Beverley, Bulls hope to keep good times rolling

Patrick Beverley's first time stepping on the court in a Bulls uniform figured to be emotional, but it was still game time, after all.

"I wish I had something better for you, but I'm so locked in before the game," Beverley said after Friday's victory. "I feel it more after the game than before. I have a cold one after a win, a convincing win. We all know it's the first game coming off the break, but any win is tough. I'm enjoying it right now."

Beverley's debut literally couldn't have gone much better, since the Bulls rolled to a 44-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center. The veteran guard finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

"I enjoy good basketball," Beverley said. "I just felt we played the right way today. You defend well, you're able to get early offense, you don't have to run a lot of half-court offense and we did that. First unit was great, second unit was great. Everything was great."

It's been a long journey for Beverley, who starred at Marshall High School. His senior season culminated in a loss to Derrick Rose's Simeon squad in the 2006 Class AA state semifinals.

He spent two years at Arkansas, then three years playing overseas before making his NBA debut with the Houston Rockets on Jan. 15, 2013. He finally found his way to the Bulls after being traded from the Lakers to Orlando on Feb. 9, then released.

Beverley was on vacation in Paris last week when he first heard from the Bulls, had a phone conversation with coach Billy Donovan and was finally back home on Friday. He was introduced with the familiar, "From Chicago ..." description popularized by Rose and Ayo Dosunmu.

Donovan decided to start a veteran lineup with Beverley and Alex Caruso, while moving Dosunmu and Patrick Williams to bench roles. It all worked well on Friday, with both the starters and second unit dominating.

"I'm always here to listen and to try to get as much advice and knowledge as I can," Dosunmu said Friday. "He's been in the league longer than me, so he's seen things I haven't seen yet. He's been great in the aspect of answering all the questions thoroughly and not giving me BS answers. Everything is long and lengthy."

Dosunmu grabbed a season-high 9 rebounds and scored 7 points against the Nets. Williams finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, his best game in more than a month.

"I've been in this position before. It's nothing new to me," Williams said after the game. "I still have opportunity to play my game and try to help us win. So I just took it."

If the Bulls are going to make a playoff push, now is the time. Their next two games are against the two teams directly ahead of them in the standings. Washington visits the United Center on Sunday afternoon, then the Bulls travel to Toronto on Tuesday.

Wizards No. 2 scorer Kristaps Porzingis is listed out for Sunday's game with a knee injury.

"We understand where we are," Zach LaVine said. "We've got to put that type of energy into it. We're all real excited after the all-star break, energetic. Now see what we can do these last 22 games, throw everything at it and not have any regrets."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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