The Chicago Bulls He scored another good win on Wednesday at United Center, going 8-3 with a 117-107 score over the Dallas Mavericks.
Here are 10 notes:
1. The Mavericks missed 10 of their first 12 field goal attempts (and seven of their first eight three-pointers), while the Bulls got off to a strong start, building an 11-point lead. But the Mavericks stuck with the assist of 12-for-13 free throws – the Bulls put them into the bonus quickly – and closed out the period 14-6 with Luka Doncic off the ground to lead 33-32 after one.
2. Nikola Vucevic He followed up his strong final quarter against the Nets with a solid all-round performance, scoring 18 points (8 to 14 shots), 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
It started in the first quarter, when Vucevich collected 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 for 7 paylines. He’s got three deciding looks – first two: backtracking, then a solid drive through Dwight Powell – and out for a pick-and-pop 3 from a feed of Demar DeRozan.
His death appeared throughout as well. In several short laps, Vučević chose 3-point open bowlers to make things easier, highlighting his ability to make play in the Bulls’ offensive line center.
3. Lonzo Pool He came out of the gates hot from distance, made four three-point runs, and sat 5-6 from the deep at the half. He added two of the three balls in the third quarter to enter the fourth 7-for-9, and finished 7-for-10, one less than a career tie. But his 21 points, which are paired well with 6 assists, represent his season’s best.
4. The ball also contributed to a solid defense effort for Dončić, who scored 8 points in a 2-for-9 shot in the first half and finished with 20 points, 10 dimes and a 6-for-18 shooting streak. Dončić missed some shots he usually makes, but the collective effort of Ball, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr. And even Vučević, who came out high to defend screen motions and rolls, was generally effective in forcing him to look tough, at least.
Head coach Billy Donovan was not impressed by the number of times the Bulls sent Doncic and the Mavericks to the free-throw line, but praised his guards’ efforts in defending him.
“He (Dongic) is a tough shooter and sometimes with a guy like that I’ve been at their mercy,” Donovan said. “And he didn’t necessarily have a great attacking night.” “I thought our guys worked on him incredibly hard, I thought they were aggressive at the point of the screen, they worked really hard to get back in front of him.”
5. The Bulls entered play last in the league on 3 attempts (26.9) and 29 on 3 points (9.5 per game), but shot 9 to 17 from distance in the game’s opening two games. By the end of the night, they hit a new season high with 3-pointers in a game with 15 shots, and finished the competition 48.4% in 31 long-range attempts.
6. Alex Caruso He contributed three of those threes (in four attempts), with two of them in a scoring spell between late third quarter and early fourth quarter, when the Bulls swelled their lead from seven in the first inning to 18.—a linear flight after converting a single late third quarter. He doggedly defended Jalen Bronson, who was up 10 points early in the second quarter, but finished with 12 points the entire time.
7. Caruso scored the highest level in the season with 16 points to approach 6 consecutive times, to lead the reserve group that outperformed the Mavericks seat 31-27. As a team, the Bulls put five players into double figures, satisfying Donovan’s stated goal of five to seven players in those classes per game. With victory, the Bulls go 6-0 in matches where they put five or more players into a double.
8. Zach LavigneAlmost quietly, he scored a game-high 23 points from just 12 shots, firing 2-for-2 from 3-point range despite coming into play at 23.1% from distance since injuring his left thumb against the Raptors in game four of the season.
For only the third game of the season, he and DeRozan didn’t cross 20 points, with DeRozan notching 17 to 7 for 20. It was an off-shoot night by his lofty standards at the start of the season, but the rest of the team — basically, Ball, Vučević and Caruso — made up for it. That, a welcome sight.
9. The Showtime Bulls came alive late in season four, with 360 dunks from LaVine (and later drawing a technique for the argument over a no-fault call on previous possession), and an alley oop from Caruso to DeRozan.
That put an interesting cap on the night for United’s raucous center crowd, and concluded another strong second-half effort.
10. In a simple rotational twist: Alice Johnson received 10 minutes of running, and pulled 7 rebounds, in the reserve position. Donovan said he turned to Johnson at the expense of Tony Bradley, for a time, in a game-based decision when the team needed to prioritize switching ball screens against the Mavericks guards. Bradley scored 6 minutes, mostly when Dallas scored a larger lineup.
The Bulls thus enter a grueling five-game West Coast journey 8-3 per season.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Paul said. “For us, it’s just one game at a time. It’s a whole new team. Trying to build a new culture here. And 8-3 isn’t too bad.”
Next up: At Golden State Warriors on Friday.
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