White-hot Zach Lavine keeps up All-Star bid with clutch 3 to help propel Bulls past Pacers

Jason Owens
·2 min read

It's going to be tough to keep Zach LaVine off the All-Star team. 

The Chicago Bulls star continued his breakout campaign on Monday with a clutch 3-pointer that helped force overtime in a 120-112 win over the Indiana Pacers

The Pacers led 103-101 in the final minute of regulation when the Bulls looked to their No. 1 option in a halfcourt set. LaVine shed defender Justin Holiday on a screen above the 3-point line. He dribbled right to find a mismatch with Domantas Sabonis, stepped back and launched a 3-pointer over his defender's hopelessly outstretched right hand that sank through the net for a 104-103 Bulls lead. 

Indiana went on to force overtime, but the extra session belonged to the Bulls as they outscored the Pacers, 15-7. LaVine's final box score tally read 30 points, nine rebounds and three assists while connecting on 4 of 9 3-point attempts.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) shoots over Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Zach LaVine came up big again for the Bulls against the Pacers on Monday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Will LaVine earn first All-Star bid?

It was another big line, but a typical night for the 25-year-old Bulls guard in the midst of a career season. Through 25 games prior to Monday, LaVine was averaging 28.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point distance — all career highs. 

It's an effort that's going to be hard to ignore when compiling the All-Star roster. LaVine's not going to supplant Bradley Beal or Kyrie Irving, the leading vote-getters so far for the East's starting backcourt. But he should figure heavily into the equation for a backup role as a first-time All-Star.

The knock on LaVine's bid is his oft-beleaguered defense — and the Bulls' 11-15 record. But there's no denying that LaVine has developed into one of the game's elite offensive talents seven seasons into his NBA career.

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