The volume level coming from his own bench Tuesday night was the obvious reminder for Zach LaVine.
New coach Jim Boylen does very little quietly.
But the telltale sign of the Bulls organization now going in a completely different direction? A glance up at the scoreboard when it was over.
“That was the first thing I noticed, just the score of the game,’’ LaVine said of the 96-90 loss to the Pacers. “I was like, ‘Oh wow, that’s low.’ It reminded me of the old [1990s]. It really was.’’
Get used to it.
“I thought [Tuesday’s] game was an old school, Central Division game,’’ Boylen said Wednesday. “Wasn’t it? And I don’t mind that either, but we’re going to keep on working on being more efficient than we were [in the loss].
“I’d like to play smart. On the road I think you’ve got to manage the game a little bit, that’s kind of my background. I do hope that when we hold someone to 96, we can score 100 and win. How that’s going to happen? I think we’re still figuring that out, and getting guys back, and getting guys comfortable.’’
Boylen’s right about one thing – they did move closer to getting guys back, as Kris Dunn (left knee) and Bobby Portis (right knee) went through another full-contact practice on Wednesday. That means they could be back by the weekend or early next week.
But what Boylen – who replaced fired coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday – is attempting to do by slowing the game down on the offensive end isn’t the league norm this season. Heck, it hasn’t been the norm for a couple of seasons.
So far this year, 15 teams – half the league – are averaging at least 110 points per game.
Back in the 2014-15 season, the Warriors were the only team to average at least 110 points per game, while half the league averaged under 100 points.
Those “1990s’’ that LaVine was bringing up?
How about the 1999 season, when just seven teams averaged over 100 points per game, and Sacramento led the way with 105 per night. A 105-point average would get you ranked 25th in the league this season.
So again, will it work? Boylen is hell-bent on showing it will.
“I’m not, I’m not [concerned about that style], and we might be a part of that trend as we get healthy and as we get used to each other, and as we grow,’’ Boylen said. “But I think before you become trendy you’ve got to be basic. You’ve got to understand the basics. We’re going to try and do that.’’
LaVine gets where his coach is coming from.
“[Boylen’s] a fighter, and that’s what we respect about him,’’ LaVine said. “We know how much he cares. He brings an intensity to the game, he fights for you, and he’s going to be straight up with you. He’s been like that as assistant coach.’’
That’s why Boylen had no problem telling his best player this season that he knows LaVine can score, but it’s about making him more efficient, not only as a scorer, but an all-around player. If that means slowing the game down to do so, so be it.
“I’m all for winning, man,’’ LaVine said. “Whatever I’ve got to do. It’s not like I’m going to change my aggressiveness to score the ball, but a game like [Tuesday], if I have to take 10 shots through three quarters, try and get it going in the fourth, I’ll do that. We were in the game the entire time, so I’m going to do what I have to do to win.’’
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