The Chicago Bulls hope their version of the “Big Three” finally has arrived.
DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine will look to send the Bulls to their second straight win on Saturday night when they host the short-handed Dallas Mavericks, who are playing without star Luka Doncic.
DeRozan collected 27 points and seven rebounds in Chicago’s 115-111 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. Vucevic added 25 points and 11 boards, and LaVine had 25 and seven, respectively, as the Bulls snapped a three-game skid.
“That’s been a conversation of late,” DeRozan said. “Our teammates have been encouraging us to do that; they’ve kind of been on us, just telling us it’s on us three to carry this thing, and they’re going to be behind us. (On Wednesday), we tried to be assertive and prove that point, and we played well.”
Wednesday marked the first time this season that each member of the trio scored at least 25 points in a game. The group also came through in the clutch by combining to score 33 of the team’s 35 points in the fourth quarter against Washington.
“I think we all just did our job,” LaVine said. “There were a lot of things we could’ve did better in the game, especially the first three quarters. But we all came through at the end, made winning plays.”
DeRozan is averaging team-leading totals in points (25.5) and assists (4.6). LaVine is contributing 22.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists, while Vucevic is adding 16.2 points and a team-leading 11 rebounds.
Bulls veteran Goran Dragic, 36, had been looking forward to facing Doncic, who will sit with a right quadricep strain. Dragic played with Luka’s father, Sasa, on the Slovenian national team before playing alongside Luka himself.
“When we played together the first time for the national team in 2017, I already knew that he was going to be good,” Dragic told the Chicago Tribune. “But it did surprise me that in such a short time he became such a dominant player.”
Doncic turned in another dominant performance on Friday, collecting 33 points and 11 assists in Dallas’ 106-105 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The three-time All-Star recorded his 18th game of at least 30 points this season.
The late-night nationally televised game on Friday didn’t do coach Jason Kidd and his team any favors: The Mavericks had to board a plane to the Windy City and prepare for a quick turnaround vs. the Bulls.
“We’re very fortunate to have Luka and, yes, national television is prime when you have one of the best players in the world,” Kidd said. “But I don’t know if it helps, playing at 9 at night and then (Saturday) playing in Chicago. It is what it is. We’re not going to complain or say it’s unfair. We’re going to go play the game.”
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 15 points for Dallas, which made just 10 of 24 foul shots to see its three-game winning streak end. Two of those victories were on the road, which is a welcome sight considering the Mavericks are a paltry 3-8 away from home.
Josh Green (right elbow sprain) and Maxi Kleber (right foot soreness) were also ruled out for the game for Dallas.
–Field Level Media