After a tough performance on Monday, the Chicago Bulls offense responded big time in a 130-122 win over the Washington Wizards. After watching their lead slip away in the third the Bulls picked things back up to end the quarter nicely. They then came out firing in the fourth to turn the game into a blowout although the final score indicates otherwise (thanks to a late Wizards run in garbage time).
The Bulls were scorching hot offensively. They had six guys score double digits led by the 27 points of Zach LaVine. As a team Chicago shot 52.7 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three. They were also moving the ball well, turning good shots into great shots, generating 34 assists on 48 made baskets. Ayo Dosunmu had one of his best games as a pro, scoring 18 points on seven of nine shooting while playing solid defense on Bradley Beal. Coby White had another huge game with 21 points off the bench including going four of four from three. He’s continued to play well since the start of the winning streak and has looked like a completely different player.
I am really happy for Coby White. He’s been through so much: two years of Jim Boylen, a torn labrum this offseason, trying to find his place on a really good veteran team, an immediate shooting slump, catching Covid, ect. Now he’s playing the best ball of his career on both ends— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) January 8, 2022
Nikola Vucevic racked up another double double of 16 points and 14 rebounds. He also added seven assists and had active hands, grabbing four steals. Lonzo Ball took all of his 11 shot attempts from three, making six of them. He also had six dimes and five boards.
Start of the game saw both teams come out on fire offensively with each scoring over 30 in the quarter. On the Bulls side, they weren’t playing up to their usual standard defensively but also they were also keeping pace with the Wizards by knocking down shots on the other side. The absence of Alex Caruso and Javonte Green was massively on display throughout the game and it started early. Washington was able to get into the lane fairly easily and attacked Chicago’s pick and roll defense. The teams traded taking the lead as we kept seeing made basket after made basket on each possession. Chicago was able to build up a small lead thanks to a late quarter spurt, fueled by a three-point play by White and Troy Brown Jr. splashing a three soon after. It was a five point Bulls advantage after one despite Chicago not playing at its best.
The second quarter was another offensive flurry. Chicago scored 36 but the problem was the Wizards had 34 of their own. The Bulls opened on a 7-0 run to extend the lead to double digits and looked to have taken control of the game. But Washington kept fighting back as Spencer Dinwiddie took the reins of the offense. He scored 14 points in the second quarter alone to keep the deficit from getting out of hand. Dinwiddie scored a floater to make it a four point game with under a minute to go, putting some pressure on Chicago. The Bulls did end the half on a good note as White splashed a three in the dying seconds to make it a seven point lead. Again, it was another testament to how far Chicago has come as a team. Even on nights where they aren’t playing that well they still are winning games.
The Bulls came out of the locker room sluggish to start the third. Washington went on a 9-2 run as Chicago’s offense went ice cold and suddenly the lead had vanished. Daniel Gafford scored in the lane with 6:14 left in the quarter to give the Wizards an 83-82 lead. Suddenly things got a bit tense at the United Center but this is also when the Bulls offense started to pick up. Ball hit two three-pointers on consecutive possessions before LaVine went into takeover mode. He scored the next seven points for the Bulls to help build the lead back up to eight points. Then it was White’s turn to go on a scoring frenzy. He scored six of Chicago’s final eight points in the quarter, including a floater which beat the buzzer. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, thanks to their offense, the Bulls had turned a tight contest into a double digit lead.
After what happened to start the previous quarter, Chicago made sure not to repeat the same mistake. Instead they put their foot on the gas and kept extending the lead. The Bulls went on an 11-2 run at around the nine minute mark and blew the game wide open. Vucevic hit a jumper with 6:49 to go and made it a 20 point advantage for the home team. Each time the Wizards made a basket, Chicago responded with one of their own. The Bulls were absolutely hot from the field and kept it going all the way until the end of the bench guys were subbed in. After Ayo Dosunmu stole a pass at the halfway line and dunked it home, Washington called timeout, subsequently subbing out their starters in the process. The Bulls responded with the same a minute later. We even saw minutes from Marko Simonovic and Alfonzo McKinnie near the end as well.
DeMar DeRozan struggled a bit in this game. He only had 15 points and only went five of 16 from the field. However, as he has showed, even when he’s not scoring he’s still making an offensive impact with eight assists. Derrick Jones Jr. only played 16 minutes, with just two points and three rebounds. He struggled with foul trouble often during the game.
The bench as a whole gave Chicago a real boost. It was not just all White and Dosunmu. In fact the unit as a whole went 20 of 25 from the field to combine for 52 points. Tony Bradley, who made his return to the rotation, had eight points along with four rebounds. He was available for dump off passes down the baseline and took advantage. TBJ continued to impress in the minutes he’s given with five points along with solid defense and energy.
As for Washington, they had all of their starters score in double figures with Beal scoring 26. Kyle Kuzma had 21 points while Gafford scored 14 and grabbed eight rebounds.
This was a solid win for the Bulls. They were able to rebound from shaky moments and once again display their offensive firepower. Chicago was able to get amazing minutes and scoring from their bench tonight along with most of their starters. They displayed the ability to once again break games open when they want to with their opportunistic defense leading to easy scores and offensive runs on the other end. The winning streak is still alive and the Bulls are looking like one of the best teams in the league. They will look to continue it against the Mavericks in a Sunday night in Dallas.