Robin Lopez’s strong play continues in the Bulls’ win over the Suns

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 18: Robin Lopez #42 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns on March 18, 2019 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

PHOENIX – About a month-and-a-half ago, many expected the center to be playing a role on a contending team. That’s because the Bulls were expected to either trade Robin Lopez or release him around mid-February’s trade deadline.

Instead the veteran is in Chicago, and lately has been playing some of his best basketball since joining the team in 2016.

Monday night was another one of those examples as the Bulls faced the short-handed Suns in Phoenix. That’s when Lopez hit 11-of-14 shots from the field and led his team with 24 points in a comfortable 116-101 victory that stopped the Bulls’ five-game losing streak.

Lopez certainly has gotten his chance to make something happen, with his minutes going up following the trade of Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker. With the center staying put for the rest of the season following the February 7th trade deadline, Lopez has scored over 20 points six times, including Monday’s win over the Suns.

Before that, his previous high was 17 points, which he reached twice. Lopez averaged 15.5 points per game in February with an average of 27.9 minutes and has been about the same in March, scoring 15.3 a game with his time in the game going up to 32.4.

It’s arguably the best that Lopez has played in his Bulls’ career, with the only other comparable month being the first five games of the 2017-2018 season in October. He averaged 14.2 points with 5.8 rebounds a contest, but it still takes a back seat to what Lopez has done since the trade deadline.

Call his performance one of the pleasant surprises for the Bulls’ post-trade deadline here in 2019, and perhaps it gives the team something to think about this offseason. The four-year, $54 million dollar contract signed before the 2015-2016 season with the Knicks is set to expire this summer, leaving Lopez an unrestricted free agent.

Could Robin be a part of the Bulls’ moving forward? Time will tell, but his play lately figures to help him find the same home or a new one in a couple of months.

 

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