OAKLAND, Calif. – Rawle Alkins isn’t on the Chicago Bulls’ current five-game road trip, and maybe it’s just as well.
While Alkins scored 24 points off the bench on 11-for-15 shooting in the Windy City Bulls’ 124-101 win over Wisconsin in G League play on Friday, his parent club was getting clobbered by the Golden State Warriors.
Not that losing to the Warriors is anything to be ashamed of, but Chicago did it in style Friday: Klay Thompson hit three 3-pointers in the first 70 seconds of the game, and the Warriors took a 43-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“He sees a glimpse of the rim and he’s going to up,” Lauri Markkanen said of Thompson’s early spurt. “That’s how good of a shooter he is.”
The Bulls outscored Golden State 38-33 in the second quarter but still lost by 37 points, 146-109.
“I thought we came out in the second quarter and played better,” said Bulls coach Jim Boylen, the former Utah coach. “We were just following them around at the beginning of the game and were a little too respectful. Not the edge we need. So I’m disappointed in that and we’re going to have to learn from it.”
With another immediate road game at Utah on Saturday, Markkanan said the Bulls just had to look at it as one loss and move on. Even though this one loss was a lesson from the masters.
“It’s every position there are superstar players,” Markkanen said of the Warriors. “And they’ve been playing together for a good amount of time. They’ve got good players and a good coach. Everything’s clicking for them right now. I’m not discouraged. Just trying to keep working on defense.”
While the Bulls are just 10-32, Markkanen’s versatile play has been among their few highlights. Boylen even played the Finnish 7-footer at small forward some on Friday, matching him up with Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala.
After the game, Iguodala had high praise for his fellow former UA player.
“He’s gonna be good,” Iguodala said. “Can shoot the ball. Better shooter than people think. Can size you up. The game’s gonna go back to mismatches and he’s gonna draw a lot of mismatches. He’s good in the post. Saw him working on his post moves. I can see that. He’s gonna tighten up his handle. He’s kind of got a little swagger to his game and I like it a lot.”
The two come from different eras at UA, of course, though both said they have spoken together at times.
“He’s a good kid,” Iguodala said. “I like him.”
Alkins, meanwhile, has played two games for the Bullls but spent most of the season so far in the G League on his two-way contract.
While Alkins’ effort has been there, Boylen said he simply needs to improve before sticking in the NBA.
“Hard-playing kid. Tough kid,” Boylen said. “I like his energy and his toughness. He’s working on his skill development, his ability to drive the ball and shoot the ball and we’re thankful he’s with us.”
There isn't really any advance media coverage of the Arizona-Cal game here in the Bay area.
But maybe that's in part because the biggest college basketball game here this weekend – and possibly all season – is at USF, where the surging Dons will host fifth-ranked Gonzaga.
Our UA-Cal scouting report and feature on Ira Lee's rise are attached to this post. Arizona Desert Swarm also had this advance look at the game.