Zach LaVine continues torrid stretch as Bulls move into 10th

LaVine continues torrid stretch as Bulls move into 10th originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

HOUSTON --- Saturday marked the first time all season that Zach LaVine finished a stretch where he took 20 or more shots in four of five games.

It should be emphasized: This aggressiveness is a good thing.

“I think since the All-Star break we’ve been much better offensively. And I’ve said this many times: When Zach’s aggressive and he’s playing downhill and he’s taking catch-and-shoots and he’s taking shots where guys back off the 3, it’s great,” coach Billy Donovan said. “Even if he has a bad night shooting, at the end of the year he’s probably going to shoot close to 50 percent from the field and from 40 percent from 3.

“So when he’s decisive, it only opens things up for everyone. He’s unselfish enough where if he’s getting downhill, he’ll spray the ball out. If you look at Zach’s shot profile, there really aren’t too many shots you say you don’t want him to take.”

Especially with the heater that LaVine has been on for awhile but particularly since the All-Star break.

Counting his 36-point night in the Chicago Bulls’ 119-111 victory over the Houston Rockets that nudged the Bulls into 10th place in the East, LaVine is averaging 31.4 points on 58.1 percent shooting. That includes 50 percent from 3-point range on 6.5 attempts per game and 90 percent from the free-throw line to boot.

LaVine is averaging 19.4 shots in this stretch, up from his season average of 18 attempts.

“Just being aggressive,” LaVine said. “My field goals really haven’t gone up that much. I think they’re like at 18. (Saturday), obviously, getting a couple more up, being aggressive. In the first half, I just felt like we needed that.”

Indeed, for the second straight game LaVine helped set the tone. He scored 11 points on nine shots, repeatedly attacking the rim.

LaVine shot 10-for-15 from the restricted area.

“When Zach is decisive, he makes our whole team better,” Donovan said.

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