Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
The Chicago Bulls won their third straight without Zach LaVine by beating the Charlotte Hornets 111-100 on Wednesday night at the United Center.
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Here are 10 observations from the victory:
---Coby White made franchise history. He finished 3-of-7 from the 3-point line, his ninth straight game with at least three 3-pointers. That broke the record he shared with Lauri Markkanen entering the night and it extended his NBA-long streak this season. White also drew two charges, pushing his team-high total to eight. That's tied for third-most in the NBA.
--Alex Caruso returned to the lineup after exiting Saturday’s victory at halftime with a re-aggravation of his left toe strain. Ayo Dosunmu, who started in Caruso’s place for that second half, returned to a reserve role and quickly replaced Caruso at the 8 minute, 9 second mark of the first. Caruso scored in double figures again while playing his typically adhesive defense.
---Torrey Craig was a gametime decision with knee soreness. Not only did he play, he sank two first-quarter 3-pointers as the Bulls emphasized that shot early. Craig scored a season-high 15 points in Saturday’s victory over the Pelicans.
---The Bulls led after the first quarter just four times in their first 19 games. But they’ve now led after the first quarter in three straight games. The Bulls took 13 3-pointers in the first quarter and featured balanced scoring as the ball moved quickly around the perimeter.
---Unfortunately for the Bulls, the second quarter arrived. They scored just three points over the final 5:58 of the first half and watched their 16-point lead drop to four at halftime. They entered the break shooting just 40.9 percent with only 10 assists. They missed their final nine shots of the half, scoring only on free throws.
---For the third straight game, Julian Phillips drew first-quarter minutes. He promptly scored on a transition layup. While praising his energy and athleticism during pregame remarks, coach Billy Donovan also admitted it will be hard for the rookie to find minutes when LaVine returns.
Donovan also played seldom-used Dalen Terry for three first-half minutes. This included Terry playing before Jevon Carter, who didn’t appear until the start of the second quarter.
Phillips then re-entered in the third quarter, which the Bulls opened with a 19-4 run to right matters after their disappointing start to the first half.
---The Bulls had five players with at least six points before they placed their first scorer in double figures. DeMar DeRozan’s layup early in the third quarter pushed him to 11 points---and represented the Bulls’ first field goal in 6 minutes, 44 seconds. DeRozan finished with 29 points, including 12-for-14 from the line.
---The Hornets entered last in the NBA in defensive rating and center Mark Williams sat as a late scratch with a back contusion. Donovan talked about the Hornets’ frontcourt size and rim protection, but losing Williams impacted that. The Hornets, already without leading scorer LaMelo Ball, played several possessions of zone to try to offset their porous defense. Nikola Vucevic took advantage of Williams’ absence to post a double-double.
---Hornets rookie Brandon Miller missed his first six shots and scored just 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting. Charlotte struggled throughout, shooting 27 percent from 3-point range.
---The Bulls finished with 23 assists and 12 3-pointers.