The Chicago Bulls have the franchise’s best start since the 1996-97 season. To be more precise … from his days with Michael Jordan.
They improved to 4-0 Monday night with a 111-108 victory against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena, making Chicago the last undefeated team left in the Eastern Conference. After improving their roster in free agency, the Bulls are already reaping the benefits of some of their biggest offseason additions.
Lonzo Ball had five 3s for 15 points and five assists. Alex Caruso added eight points and had four steals off the bench, adding to the Bulls’ league-leading 41 steals so far this season. And DeMar DeRozan, who spent the first nine years of his career in Toronto, scored 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, including some key baskets down the stretch to steady the Bulls and come back.
Combine those performances with 22 points from Zach LaVine and the Bulls are off to their best start in 25 years.
“Part of the reason I even decided to come to Chicago was that everyone was eager to be successful, to want to win,” DeRozan said after Monday’s game. “Everyone had that chip, from the city to the organization to the players I spoke to.”
“That was everyone’s mentality, now it’s about winning. We are not in a development stage, we want to win now.”
The Bulls are winning now, but their upcoming schedule could provide a better indicator of how competitive this team can be in the long run. After victories over the Pistons (twice), Pelicans and Raptors, their next six games – the Knicks, Jazz, Celtics, Sixers (twice) and Nets – should be a tougher test.
“We have a long way to go,” DeRozan said. “We have a lot more to clean up, to learn. It’s a long season, man. [El inicio de 4-0] It’s great, but we have a lot more basketball ahead of us. We can’t take this as some kind of challenge. We have to understand that the next game will be even more difficult. “
Still, the Bulls have started 4-0 four times in franchise history and Jordan was on the team.
The Bulls had not even exceeded .500 at any time during a season since March 2017. LaVine had never been part of a four-game winning streak at any point during his NBA career (he won five in a row with Team USA). During the Olympics).
And the Bulls can be encouraged that they are off to such a quick start despite bringing in so many new players. Only three players, LaVine, Coby White and Patrick Williams, who started the season on last year’s roster, are still on this team, but the new players, led by DeRozan and Ball, have adapted well to LaVine.
“I think we have a lot of high-character guys, we all want to win and we want to win together,” Ball said. “I think when you have a group of guys on the same team with the same common goal and the same mindset, it’s easier for the chemistry to click. That’s what’s going on.”