Bulls' Coby White 'Coming Into His Own'

White had a career-high 35 points Tuesday, his third straight game with at least 33.

Cody Westerlund
February 25, 2020 - 11:13 pm
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) – Plagued by poor play and often drearier storylines for most of this disappointing season, the Bulls have finally found a new ray of hope.  

His name is Coby White.

Stringing together his best play of the season and making some history while he’s at it, the rookie guard White continued his tear with a career-high 35 points in the Bulls’ 124-122 loss to the Thunder at the United Center on Tuesday evening.

“He’s coming into his own,” Bulls guard Zach LaVine said. “I’ve said this from day one: He’s special. He can score the ball like no other. He’s continuing to get better. He’s 20 years old. I think he’s starting to find his groove right now.”

Related: Jim Boylen focused on Bulls' development, not his win-loss record

White’s performance marked the third straight game – across a four-day period – in which he scored at least 33 points. That made him the first rookie and just third player of any experience status to score 30 or more points in three straight games off the bench since the NBA began charting starters in 1970-’71, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

White shot 13-of-21 from the field, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range, and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line in just shy of 33 minutes. He added seven rebounds, three assists and committed just one turnover.

“It’s all the hard work paying off, I guess,” White said. “I’ve been putting in a lot of hours over my whole life, and it’s paying off. Just got to keep grinding, just got to keep getting better, keep going.”

And where’s his confidence level at now?

“It’s good, it’s pretty high right now,” White said. “Just got to continue to get better.”

Improvement has been coach Jim Boylen’s preaching point for White as well. The Bulls have been careful not to overload White, bringing him off the bench in all 59 of their games, over which he’s averaging 24.9 minutes. Beyond that, Boylen and the Bulls haven’t forced the 6-foot-5 White into a point guard role.

They’ve simply instructed him to play with instincts and feel and then learn from his mistakes afterward.

“Coby was terrific again,” Boylen said. “I thought he played with confidence. I thought he made real good decisions. He made plays on the ball, and he made plays off the ball.

“It’s great to see him grow. Again, I talk to him about playing good basketball and making good decisions and taking his opportunities when they come. To me, these games are about him taking what the defense gives him, being aggressive. And he’s growing and developing. The defense dictates the shots, and then you got to make decisions inside those situations – and I think he’s doing a good job of that.”

What the Bulls haven’t done is start White, a fact that Boylen passionately defended when asked if he’d reconsider his first five.

“I keep getting this question, and I’m just going to answer it one more time: Coby is in a good place,” Boylen said. “We’re going to keep him in a good place, and we’ll see how it goes. I understand what you’re trying to ask, but let’s let Coby keep playing and let’s let him keep developing and let’s keep him in a good spot. And that’s my goal right now.”

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.