Why Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen will Dominate the Eastern Conference Soon
By Donte Chase Bridges | November 9th
Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine can become the best duo in the Eastern Conference.
In the midst of the Chicago Bulls losing to the Houston Rockets 117-94, there is a rose growing from the United Center’s concrete, metaphorically speaking. In the words of the late Dennis Green, “They are who we think they are.” Luckily for Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, the Chicago Bulls’ fans have always felt this dynamic duo has the potential to be the new-age Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. How? Lauri Markkanen is a tremendous big man with the ability to shoot a Steph Curry-like three-pointer, play the mid-range game like Dirk Nowitzki, and handle the ball with the finesse of a 6’2’ point guard. Standing at 7ft. tall, Lauri Markkanen is a versatile player, an effective 3-point shooter, and a defensive matchup nightmare.
When you pair this freak of nature with a shooting guard like Zach LaVine that can average 20 PTS Per game, play the pick-and-roll to perfection, and is arguably one of the most athletic players in the NBA, you have a recipe that can frustrate any defense and eventually take over the league. These two budding stars play the pick-and-roll as well as John Stockton and Karl Malone, not to mention they are more athletic with far better tools. The only kink in the duo’s game is their ability to stay consistent on a game-to-game basis. If this combo can find a way to combine their talents to complement each other’s skillsets, Chicago can emerge again as a perennial playoff team.
The Bulls came out of the gate playing aggressive defense that forced Houston to take contested shots. Bulls’ F Chandler Hutchinson was brought up from the G League and inserted into the bulls roster early in the game. Hutchinson gave the bulls the defensive spark they needed, allowing Zach LaVine to attack the basket in transition offense. Bulls’ C Lauri Markkanen took advantage of Houston’s small line-up by being an undeniable force in the paint, leading the Bulls with 8 points at the end of the first quarter.
Houston Rockets’ superstar James “The Beard” Harden slowed the tempo down and hit consecutive step-back 3 pointers that brought the Rockets within 1 point of the Bulls lead (35-34). Bulls second-year F Chandler Hutchinson continued to leave his mark on the game by making the plays that don’t show up on the stat lines. To add to the Bulls’ relentless performance, Bulls’ back-up PG Kriss Dunn came in at the 3-minute mark and added to the Bulls’ run with 3 AST, 2 STL, and 1REB. at the closing seconds, PG Kriss Dunn became a pest in the passing lanes, deflecting a ball and setting SG Zach LaVine up for a 3-point shot that ended the half.
“36 points in the paint in the first half; that is where the Bulls need to continue to attack in the second half,” said Bulls’ Analyst Kendall Gill
As the third quarter began, Houston Rockets’ newest asset PG Russell Westbrook made sure his presence was felt by putting the Bulls on their heels and scoring the first 3 points of the second half. Houston continued to take off like a rocket, scoring an unanswered 10 points and taking the lead with 7 minutes left in the third quarter. Fortunately, the Bulls’ rookie PG Coby White stopped Houston G James Harden from an easy layup and scored with a quick drive to the lane, plugging the hole in the Bulls’ sinking ship.
Houston Rockets’ guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden aggressively showed why they are former MVP’s of the league, pushing the Rockets lead up to 17 points with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Rockets’ C Clint Cappella also had a season-high in Rebounds with 20 REB, keeping the Bulls from making any impact on the defensive boards. Although the Bulls tried to fight back and regain some traction against the Rockets’ offensive onslaught, it proved to be too little to late as the Rockets blew ahead to beat the Chicago Bulls (117-94).
Otto Porter Jr has been diagnosed with a left foot sprain and is ruled out in tonight’s game against the Rockets. His status is considered day-to-day and will be re-evaluated for Tuesday’s upcoming game.
Don’t panic!… The Chicago Bulls are a young team that will go threw growing pains on their way to finding their true identity. Although tonight represents another L in the loss column, the young Bulls are starting to realize that if each player does their job, then the Young Guns will have an undeniable shot at rebounding their slow-starting season. Nonetheless, the Bulls will have to get ready to avenge an early-season loss against former Bull Bobby Portis and the New York Knicks on Tuesday, November 12th. For more information on the Chicago Bulls go to http://scene-chicago.com/scene/