LaVine had message for Stephen A Smith before Bulls-Knicks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Zach LaVine was on a mission Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
First and foremost, that mission was to propel the Chicago Bulls to their 15th win of the season, which they secured 119-115 over the New York Knicks.
In the process, sticking it to Knicks superfan and ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith was on the Bulls All-Star's mind. LaVine, according to the Smith, approached him before the contest and said: "I know you want us to lose tonight, but it ain't happening."
"And then he went out on the court and showed me why," Smith said on ESPN Friday.
Smith, among others, was a skeptic of the fit between LaVine and DeMar DeRozan when the latter signed with the Bulls this offseason.
"DeRozan and LaVine, can they play together?" he said. "Individually, they're big time. My issue is, they're the same (position)... I need to see it to believe it."
And, well, as the Bulls built as much as a 21-point advantage in the first half on Thursday, some discerning eyes on social media spotted a dejected Smith sitting courtside:
So, mission accomplished on both counts for LaVine, who scored 27 points on the night and six in the game's final three minutes as the Bulls pulled away down the stretch. DeRozan added 34 points of his own, including 18 in the fourth quarter.
In turn, Smith showed them some love.
"Zach LaVine is a star. DeMar DeRozan is a star. Billy Donovan is a hell of a coach," Smith said. "They got a damn good team in Chicago, I cannot front."