CHICAGO – With each passing game in the month of January, fans of the Bulls begin to wonder if their leading scorer will indeed end up in the All-Star Game at the United Center next month.
That’s how good Zach LaVine was down the stretch on Saturday night, and once again managed to save the Bulls from what looked like a grim game through 36 minutes.
Down by 19 points late in the third quarter, the guard turned up his play in a memorable stretch of 12 minutes against the Cavaliers. His 21 points in the quarter, a part of an overall 42-point effort, helped the Bulls flip the ending in a 118-116 victory at the United Center.
It’s the second time in eight days that LaVine has gone over the 40-point mark, having done so against the Pacers at home on January 10th as well. Only this time the Bulls were able to win the game, with their record going to 16-28 on the year. The victory in itself might not be something to get too excited about, considering the struggling Cavaliers came in with just 12 victories, but LaVine’s performance once again provides a familiar and positive storyline to the game.
The guard went 19-of-31 from the field in 39 minutes, and the point total pushed his average for the month past 31, and the fourth quarter was one of his best stretches of the season. Down by 19 with 51 seconds to go after a hoop by Tristan Thompson, the Bulls got four points back before the end of the quarter, and that’s when LaVine took over.
He’d shoot 9-of-12 from the field, and he first got the Bulls back into the lead with 4:38 left with a jumper, and kept getting points after that. With under 20 seconds, his layup-and-foul put the Bulls up by four and in the lead for good. While it may not aid LaVine’s effort to be an All-Star starter since he’s currently sixth in the voting, it could help the guard’s case to be a reserve in the first mid-season classic played in Chicago since 1988.
Efforts like Saturday’s will help the cause, and there are more and more of them from LaVine as 2020 continues.