Bulls make gains by taking fewer 3-point shots

Updated 12/13/2017 7:37 PM

Long-range shooting was expected to be a larger part of the Chicago Bulls' offense this season, but it's not necessarily a strength.

Through Tuesday's games, the Bulls ranked ninth in the league in 3-point attempts per game (30.7), but were tied for 25th in accuracy, at 34.7 percent.


"We've actually taken less this last week (24.0 attempts per game during the three-game win streak)," coach Fred Hoiberg said before facing Utah. "If we have open ones, we're going to shoot them. I think we've taken a few questionable ones, I guess you could call them. When we come down, we don't have numbers and we shoot -- we're taking less of those now. It's something we've watched a lot of film on, shot selection."

The only Bulls player shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range right now is Nikola Mirotic, who is 9-for-18 from behind the arc since returning from injury.

Dunn sees new LaVine:

Kris Dunn probably knows better than anyone what to expect when Zach LaVine returns from knee surgery in a few weeks, since the two played together in Minnesota last season. Dunn suggested LaVine has gotten better during his time off.

"In practices, his defense definitely improved," Dunn said. "I joke on him at least every practice, because now he's starting to read the offense a little better on the defensive end. So I think his defense is going to rise."

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Coach Fred Hoiberg has said he expects LaVine to increase his practice frequency soon and aim to resume game action in early January. LaVine tore the ACL in his left knee last Feb. 3 while playing for the Timberwolves.

"If anything, he's going to make it easier for me, another shooter on the floor and now I can just kick it ahead, go do what you do and let me get an assist," Dunn said. "When you've got two athletic people, not saying you can gamble (on defense), but get in the passing lanes and make it tough for offensive players to get open."

Niko knows the game:

With Nikola Mirotic off to a fast start since returning from facial fractures, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg sent a reminder that the team believes Mirotic is underrated defensively.

"Niko does a lot of little things that don't show up in the box score," Hoiberg said. "He's in the right spot defensively, he's in a stance, he knows where to be, he understands the game plan. He does a lot of those little things other than scoring the ball, which is kind of what Niko is known for, a floor-spacer."

Hoiberg said the traits he listed were essentially the reasons Mirotic was scheduled to start at power forward before the Oct. 17 practice altercation sent him to the sidelines.

"Just his overall understanding of the game," Hoiberg said. "I love the chemistry he and Bobby (Portis) are playing with on that second unit. It gives us two front-line guys out there on the floor. We'll continue to put that lineup on the floor."


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