At the start of the Bulls’ trip to Paris, DeMar DeRozan sat next to Dalen Terry on the plane and introduced the rookie to Instagram audiences as “his little baby.”
Now that the team is back in town, has your parenting had a positive impact?
“Yeah, he has a headache,” DeRozan said with a laugh. “Like the Fearsome Duo. That’s where he’s at right now. He’s definitely Horrible Duo right now. But I’m trying to do my best.”
When asked about his favorite part of his trip to Paris, Zach LaVine suggested that the person asking the question make a guess.
Could it have something to do with the wine?
“That’s right, a handful of Bordeaux,” he said. “I took five of them home.”
So the Bulls (from Paris) are back, but they will have to pay for their trip to France, which includes one game in seven days, right away. Now the program is busy. They’ll be tipping off a series of back-to-back games against Atlanta at home on Monday and then Indiana on Tuesday.
The Bulls will play 14 games in 25 days until the all-star break. According to coach Billy Donovan, a trip to France didn’t exactly feel like a vacation with all the travel and obligations.
“Going through customs, it was a nine-hour trip back,” Donovan said. “So you play a game at nine o’clock (last Thursday). The journey back from the arena to the hotel took probably 40 minutes and thankfully we had a police escort. Around Paris.”
Donovan held short practice sessions at the Advocate Center Saturday and Sunday to help get players back on schedule. Goran Dragic missed Sunday’s practice due to an illness.
Busy schedule or not, it’s time for the Bulls to stand up. For all their frustrating losses, they’re just 3½ games behind the 6th seed in the East, losing 10-6 since the ugly defeat in Minnesota on Dec. 18, and an easier opponent awaits.
Is LaVine ready for this? He missed games early in the season while returning from off-season knee surgery. Recently, however, he averaged 27.7 points in this 16-game boost, while scoring at least 30 points six times.
“I’m fine,” LaVine said at the Advocate Center on Sunday. “I’ve played every game since the beginning of the season, so I’ve played as many games as anyone else on the team.”
LaVine has appeared in 41 of 45 games, one of six Bulls to field in at least 40 games. Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams are the only two who play every game.
Another task is to continue building the improved chemistry. LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic are playing better than ever together. All three of them increased their season-long score averages in this 16-game period.
“We’re taking action at the right time,” DeRozan said. “We still think we can be a lot better. Coach has always said that, he challenged us every day that started with us.
“Whether it’s practice or a movie, we’re tackling that challenge every day. And we’re trying to bring that into the game.”