10 sightings: Bulls skid behind DeRozan, Vučević originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Chicago Bulls (28-15) entered a home fight Wednesday night with the Cleveland Cavaliers (27-19) severely shorthanded and on a four-game losing streak.
They came out with a well-deserved 117-104 win that included big goals from DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević, and some opportunistic plays in the aftermath.
“The last two games, not having a guy, getting pissed off,” DeRozan said, “We knew we had to make it up.”
Here are 10 comments:
1. The Bulls came out of an uneven first quarter trailing 29-24, but it was DeRozan to the rescue in the second.
During that stretch, which the Bulls won 34-20 to build a nine-point halftime lead, DeRozan scored 16 points on sublime 7-for-10 shooting, burying everything from mid-range drops to challenged runners. He had a season-high 18 points at the break, then finished the third quarter with a layup and one up front and a buzzer-beating drop at the back, to take 22 of 10 points for 15 shooting. in the fourth.
This last period also belonged to him. DeRozan led the final charge with eight runs in the final period and a generally healthy regimen of midrange pull-ups. His 30 points on 14-for-24 shooting makes for 10 30-point games on the season, and the win makes the Bulls 18-3 when he scores over 25.
2. Don’t lose in his splendid shot, however, the seven assists DeRozan dished out, many of which were generated by driving and kicking actions. He also dulled two critical 3 corners in the fourth – one to Ayo Dosunmu that made it 106-102 after the Cavaliers cut an 11-point deficit to one, and a near-frosting Vučević bucket that made it 111 -102 with 2:27 to play.
“Me six years ago I probably would have tried to shoot 40 times and felt like it was necessary to win,” DeRozan said of his mentality with so many key players still out. “My mentality is just different, I understand that I need every one of those guys there. I lean on them as much as they lean on me.
3. Vučević engineered a rebounding performance after a moribund 2-for-13 shooting game at Memphis – and, crucially, he caused much of his damage on the inside.
Of Vučević’s 24 points on 11 for 21 shooting, 16 (8 for 9) came in the restricted area, helping the Bulls establish a 58-46 paint point advantage despite the Cavaliers’ monstrous frontcourt by Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen.
In fact, Vučević was just 1 for 8 on shots outside the paint – 0 for 4 of 3 – until the aforementioned triple at 2:27 of the fourth. A rare shout of fire then told all you need to know about his personal frustrations with his inconsistent play this season.
Then, for good measure, Vučević blocked Allen at the rim at the other end after a Cavaliers timeout, and buried another triple in the final minute. He was All-Star himself in a game that the shorthanded Bulls badly needed.
4. Alex Caruso returned from around six weeks in and out of training with two injuries – a sprained hamstring and sprained foot – and a stint in health and safety protocols to play 23 minutes, right in the middle from Donovan’s desired limit of 22 to -24.
While Caruso’s 11 ticks in the first half were uneventful (he shot 0 for 4), he set the United Center on fire with a disjointed streak of four possessions in the third quarter that featured a corner 3 to put the Bulls ahead 83-74, an offense-foul-draw on Jarrett Allen battling through a screen, a driving layup to make it 85-74, then a forced trip on Kevin Love firing the chair into the post.
He also submitted that highlight chase swat early in the fourth and closed out the significant final minutes of the contest, finishing with a plus-18 record.
5. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the Bulls reverted to their opportunistic identity by scoring 24 points on 15 Cavaliers turnovers, while giving just 10 coughs (and none in that paradigm-shifting second quarter).
6. Eight of Coby White’s 14 points in the first half came to the rim on a perfect 4-on-4 shot – and several of those finishes were well contested or forced White to use his body to generate separation. It’s a big step from when his finish was a question mark in his first and second NBA seasons.
Although there was some regression in the second half – he finished with 16 points and went 0 for 3 at the rim in the third and fourth quarters – head coach Billy Donovan pointed to his improved balance as as pilot and decision maker after the game. Additionally, White was active in the passing lanes en route to four interceptions on the defensive end.
In all, it marks White’s 13th consecutive double-digit game, and a continuation of him deftly replacing Lonzo Ball at starting point guard.
seven. Add another effective shooting night for Ayo Dosunmu — 18 points while making seven of his eight attempts — and the Bulls’ makeshift starting backcourt combined for 34 points, 11 assists (against two turnovers) and six interceptions. Dosunmu had eight of those assists and is now averaging 18 points, 7.7 assists and 76.7% shooting in three games since entering the first unit.
With Ball and Zach LaVine out for at least the team’s next three-game road trip, expect more from this blossoming tandem in the future.
“Those two guys playing together has been good considering we haven’t really had a chance to do that much,” Donovan said of White-Dosunmu’s backcourt. “Both are altruistic, both are descending.”
8. Alfonzo McKinnie started his third straight game as a power forward but seemed to fall out of rotation late in the game. Troy Brown Jr. started the second half in his place, then recent two-way signing Malcolm Hill was given a two-minute stint early in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Cook, who has missed the team’s last eight games, was also available but recorded a DNP. Donovan said after the game that he was considering starting Cook as a power forward in the third quarter, but he opted for Brown Jr. in favor of scoring and ground spacing.
9. Donovan’s assessment, made with the aim of not breaking the Bulls’ offensive rhythm by knocking Vučević off the basket (Cook scores all the way to the edge), was solid. The Bulls’ 117 points came on 54.2 percent shooting, and Vučević’s solid play lasted throughout.
ten. Lauri Markkanen may have had revenge on his mind in his first regular season game on his old turf. He scored a season-high 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting, showing everything in his repertoire. offensive, from 3 quick shots to cutting dunks, including one on the first possession of the game. He even stroked a plummeting midranger over a smaller Brown Jr. in the third quarter.
In two games against the Bulls this season, Markkanen has now scored 42 of 14 points on 22 shooting (63.6%), 7 for 13 from 3-point range (53.8%). He entered the game shooting a career low 32.5% from behind the arc.
Next stop: at the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
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