Bulls make 3-point history in win over New Orleans
Coby White believes there could be higher powers responsible for his part in the Bulls' record-setting long-range shooting on Wednesday.
During a 129-116 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at the United Center, White and Zach LaVine became the first set of teammates in NBA history to knock down at least 8 shots from 3-point range.
LaVine finished with 46 points and went 9-for-14 from long range. White had 30 points and hit 8 of 17.
"I believe in the basketball gods," White said after the game. "I believe they're always watching. So me playing the right way, everything will work itself out."
By playing the right way, White means getting to the basket early, getting to the foul line, staying aggressive. He did that and everything turned out great for everyone on the team.
The Bulls set a franchise record for made 3s, knocking down 25 of 47 attempts. They eclipsed the franchise record of 22 before the third quarter was over, but finished four short of the NBA mark, set in December by Milwaukee.
After the game, LaVine was anxious to head out and celebrate his fiancee's birthday, but he stuck around long enough to comment on the teammate milestone.
"That's big. I didn't know that," he said. "We're explosive enough to be able to do that, two really good shooters. Obviously, you're not going to be able to hit shots like that throughout the whole entire game. I'm very happy for Coby that he got back on track. He showed that confidence again."
The 46 points was LaVine's season-high and third highest-scoring game of his Bulls career, trailing the 49 points in last season's miracle comeback in Charlotte and 47 in the triple-overtimer at Atlanta in 2019.
With his nine 3s in this game, LaVine moved past Steve Kerr for sixth place on the team's all-time list of 3-pointers made. He needs one more to pull even with Nikola Mirotic for fifth.
"I expect to do that," LaVine said. "I put in the time and effort. It happens that way. You hit a couple, get hot. You wish it could happen every game. Obviously, it can't. But when you get in a zone, you want to stay in it."
White has been in a bit of a slump the past few weeks. In the previous 11 games, he shot 39.7 percent from the field. He was asked after the game how he deals with poor stretches.
"You've got to stay the course. Basketball is filled with ups and downs," White said. "Obviously just being me, I always get up shots. But I think more this year I'm looking at more film of my shot and my balance. When I've got good balance and I'm back on my heels and straight up and down, most of the times it goes in.
"A lot of times I'm off-balance, I'm on my toes or I'm leaning one way, leaning the other way and not on balance, that's when I miss a lot. Me and especially my brother have been watching a lot of film on my jump shot the last couple of games, which hasn't been falling."
In the first quarter, the Bulls went 10-for-11 from long range and led 44-34. According to Bulls radio statistician Jeff Mangurten, it was the most points scored in the first quarter by the Bulls since Dec. 12, 1990 against Indiana, early in the first championship season.
New Orleans outscored the Bulls 40-22 in the second quarter and led at halftime. But the Bulls dominated the third quarter 40-14 and quickly took the lead for good.
The Pelicans, who snapped a four-game win streak, were playing the second leg of back-to-back games after beating Houston at home on Tuesday. Zion Williamson led New Orleans with 29 points.
• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls