individual performances this season:
NOVEMBER 23, 2019 AT CHARLOTTE (BULLS 116, HORNETS 115)
Zach LaVine Stat Line: 49 points (17-28 FG, 13-17 3PT), 4 rebounds, 2 steals
This was not only hands down LaVine’s best individual performance this season, but perhaps one of the best single games any player in the NBA had this season. It was also a game with an absurd ending, an absolutely insane comeback finish that made national news and goes down as one of the biggest miracle wins in recent years, an instant classic. (Seriously, go watch the highlights.)
LaVine was not only on fire, hitting a blistering 13 of 17 threes – by the way, that remains the most threes a single player has hit in a game this NBA season, and ties for second-most in NBA history – but his shooting directly brought the Bulls back from a nearly hopeless situation late in the game when they needed it most. He scored 27 points in the fourth quarter alone, none bigger than the final three. With 10 seconds left, despite LaVine going supernova, the Bulls still trailed the Hornets by 5. They brought the ball up the floor, LaVine got doubled and the ball swung to Tomas Satoransky, who hit a three to cut the deficit to 2 with seven seconds left to he clock. The Hornets inbounded the ball, but instead of fouling, Coby White knocked the ball into LaVine’s hands. Zach took the ball, dribbled out to the three point line and launched the most confident and inevitable dagger you might ever see to win the game and cap off one of the best individual performances of the season. Without question, his magnum opus of the year and best performance of his six-year NBA career.
DECEMBER 11, 2019, AT ATLANTA (BULLS 136, HAWKS 102)
LaVine Stat Line: 35 points (12-16 FG, 7-7 3PT), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Did we mention that when Zach was on fire he was a hard man to stop? Zach was absolutely ridiculous in this December road matchup in Atlanta – those shooting numbers don’t lie, the man went 7-7 from downtown – and he put up these numbers in just TWENTY FIVE minutes, sitting out the entirety of the fourth quarter. The Hawks had absolutely no answer for Zach on this night, as he might as well have been shooting in an empty gym. The man was perfect from three, perfect from the free throw line, and missed just 4 shots overall on the night. These were 25 of the most efficient minutes you’ll see, and this game truly showcases why LaVine is already one of the league’s best scorers and could remain so for a long, long time.
JANUARY 25, AT CLEVELAND (BULLS 118, CAVS 106)
LaVine Stat Line: 44 points (16-30 FG, 5-12 3PT), 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal
When Zach is feeling it, it's hard to stop him. In this road game against the Cavs, Zach – making an All Star push – had everything clicking, registering a near triple double (with 40+ points) in a game in which his dominance allowed the Bulls to build up a huge lead and get an inter-divisional road win. He plus/minus for the night was +20 in a game the Bulls won by 12, showcasing that Cleveland was run out of the building every time Zach was on the court.