DeRozan’s great 4th quarter pushes the bulls past the wizards – NBC Chicago

10 observations: DeRozan leads Bulls past Wizards originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

the Chicago Bulls needed a win in the worst possible way on Tuesday night when they visited the Washington Wizards.

And though it was close until the stretch run, the Bulls got just that, sprinting to victory behind a prolific fourth quarter by DeMar DeRozan. A great way to end a hectic road trip.

Here are 10 comments:

1. Billy Donovan repeated it ad nauseam during his pre-game and post-game media sessions: the Bulls need to get Nikola Vucevic involved to operate with maximum offensive effectiveness.

How about 15 points and 11 field goal attempts in 10 minutes in the first quarter in that regard?

It wasn’t just that Vučević was scoring early, it was that the Bulls were intentionally locating him, especially on the inside. Twelve of Vučević’s first-quarter points came in the paint, where Washington had no answer, from Kristaps Porziņģis to Daniel Gafford.

“We talked about it a bit at the breakfast meeting this morning, just to get it off to an early start,” Donovan said. “He really carried us in the first half offensively because we struggled to get the ball off.”

“Once he gets into it, it makes everyone’s job easier,” DeRozan said.

Unlike some recent games, the focus on feeding the big man didn’t diminish as the game progressed. Vučević entered the locker room at halftime with a game-high 20 points, then added seven. others in the third quarter – and although he didn’t score in the fourth, he provided two assists in the final five minutes as the team raced. offense through him in the middle of the floor.

Vučević’s 27 points (on 12-for-19 effective shooting) are the most he has scored in a game since losing 31 to Oklahoma City on Feb. 12. It happened at an opportune time.

2. Why? Well, for starters, the Bulls really needed a win.

And two, in a reverse dynamic from Monday’s loss to the Knicks, DeRozan and Zach LaVine initially lagging behind in the ratings department. DeRozan shot 2 for 12 from the field in the first half, while LaVine went scoreless on 0 for 3 shooting – other than the Jan. 14 game against the Warriors which he left due to a injury, his first half without a point since December 2019.

3. It also made the more pronounced contributions from the bench all the more impactful. Coby White got off to a good start, scoring seven of his nine points in the first half. Javonte Green threw a slew of signature dunks. patrick williams and Tristan Thompson each had strong drives and finishes.

In total, the Bulls’ reserves had 28 points, but 20 of them came before halftime, at which point the team led 51-46. That more than doubles the 11 bench points they had throughout the game in New York.

4. Similar to the Knicks game, however, the second half started with an opposing run. The Wizards scored seven unanswered points in the first 1:39 of the third quarter, prompting a timeout from Donovan, and eventually opened the period 10-2 to take a 56-53 lead.

The two teams traded blows from there, with the Bulls eventually entering fourth ahead 75-73.

5. But this third quarter is where DeRozan found his footing, scoring a team-high nine points. Then he really fired up in the fourth, submitting 14 of his eventual 32 points to push the Bulls to a 32-21 advantage in the final frame – and a 13-point victory.

Those points came mostly in familiar fashion, with eight coming through midrange pull-up jumpers. DeRozan also deflected a pass and carried a forward pass from White for a quick dunk that first made it a double digit game.

“I feel a change when the fourth quarter starts,” DeRozan said. “It’s like a different game for me. I try to approach it, mentally, where you know it’s all going to pick up. And I do the opposite. I’m trying to slow down.”

In all, he shot 10 for 15 from the field in the second half (6 for 7 in the fourth) after his slow start, a remarkable turnaround that propelled his team to victory.

6. The Bulls’ perimeter defense was far from perfect. The wizard wings – from Rui Hachimura to Kentavious Caldwell Pope – and the guards – Ish Smith – enjoyed clean lanes for much of the night, and despite shooting from 3 points (6 for 26 ), Washington went 60.4% inside the arc to stay in the game until the stretch run.

But the Bulls were opportunistic, forcing 14 turnovers from Wizards and scoring 21 points on them – a staple of this team’s two-way offense on the buzz. Nine of those 14 turnovers came by way of theft. Alex Caruso led the way in this department with three. DeRozan and Green each caught two.

7. Donovan was also happier with his team’s ball movement, which was a point of attention as they tried to break out of their post-All-Star offensive funk. Their 26 assists against the Wizards are the most they’ve tallied since they had 28 in a home win over the Raptors on March 21. That helped them make up 6 for 18 3-pointers to convert 50.6% of their field goal attempts overall.

8. Going into Tuesday, Williams’ minutes had dwindled game after game in his five appearances since returning from wrist rehab – and in the last two his rotation has changed to zero ticks in the first quarter.

Donovan has repeatedly touted patience with Williams as the 20-year-old finds his timing after a five-month absence, but he also offered Williams a plan to increase his minutes.

“For the minutes he’s getting, we need Patrick all the way,” Donovan said before the game. “Whether it’s 12 minutes or 25 minutes, you know? A big part has to be, what does he do with the minutes he gets… There is, with young players, a very, very fine line between just giving a guy something (minutes) without him earning it .

Williams didn’t end this one with a garish stat line — six points, seven rebounds, a steal, and a plus-minus +8 — but clearly the message that he needed to play harder, according to the Donovan’s words, was received. . He crushed the offensive glass for three possession extension boards, provided timely and focused assist defense throughout, and had that solid touch finish driving a scrambling Wizarding defense as they tried to get to each other. recover from doubling DeRozan:

In turn, Williams recorded 25 minutes, his best since returning, and was part of the team’s closing line-up.

9. The Bulls end the five-game road trip 2-3, with wins over the Cavaliers and Wizards, and losses to the Bucks, Pelicans and Wizards. They are 18-22 on the road for the season, but are now entering a five-game homestand before closing out the regular season at Minnesota on April 10.

ten. A loss to the Wizards would have dropped the Bulls to sixth place in the Eastern Conference behind the Raptors. Instead, they leave the nation’s capital half a game ahead of Toronto and 1.5 ahead of the Cavaliers, who sit in seventh place — and the top seed in the qualifying tournament.

Next up: At home for the Clippers, who just brought Paul George back from an extended injury absence on Thursday.

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