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Bulls offense getting a boost from Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine

Coming into last night’s game, head coach Jim Boylen let the media know that the Bulls were had the best offensive rating in the NBA over the last five games.

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Bulls offense is getting a boost from young guns Markkanen and LaVine - Locked On Bulls

On today’s episode of Locked On Bulls, Matt goes solo and breaks down the Bulls’ Monday night loss to the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks.

The conversation starts with a close look at the way Zach LaVine has increased his assist numbers while maintaining his efficient scoring streak and his growing chemistry with Lauri Markkanen. Matt notes the poor shooting night from Lauri Markkanen but discussed the ways in which the Finnish kid positively affected the game despite the 6-21 shooting. Notably, his continued success grabbing rebounds, and his willingness to put the ball on the floor to jump-start transition offense opportunities after corralling boards.

In the second segment, Matt discusses Jim Boylen’s latest attempt at a small-ball lineup from last night, which saw Otto Porter Jr. getting minutes at the 5. With Cristiano Felicio essentially being unusable in an NBA game, Boylen has started to use more small looks with Markkanen and now Porter at the center position for certain stretches. Unfortunately, the Bulls are so weak in their second unit that the Porter-Luwawu-Harrison-Selden-Arcidiacono experiment last night looked awful. But when the Bulls hopefully add some better depth to this roster, they should – with or without Boylen – continue to experiment with these small-ball kinds of lineups.

And finally, Matt wraps up the show questioning the latest head-scratching decision by Boylen and his staff to let an injured player keep playing. Kris Dunn took a nasty fall and landed on his backside. Despite being invisibly serious pain and taking a trip to the locker room, Dunn came back into the game in the 4th quarter. He looked immobile. Why was he out there? It’s yet another example on the heels of Zach LaVine playing through a re-aggravated ankle sprain and Chandler Hutchison fighting through 41 minutes with a broken toe. For a team with just 13 wins nearing the All-Star break, Matt asks: what is the point of this, and why is no one telling Boylen to stop?

Jordan Maly is the host of Locked On Bulls, he's a native of Naperville, IL and graduated from Indiana University - Bloomington. Jordan has spent time covering the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Hoosiers basketball and football, and the Big Ten Conference as a credentialed writer. Jordan has been published in Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, SB Nation, FanSided, and Yahoo Sports.

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Game Recap

Boylen’s Bulls were supposed to be filled with spirit and passion…

The Bulls were booed off their home floor last night for the third time under Jim Boylen in a 112-84 loss to the Magic.

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Jim Boylen's Bulls were suppose to be filled with spirit and passion - Locked On Bulls

Locked On Bulls is back with a fresh episode, the guys kick off the show talking about the Bulls and Orlando Magic last night. A discussion about how things spiral out of control, the lack of offense, and making the Magic look like one of the best teams in the East. The guys talk about a solid first half for Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Zach LaVine – who shot 12-20 from the field and lead the team in scoring. The guys talk about Boylen’s lineup choices, needing to see Hutchison more, and why Carter was benched last night.

Are the Bulls playing Holiday and Robin Lopez more over the last few weeks to increase trade value? The guys talk about how Jabari Parker was not used even in a blow out last night and what Boylen said he plans to do going forward. Should Bulls fans be concerned with the way Carter is playing right now? Jim Boylen explains why he thinks you can learn more from sitting on the bench than playing in the game. The guys compare Carter’s numbers under Hoiberg and Boylen so far this season.

In a small sample size, Kris Dunn has shown improvement finishing at the rim this season. Locked On Bulls discusses his jump in numbers, what he needs to improve on, and how Boylen will use him will be key to his success.

Locked On Bulls talks about how the players are reacting to Boylen’s style, how night’s like last night is about as bad as the loss to the Celtics. If the Bulls continue to lose games at a high rate it may bring a top pick but will also come with some consequences. To wrap up the show, the guys talk about LeBron James’ comments on being the greatest player of all time. The guys compare that to when Michael Jordan was asked in 2009 about calling himself the goat. All of this and so much more on Locked On Bulls.

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Game Recap

Did Bulls show some spirit and passion after brawl, blowout vs. Thunder?

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Bulls-Thunder spills over into near brawl, Robin Lopez ejected - Locked On Bulls

Locked On Bulls is back with a fresh episode, the guys have plenty to talk about after being off on Monday. The guys get to last night’s Bulls-Thunder game in which tension boiled over into a near brawl. The guys break down who really started it, Robin Lopez getting in the mix and eventually ejected, and Jim Boylen right in the middle. Did the Bulls show spirit and passion by fighting back or is this eyewash for toughness?

They start first with the Bulls 21-point comeback win against Jim Boylen idol’s San Antonio Spurs. How the Bulls dug themselves such a hole and were able to climb out of it. Does Kris Dunn have the clutch gene? Yes? No? Too early to tell? The guys break down Markkanen and Dunn’s performance being able to get them back into the game.

Locked On Bulls has a conversation about the Bulls advanced metrics, how they stack up during the Boylen Era vs. the rest of the NBA. The guys talk about the usage of Wendell Carter Jr., his first-half foul trouble leading the NBA, and some explanation on why it might be happening.

The weekend brought rumors about the Bulls taking calls on Jabari Parker from as many as 15 teams according to sources. Are the guys buying 15 teams being interested? Will the Bulls be willing to talk on bad money? Probably not, they also talk about the most likely team involved in talks and how a buyout with Parker is still the most realistic option. To wrap up the show, the guys talk about quotes from Gar Forman in the LA Times. All of this and so much more on Locked On Bulls.

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Game Recap

Bulls snap seven game losing streak in win over Thunder

It took a Lauri Markkanen game-winner to snap a seven-game losing streak and earn Jim Boylen his first win as head coach.

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Bulls win on Lauri Markkanen game win vs. Thunder - Locked On Bulls

Jim Boylen got his 1st win as an NBA head coach Friday night in his home opener with the team. The Bulls edged out the Thunder 114-112 thanks to a game winning bucket by Lauri Markkanen.

All eyes were on Markkanen last night as Zach LaVine handed the ball off to him with under ten seconds to go in the game. Markkanen spun off Paul George, driving down the ride side of the lane before hitting a game winning hook shot. The shot gave the Bulls their first win since November 21st.

Along with a game winner, the athletic 7-footer put up 24 points, shooting 8 for 12 from the field. 12 of these points came from four threes on just eight attempts. Markkanen also had 7 boards, 3 steals, 2 assists and a block in just 28 minutes. Markkanen hurt his elbow due to incidental contact on a screen in the second half of the game, but continued to play. He told 670 The Score‘s Cody Westerlund that his elbow felt “tender”, but did not express any worry, according to Westerlund.

Zach LaVine lead all scorers in Friday night’s game in Chicago with 25. He shot 10 of 18 from the floor while adding 7 assists to his stat sheet in 36 minutes. LaVine did struggle taking care of the ball, turning it over nine times. His turnover total was the second most in the game, thanks to Thunder guard and former MVP Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook’s triple-double wasn’t enough for the 3rd best team in the NBA. While Westbrook did have 24 points, he shot just 9 for 21 from the field and 2 for 6 from deep. The All-Star point guard had 13 assists while hauling in a game-leading 17 rebounds in 35 minutes played. The high-flying MVP was shocked, however, when the 19-year-old Bulls rookie, Wendell Carter Jr. stuffed one of his signature tomahawk dunk attempts late in the fourth quarter.

Thunder center Steven Adams notched his 11th double-double of the season last night in the loss to the Bulls. The New Zealander had 21 points along with 10 boards in 31 minutes played.

All-Star small forward, Paul George also filled the stat sheet with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals in 36 minutes. He shot poorly, however, going 6 of 16 from the floor.

While a lot of credit should go to Markkanen for this win, it was an all around good performance for the Bulls. The team shot 52.4% from the field and 48% from deep. What’s most intriguing about the win is that the opposition wasn’t a bad team. The last two teams the Bulls beat were the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both of these teams are last in their respective conferences. Boylen and the Bulls beat a Thunder team that is currently tied for 3rd in the NBA in win percentage. The Bulls have undoubtedly been playing bad basketball, but a head coaching change and a semi-healthy roster might be what this team needed to finally stack some wins.

The Bulls face another tough assignment tomorrow night as the Boston Celtics come to town in what will be the team’s 2nd matchup with the Bulls. The Celtics have been hot winning their last four games.

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