DETROIT – While the possibility remains to keep playing beyond their season finale next Sunday against the Bucks at the United Center, most likely the Bulls are playing their final four games this week.
In that time comes an opportunity for Billy Donovan to get a look at his group with the majority of their players healthy – something that’s been difficult over the last month.
How much stock will be put in these contests depends on who is watching, but at least there is a trio on the court that is doing what they can to make a good impression looking ahead to next season.
For a second-straight game Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and Coby White led the way for the Bulls on the floor en route to a victory. The trio combined for 80 points, 23 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 108-96 victory over the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
This follows a similar performance by the trio in a win over the Celtics on Friday evening at the United Center. In that contest, LaVine and White scored 25 points while Vucevic had a triple-double (18 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) in a victory over Boston.
All three were on the floor for the first time in weeks against the Hornets on Thursday, starting a three-game winning streak that keeps the team’s faint play-in hopes alive. As of Sunday night, the Bulls trail the Pacers by 2 1/2 games for the tenth spot in the Eastern Conference with four games to play.
LaVine led the way in points again with 30 on the evening on 10-of-16 shooting with Vucevic not far behind with 29 to go along with a team-high 16 rebounds. White got 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor and has now scored 20-or-more points in three of his last four games.
All helped the Bulls out to an 18-point lead at halftime as the team was rarely challenged in the second half in improving their record to 29-39. Just as impressive has been the team’s defense in this three-game winning streak in which they’ve held their opponents under 100 points in each contest.
While three games is hardly an adequate sample size to judge if the Bulls truly have somewhat of a “Big 3” moving forward with LaVine, Vucevic, and White, head coach Billy Donovan would prefer to get the ball move around more.
“I’d like to be a little bit more balanced,” said Donovan. “When you play just with three guys, what happens is the other guys don’t get into a rhythm, they don’t touch the ball, they’re not in the flow. Inevitably, teams will send two or three people at those guys and try to leave some of those players open, make them shoot.
“I think they’ll shoot the ball a lot better when they’ve been a little bit more involved in the offense.”
But for now, three big scoreres have been enough for a little big of late season success for the Bulls.