Bulls point guard Kris Dunn sat back at his locker and thought before a 117-115 victory over the 76ers about what he considers his best attribute as an offensive player. It didn’t take him long to lean forward with an answer.
“Changing speed,” he said. “If you don’t change your speed, you’re easy to guard. You have to change your speed, change your tempo.”
It sounded good. And then it looked even better.
Dunn put his gear-shifting on full display Monday night at the United Center. Early on, he flashed by defender Ben Simmons at the three-point line, downshifted to lure center Amir Johnson out from under the rim and then sped in for a left-handed layup. Soon after he gave T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes a similar treatment. Jerryd Bayless was on the business end of a blow-by from the left wing.
Seven points from Dunn keyed a 15-2 spurt that brought the Bulls back from a 107-99 deficit in the late stages.
Too much speed. Too many gears. Russell Westbrook would approve. At least, that’s what Dunn would like to think when he watches video of the game’s ultimate gear-shifting point guard.
There were all sorts of question marks about Dunn when the Bulls acquired him from Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler trade, but many of those questions have been answered. Dunn was a clear upgrade from former starting point guard Jerian Grant the moment he took over the spot 15 games ago. The 23-year-old former two-time Big East player of the year at Providence plans to dig into his current role and stay a while.
“It’s definitely important not to give it up,” he said. “I feel like I can be a starter in this league for a long time. Being a starter, I get to play against the best talent right away instead of coming off the bench — nothing against bench players.”
But of course. By the way, also was a two-time Big East defensive player of the year.
“I feel like I can be an elite defender in this league once I’ve learned the game a little bit more and polished up my defensive skills,” he said. “I just want others to respect me and know when you go against me, I’m going to be a defensive dog. It’s not going to be that easy.”
Trust a slogan-stealer?
About the 76ers’ much-discussed rebuilding slogan, “Trust the process”? You’ve got to admit, it sure has caught on in the basketball consciousness.
“We don’t want to use their slogan,” Bulls forward Bobby Portis said. “We don’t want to steal theirs.”
Little do most NBA fans realize, football coach Nick Saban had that one locked in at Alabama many years ago. Good luck to Philly as it tries to reach a tiny fraction of the success the Crimson Tide have enjoyed.
For the sixth consecutive game, the Bulls topped 100 points. In some prior universe, that might not have stood out, but now? It’s pretty impressive. In their first 23 games this season, the Bulls reached 100 only eight times.
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