Bulls dig deep for shorthanded win over the Nets – .

Bulls dig deep for shorthanded win over the Nets – .

Javonte Green is back in Chicago after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Alex Caruso left after eight minutes in the first quarter trying to overcome hamstring strain.
Still, the Chicago Bulls dug deep for a 111-107 road win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night – in the process of securing their second win of the year and taking the series of the season, on the lead. Eastern Conference series (which, it should be noted, played without Joe Harris).

The second seeded Bulls now follow them by half a game in the standings.

Here are 10 remarks:

1. Caruso, who started active play despite it being a play decision, fired Kevin Durant’s mission when the Bulls’ defense was set, pushed a pass away from the Nets superstar for a steal and shot 2 on 4 from the 3 point range. the first trimester.

However, Caruso checked in at 4:01 am of the period and did not return. He gave it a go, but significantly improved his injury in eight minutes in the first quarter. Billy Donovan said after the game Bulls’ medics called to remove him after being dissatisfied with the way he was moving.

2. As they have done so many nights this season, Zach LaVine (31 points) and DeMar DeRozan (29 points) led the way in the buckets department, combining for 60 of the Bulls’ 111 points on even 50 percent shooting. (22- for-44).

At first, they took turns taking over. DeRozan scored 14 points in the first half and anchored reserve-laden lineups with Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu, Troy Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson / Tony Bradley who served against Durant and James Harden shifted units from the Nets between the first and second trimester, and at the start of the fourth. In the third quarter, when the Bulls hit back after Brooklyn took an 11-point lead, LaVine scored 13 of his potential 31.

3. But, as LaVine scored seven points in the final quarter, the fourth quarter was once again DeRozan’s time. He scored 13 of his 29 points in the fourth and, as he did at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, repeatedly dazzled his shot from mid-range. DeRozan shot 5 for 8 on 2-point runs in the unregulated area in the fourth quarter, and had that finish and one on the edge to start.

DeRozan has now scored 178 points in the fourth quarter this season – league first by a wide margin – on 63-119 (52.9%) shots on goal, 47 for 52 (90.4%) from the foul line. His time-critical presence has fully stabilized for a squad shooting close games with a level of consistency not seen in years.

4. The final dagger in the contest came from Lonzo Ball. One game after shooting 2-on-10 with 3 points against the Knicks, Ball missed five of his first six long-range attempts at Brooklyn, but saved his best to last with a corner-kick triple that made the score 110. -105 with 16.9 seconds to play.

As it should be, the bucket was assisted by DeRozan:

“It’s big. We trust him, ”DeRozan said of Ball. “I tell all the guys, ‘I don’t care if they miss 10 in a row. Shoot the next one. ‘

“It shows a lot about who Zo is. I had the greatest confidence, when I saw him make space for this 3, that he was going to drop it. “

5. On a night when the Bulls’ depth was stretched beyond comfort, Dosunmu stepped up at both ends, totaling 11 points (5 for 6 shots), three rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes on the pine. His energy in defense (with strikes from Paul Millsap and Cam Thomas) and in transition (with two quick lay-ins) erupted in a key stretch between the end of the third and the start of the fourth quarter where the Bulls erased one-to-one. both 11 points deficit. And he scored five points moments later in fourth, once breaking out of midrange to give the Bulls an 87-86 lead, then fending off a miss from DeRozan to extend their lead to 98-94, and ultimately had made a free throw with 9.3 seconds. remaining to give the Bulls a two-possession lead.

Dosunmu’s impact (higher in the game +16 in a four-point win) continues to belittle the fact that he slipped into the Bulls’ round with the 38th pick in the 2021 draft. throws up for big games. Remember, Dosunmu’s career-breaking NBA night came on November 8, when he scored 15 points as the Bulls routed those same Nets at United Center.

6. The Bulls saw several sporadically used reserves play a vital role in the victory, a scorer of a serious group that truly epitomizes the stay ready adage.

Dosunmu made all of the above contributions despite his minute fading for a while as Donovan brought Coby White back into the rotation. Tony Bradley had his first real spin since Nov. 22 and scored two points with three rebounds in seven minutes in the second half. And Troy Brown Jr. scored five points, took six rebounds and distributed three assists, jostling himself on the floor despite a temperamental shooting night.

7. Jones Jr. started the second half in place of Caruso en route to a record 33 minutes. He absorbed Durant’s mission, buried two 3s (scoring eight points in total), and returned four blocks in those ticks, delivering a particularly strong impact during the third quarter, when he hit two shots and threw this out. Dosunmu layup – needed on a night when the Bulls struggled to break away from the transition early.

8. The Bulls gave Brooklyn some scorching returns early in the first quarter, and gave up 10 offensive rebounds and 15 second-chance points in the first half. Donovan said after the game he believed the Nets beat the Bulls with too many loose balls early on.

9. In the second half, however, came some adjustments. The very powerful offense of the Nets finished the night shot just 41.4%, and they got just five offensive rebounds (which produced eight second chance points) between the three and four quarters. The Bulls also boosted their energy up to 10 points of quick braking in the second half versus three in the first half, which helped bolster their offense at key points.

Durant scored 28 points on a 12-for-26 shot (11-for-19 after a 1-for-7 opening quarter) and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20, but the Bulls held Brooklyn enough to hang around and then take them out late.

dix. The way Donovan spoke about the post-game performance is perhaps as revealing of this team’s mentality as Saturday’s result.

“We have to improve,” he said, stressing the need for more consistency instead of making up for the weaknesses of the first two quarters with their impressive second half.

“I’m not going to take a game in mid-December and say it’s amazing,” he added later. “It’s just a game. We have another on Monday.

Yes, that was Donovan after a shorthanded victory over the Eastern Conference seed. This Bulls team has higher aspirations than even that iconic victory mark – this is only Game 24 of the regular season, after all.

So ends the Bulls’ two-game sweep in New York. Next stop: Back home for the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

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