Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine continue their dominance in latest victory

The duo looked unstoppable in the Bulls’ 130-118 win, taking turns destroying the Hawks. And just to make sure Atlanta couldn’t come back, Nikola Vucevic jumped into the mix.

SHARE Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine continue their dominance in latest victory

It almost feels scripted at times.

It’s as if Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan huddle before each game and plot how they’re going to take turns dissecting opposing defenders: “OK, you had the fourth yesterday, so I’ll take the first tonight. You kill ’em in the second.’’


A bit, but there’s some truth to it. It’s just more spur of the moment than planned.

That was the case Sunday when the Pacers were trying to make a late comeback, and LaVine silenced it with 12 points in the fourth quarter.

“The three of us spoke about what we wanted to do the next couple of minutes offensively, and DeMar said, ‘Hey, listen, Zach has it going. Let me space off him and play off of what he does. Let’s keep him going,’ ’’ acting head coach Chris Fleming said about how the Bulls finished off the Pacers. “That’s kind of the attitude both of those guys have toward each other.’’

That harmony continued in the Bulls’ 130-118 road victory Monday night against the Hawks.

LaVine and DeRozan make up one of the more lethal tag teams in the NBA, and opponents have to decide which poison to pick.

In the first quarter, it was DeRozan, who scored 15 efficiently, connecting on both three-pointers he took and going 5-for-6 from the field.

In the second quarter with the Bulls trailing, LaVine had 17 to help the Bulls take a 69-63 halftime lead.

That lead wasn’t in jeopardy until the middle of the fourth quarter, when the Hawks cut the deficit to three.

The Hawks tried to shrink the floor on DeRozan, forcing him to switch hats to playmaker. He fed Nikola Vucevic for back-to-back three-pointers, then made a 13-footer to hold off Atlanta’s flurry.

Just to make sure, he hit LaVine on a crafty alley-oop pass to bury the Hawks’ hopes of any sort of comeback.

DeRozan had 12 points and three assists in the fourth.

“We’ve been doing it all year,” LaVine said of the back-and-forth with DeRozan. 

“He’s been incredible in the fourth quarter, so it’s been easy for me to almost be like, ‘Get him the ball and get out of the way.’ Up to this point, I haven’t won like this, and this has been the best feeling I’ve had of winning. So it’s been real easy for me.

“We had that conversation before the season. Obviously, there’s going to be nights where I have it, he has it.’’

Then there’s Monday, when it felt like each of the Bulls’ “Big Three’’ had it. DeRozan led the Bulls (21-10) with 35 points, LaVine had 30 and Vucevic scored 24, including 13 in the fourth quarter.

And it wasn’t just the big man’s scoring. He had 17 rebounds, six assists, four blocked shots and four three-pointers. When it was pointed out to him that it was a unique stat line in NBA history, he gave a typical Vucevic reply.

‘‘It’s nice to hear, but when it comes to those stats, you can make up a stat with anything nowadays,’’ Vucevic said. “I feel like stats generally should be five, 10, 15, 20, 25, so they’re consistent.

‘‘I’m glad I played well and had a good all-around game that helped us win, but as far as that, I don’t necessarily care to be the only player to ever do it.’’

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