BATTLE OF THE BALLS
The Bulls took on the Hornets at the UC and the build up is all about the battle of the Ball brothers. Lonzo VS LaMelo. Personally I've never had much time for either, but they've both done enough for me to admit I was wrong and their father LaVar is right about them.
I think LaMelo brings the flair and is an exciting passer and has become THE guy for the Hornets.
As for Lonzo he throws the ball around like a QB but his defence and hustle is what makes him exciting to watch as well as his massive improvement from the 3 point line. But both are definitely pass 1st players, always looking to setup a team mate.
Onto the game and Lonzo is bringing the swaggy "fro" back and as the big brother, even that's bigger and better than LaMelo's. Both teams came into the game having similar records: Bulls 13-8, Hornets 13-9.
Zach LaVine does end up starting despite being listed as questionable due to illness so this is set to be an exciting game. 1st attack of the game sees LaMelo go at Lonzo but misses the bucket. Down the other end Lonzo gets a lucky bounce on a 3 before dropping another on the next attempt. LaMelo starts throwing it around in his usual flashy style and it leads to some 3s for Hornets.
At one point in the 1st the Bulls are up by 9, but the pesky Hornets continue to drop 3's as they end up with the lead and a late foul by Coby White doesn't help. It leads to the Hornets dropping 2 free throws for a 31-30 lead at the end of the 1st.
Into the second and Lonzo checks back in with 2 big plays: a full court pass allowing a drive from Ayo Dosunmu followed by a drive himself and a nice layup.
LaMelo comes back in after a long sit and instantly causes problems. A couple of questionable calls on Lonzo against LaMelo sees Lonzo sit the rest of the quarter quickly followed by LaMelo with 3 fouls a piece.
The quarter itself seems very back and forth but the Bulls manage to finish up with their biggest lead at 69-58 after a buzzer beating 3 from Vucevic who's having his best game so far this season. Bulls' 69 points is a season high at halftime.
Into the 3rd and the Bulls will look to build on their 11 point lead. Both teams start trading 3s including LaMelo following one from Lonzo as they share a 'whatever you can do, I can do too' moment. The battle of the Balls becomes a side show as the SHOWTIME BULLS take over in the 3rd with some exciting plays from Zach and Co.
Bulls end the third with a 20 point lead, finishing 104-85. The 1st time this season they have 100+ through 3 quarters.
It wouldn't last long as a poor start in the 4th started bringing flashbacks of the Rockets game. The Hornets continue to look deadly from 3 and some poor turnovers from Bulls made this game too close for comfort. 5 minutes into the quarter and the Hornets have gotten to within 4 for a score of 110-106. Billy Donovan recognizes this and calls a timeout and the momentum shifts. Bulls go on a 9-0 run on the back of some great defence and the Bulls manage to hold on eventually winning this game 133 - 119.
It was all about both sets of Balls in the 4th, but Vucevic will take this as his best performance of the season with his 1st 30 point game of the season. Backed up by LaVine and DeRozan with 20+ points each.
LaMelo came out on top stats wise, but Lonzo had more key plays on both ends. Overall I'd say pretty even game from the Balls.
Bulls finish with a season high in points and go 14-8 with the Knicks up next at MSG on Thursday night!
-Matt H. (Twitter:@matthearn1)