Despite being down 17 points, the Bulls came close to mounting a comeback in Washington.
The Chicago Bulls suffered their first loss on Thursday, losing 102-100 to the Washington Wizards after defeating the Miami Heat in Wednesday’s season-opening game. Here are the key learnings from the game yesterday.
This group is moral
At the start of the third quarter, the Wizards led by 15 points after leading by 6 at the half thanks to back-to-back threes from Kyle Kuzma; Deni Avdija’s two-way play helped Washington go on a run during that time. Yet the Wizards needed Bradley Beal’s right-handed floater with 7.4 seconds left to win their home debut at Capital One Arena.
Billy Donovan, the head coach, said, “The thing that was disappointing coming out of the half was we gave up those two threes, and one of the things that we had spoken about is that we’ve needed to contest.”
DeMar DeRozan almost gave the Bulls the victory, but his last-second 3-point attempt missed out. The team’s comeback attempt was led by the All-Star forward, who scored six points in the final two minutes, including a slam dunk with 30 seconds left that matched the score at 100.
DeRozan added 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists after making history in the first game of the season. He once again established himself as the go-to player for a Chicago squad that displayed great spirit by almost pulling off a significant comeback on the road in the closing minutes.
Even though the Bulls restricted Washington to just 6 points near the conclusion of the third quarter, their inconsistent defence throughout the whole game ultimately prevented them from winning.
In addition to the period stated above to start the second half, the Bulls also permitted Washington to score 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field in the game’s opening four minutes.
The Wizards were able to get the shots they needed late in the game and completed the game shooting 51.2%. With Nikola Vucevic shooting 12-for-12 from the charity stripe, the Bulls shot 41.8% as a team and made 27 of their 33 free throw attempts.
But the Bulls’ head coach is hopeful that the defence will improve once Lonzo Ball, the group’s best outside defender, returns from injury.
LaVine must be used
Together, DeRozan and Vucevic scored 56 points; the big man finished with 24 points and 8 rebounds on 5-for-14 shooting. The Bulls were hurt by the lack of bench support; after scoring 37 points against the Heat, the second unit only scored 27.
Zach LaVine is anticipated to make his season debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, which is fortunate for Chicago as stated by head coach Billy Donovan.
The Bulls’ offence will become more diverse with the addition of a second exceptional scorer. By replacing their injured All-Star at shooting guard with Alex Caruso, who started there, the second unit will also benefit.