Another day, another horrible, no good, very bad collapse for your Chicago Bulls.
Jamal Murray capped a furious Denver Nuggets comeback in the fourth quarter with a hero 3-pointer in the final second of regulation to send a game the Bulls had in control into overtime:
The Bulls’ collapse in regulation started with a flagrant foul up 14 with around seven and a half minutes left. Coby White got into Michael Porter Jr.’s air space on a 3-point shot ... and then it was a crap show from there.
Porter hit two of his three free throws, and the Nuggets also got possession and proceeded to score on a Murray layup off a great pass from Nikola Jokic. After being in control for three and a half quarters, the Bulls promptly unraveled late just like the previous game against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Nuggets went on a 19-4 run, with a Jamal Murray 3-pointer (kind of a theme of the night) with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter giving them a 108-107 lead. It was Denver’s first lead since 8:21 in the first quarter.
The Bulls actually didn’t completely fold from here. They actually went back up six with 45.6 seconds to play. But a Nikola Jokic 3-pointer followed by an exceedingly ugly Zach LaVine turnover put the Nuggets in position to tie the game at the end of regulation. Murray did just that, with Thaddeus Young unfortunately falling asleep on defense to let him free.
The Nuggets scored the first nine points of overtime before Zach LaVine made one last charge, but Jokic and Murray closed the door in crunch time of OT. Murray and Jokic finished the game with 34 points apiece, while LaVine led Bulls scorers with 32 points on 10-for-20 from the field with four assists.
The Bulls actually got a big game from Otto Porter Jr., who put up 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Notably, it was Porter and Thaddeus Young closing this game in the frontcourt, with Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter watching from the bench. That’s not ideal when thinking about the future of this franchise, and Ryan Arcidiacono closing overtime was just another indictment of this roster that badly needs a legitimate point guard to help organize the offense when things go bad. Tomas Satoransky didn’t do much in this game, and while White had an efficient shooting night (17 points on 7-of-13 shooting, 3-of-3 from 3), his disastrous play in the fourth quarter played a big role in the meltdown.
The Bulls are now 2-4 since the All-Star break, with all four losses of the especially ugly variety. The good vibes from that starting lineup change that led to two straight wins is quickly wearing off.
Sure enough, Billy Donovan was pissed off after this latest collapse:
So, I’ll ask the question again: How long can the Bulls use the ‘we’re still young and trying to learn how to win games’ excuse before it gets stale?