CHICAGO – One of the biggest goals for the Bulls in the first half of the season has been to get their best players to be recognized among the NBA’s elite.
A big step for Zach LaVine to do so would be his selection to the league’s All-Star Game for the first time. He fell short of that in 2020, when Chicago hosted the mid-season contest, and it was a motivating factor for the guard who has emerged as the face of a still evolving franchise.
On Monday, assistant coaches will vote on which players should be elected as reserves for his year’s All-Star Game in Atlanta on March 7th. That will be before the Bulls face the Rockets in Houston, so Saturday night gave LaVine one more chance to make his case to be included.
His 48 minutes against the Kings ended up being quite a closing argument.
In perhaps his best shooting night of the season, LaVine got 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range to help his team to a 122-114 win over Sacramento at the United Center.
The guard got 20 points in the first half, and when the Kings made a run at the Bulls in the second half, LaVine made sure his team never lost the lead. His stepback jumper with 17 seconds left officially put the game away as the Bulls picked up their 13th victory of the year.
LaVine has certainly given assistants from around the NBA something to think about during his recent stretch of play. He’s averaging 32 points per game in the month of February and that’s gone up to 35 points in LaVine’s last eight contest.
He’s sixth in the league in scoring with 28.9 points per game with 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per contest. Each of those would be career-highs for LaVine, who is in his fourth season with the Bulls after coming over from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler trade in the summer of 2017.
Since then, the guard has shaken off a torn ACL to become the leader of this Bulls team and, perhaps, finally an All-Star in 2021.