Mavericks' Tim Hardaway Jr. says 'Bulls are back,' but Alex Caruso believes improved Chicago not quite there yet

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls won a second quality win Wednesday night, beating the Dallas Mavericks 117-107 at the United Center. This brings them to 8-3. Their opponent was impressed by the quick chemistry of this new team.
"All I can tell you is that the Bulls are back," Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. stated.

The Bulls started the season with a 4-0 record against teams that had missed the postseason last year. They have maintained their quick start even though their schedule has become more difficult. They've won back to back games against the Brooklyn Nets, Mavericks, and currently share the Eastern Conference's best record with the Washington Wizards.

Bulls guard Alex Caruso stated that he believes it's too soon to make grand proclamations, but he is still encouraged by how they handle business.

Caruso, who was a champion with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019-20, said that there are games where they're just trying to win. "I believe we have many ways to improve. This is probably the most encouraging thing about me.

"Eleven games into this season, I don’t think you could say anyone’s back, especially considering the Bulls' prestige. They won three consecutive championships twice. That's quite a statement to be back.

The Bulls are making huge statements on the court, even though they haven't made it to the postseason since 2016-17. The Bulls put an exclamation mark on the game with a highlight-reel 360-degree dunk by Zach LaVine. It was a result of a Lonzo Ball crosscourt pass, which was made on a play that began after Caruso's six career-high-tying steals.

Caruso stated, "Zo's an amazing passer, QB1 throwing the pass up to Zach." "And then Zach did exactly what he does."

Chicago scored 50.6% on the field, 48.4% on the 3 and 26 assists for just 11 turnovers.

DeMar DeRozan was the Bulls' top scorer but he struggled to get off the field. He ended up scoring just 17 points. However, the rest of his team performed well around him. LaVine scored 23. Ball scored 21 points and made 7 out of 10 of his 3 point attempts. They held Luka Doncic, Mavericks' star player, to only 6-of-18 shooting for just 20 points.

The Bulls are currently in the middle of a difficult stretch against teams who made it to the postseason last season. They will start a five-game West Coast trip against the Warriors on Friday.

The Bulls continue to win quality games and are respected by their opponents.

Ball stated, "We are moving in the right direction." It's a new team. It's not difficult to create a new culture.