Javonte Green begins to defeat the Nuggets

Bulls notes: Green begins to defeat Nuggets Originally appeared NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bulls They equalized their record after two exhibitions with a 131-113 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night at United Center. The Nuggets played without Nikola Jokic, who remained in Denver.

Here are 8 notes:

1. Billy Donovan turned the start — not at the vantage point. In a slight surprise, Jafonte Green made a nod of Patrick Williams. Donovan said he took the step to try different groups and also to not chant DeMar DeRozan with the second unit as Donovan tries a real 10-man rotation. He said he doesn’t view the move as a demoting for Williams, just an attempt to try different looks in pre-season. The starting strength position forward still looks like a very open competition.

2. Green is one of the best off-the-ball cutting tools on the team. His energy and energy helped the Bulls get off to a much better offensive start than they had in Tuesday’s opening game against the Pelicans. Donovan spoke about wanting to push the pace but also playing fast in the half-court setting. Don’t let the ball stick. Keep the objects and the ball moving. Play with randomness. The mere presence of Greene and Ayo Dosunmu’s coordinated effort to run in groups led to success. In one acquisition in the first quarter, Green’s cut resulted in a wide open throw, two of the Bulls’ 50-point lead in the paint. Green finished with 15 points, five rebounds and two assists, and even defeated all three of his attempts. Most importantly, it completely changed the energy of the first unit.

3. The other side of course is Williams and how he reacts from here. Williams posted a confirming block on Michael Porter Jr in the unseen first half. But he woke up with a strong rush in the third quarter. First, he attacks the ledge in a dipping attempt, and draws two free throws. Then he dumped a mid-range jump and a 3-pointer – without hesitation – respectively. Williams finished with 11 points and two rebounds in 19 minutes, shooting 4 for 6. Donovan said both Green and Williams played well.

4. For the second match in a row, Nikola Vucevic confirmed himself inside and composed a very effective offensive performance. Vucevich finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a 6-for-8 shot in 24 minutes. Vucevic made two 3-pointers but in the second game in a row, he effectively worked from the penalty area and showed his skills at returning to the basket. He passed a turning jump over DeAndre Jordan and displayed an impressive footwork in a powerful action inside. Vucevich talked about getting back to his basics. He still remains an offensive center at times due to his passing ability. But his low touches increased and his production was fine in the first two matches.

5. As expected, Zach LaVine clocked the minutes in the third quarter and expanded his total production from 17 to 24 minutes. LaVine usually plays a lot of 5-on-5 during the holiday season. But after having arthroscopic surgery on the knee, Lavigne focused mostly on rehabilitation. He said he feels strong after the first two games is a good sign, as is the fact that he played a solid ground game with six assists. He didn’t force the shots, realizing that both DeMar DeRozan and Vucevic were rolling in.

6. DeMar DeRozan appears in mid-season form. After using the powerful fake pump to hit the streak 12 times for 21 in nine shots in Tuesday’s opener, DeRozan worked his average magic this time around. He scored 22 points in 24 minutes by hitting 9 out of 15 shots, and displayed impressive footwork throughout. DeRozan has consistently spoken out about Kobe Bryant’s impact on his game, and two of his hoops were vintage Kobe. DeRozan defended closely with his dribbling off and the defense not biting into the pump fake, and DeRozan got past the defender and fired softly with a left-handed shot. Then in the third quarter, DeRozan put Aaron Gordon on the spinning course for a low position.

7. After Goran Dragic’s notably ineffective editorial, Donovan made an emphatic point. “I don’t worry about Goran,” Donovan said at the time. Such is the bio and the respect that Dragic has earned during his 14-year career, and in fact, the veteran goalkeeper made the throwback game. He pushed at a fast pace on the first touch, continually pressured the defense through driving probes and finished with eight points and two assists. In one notable match outside of the time-out, Dragic led and threw an alley over the top of the defense to Andre Drummond, who also played well.

8. In fact, the second unit was generally a hum. Kobe White developed the thigh contusion that shortened the pre-season opener in the past with 15 points and three assists in just 18 minutes. White has shown a bit of hesitation in snap-and-photo situations, which will likely be his primary role this season. He hits 5 for 7 shots, including 2 from 3 shots. He even turned one into a four-point play.

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