Bulls Notes: Hot Streak, LaVine, White, Terry, Phillips

There are no more calls to break up the Bulls, who improved to 7-3 in their last 10 games by beating the Lakers on Wednesday night, writes Jon Greenberg of The Athletic. Chicago has moved back into the race for a play-in spot with its recent hot streak after stumbling out of the gate with a 5-14 start.

The improvement coincides with the foot inflammation that knocked Zach LaVine out of the lineup, although no one connected with the team wants to say that directly. As Greenberg notes, there are several reasons for the success, such as DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic serving as the foundation of the offense, Alex Caruso becoming team MVP with his all-around play, and Coby White emerging as the star point guard the organization has been lacking since Lonzo Ball‘s injury.

L.A. is considered one of the prime landing spots for LaVine, and Greenberg suggests both teams might benefit from a trade. However, coach Billy Donovan dismissed the idea that the Bulls are better without LaVine and said he still has a role on the team.

“I think the biggest thing for us collectively is we get down the floor and flatten the defense out with everybody,” Donovan said. “I think that’s one of the things we’ve been preaching all along. I think Zach can play any style. For us, with him coming back in, I think he fits into how we’re trying to play.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • With White shooting a career-high 42.6% from long distance this season, Caruso is campaigning for him to be invited to the three-point contest at All-Star Weekend, adds Greenberg, who states that White’s recent play may put him in the All-Star conversation as well. “Yeah, I mean, I don’t like all the attention,” White said. “And that’s probably part of the reason why (Caruso) did it. Because he knows it makes me kind of uncomfortable.”
  • The Bulls’ success is a result of playing at a faster tempo, says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Whether it’s related to LaVine’s absence or not, the players have been more aggressive about pushing the ball upcourt over their last 10 games and creating more scoring opportunities in transition. “We’re all super unselfish guys. I feel like the ball is moving at a high rate,” White said. “The main thing we’ve been doing these last however many games is just playing a lot faster. Even on made baskets, we’re getting the ball out quick and trying to get up the floor, making us hard to guard so we can play less in the halfcourt.”
  • Donovan expects Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips to have increased roles in the wake of Torrey Craig‘s plantar fascia injury, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Terry has been the main beneficiary so far, playing 21 minutes against the Lakers.
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