The Bulls got off to a slow start against the Raptors in Toronto on Sunday night, giving up 38 points in the first quarter and falling behind by as many as 12. It was a 10-point deficit at halftime as Chicago racked up a whopping 16 first-half turnovers. But as the Raptors’ offense melted down after their hot first quarter, the Bulls got cooking in the second half and ran away with a 115-98 victory.
What sparked the Bulls in that second half? There was a whole lot of Javonte Green and ... Andre Drummond 3-pointers?!?!
Green didn’t play in the first half as Billy Donovan went with Derrick Jones Jr. as the starting power forward, with Patrick Williams coming off the bench for him. Donovan then turned to Green to start the third quarter, and he immediately made an impact as the Bulls got back in the game. He then took over down the stretch and finished with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 16 minutes. Two of those points were VERY loud:
LOOK WHERE HE TOOK OFF FROM!!@NBCSChicago | @2Xtremebounce pic.twitter.com/Dt33qfJa4a— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 10, 2022
The Bulls outscored the Raptors by 27 points in Green’s 16 minutes. He was everything everywhere all at once, finding his way around the ball just about every possession. He even showed some off-the-dribble juice and hit a 3-pointer off a screen:
Dude is now making moves off the bounce and finishing at the rim what is going on pic.twitter.com/kh5H9R3oAL— Mark K (@mkhoops) October 10, 2022
just casually drilling 3s off the screen and catch pic.twitter.com/4wVid5Ubep— Mark K (@mkhoops) October 10, 2022
Green now has 50 points on 17-of-22 shooting in the preseason, and he’s doing all he can to earn the starting power forward spot. While benching Williams last game was rather controversial, there’s no doubt that Green has outplayed Pat by a mile and has staked his claim to the job. Williams was bad in this one, scoring six points on 1-of-8 shooting and doing little else. He had a few aggressive drives to the basket to draw fouls, but he also struggled at times to control the ball on drives and wasn’t close on most of his shot attempts.
Then there’s Drummond, who hit not one, not two, but THREE triples in this game, with two of them coming early in the fourth quarter when the game was still close. He didn’t hit rim on any of them, splashing them through the net like he’s not career 13.2% 3-point shooter. This was made all the more hilarious by the fact that Drummond missed his other two attempts, a pair of layups, badly. He finished with nine points and nine rebounds in 15 minutes. Will Andre Drummond 3-Point Shooter actually be a thing in the regular season? Stay tuned!
The Bulls also got another big performance from, who else, DeMar DeRozan. The former Raptors star did it all, going for 21/8/8 on 7-of-12 shooting and 7-of-7 from the line. He also racked up three thefts. He’s already in midseason form, especially when it comes to drawing phantom fouls.
Nikola Vucevic’s stellar preseason continued with 13/9/2, and Ayo Dosunmu played an aggressive game with 14/7/5. Ayo matched Green’s +27 in the box score in 29 minutes and was part of a closing group that featured those two, Coby White, Dalen Terry and DJJ. This unit blasted the Raptors’ scrubs to smithereens, using their relentless activity and even some 3-point shooting to pull away. Terry can sometimes be a bit out of control, but he just makes stuff happen and is making his own case for rotation minutes. White didn’t shoot the ball well (3-of-10) and had four turnovers, but he also had six assists and forced the issue a lot in positive ways. Goran Dragic got the night off for rest after he played well against the Nuggets, giving the young guards more of an opportunity.
Zach LaVine had another quiet game as he continues to work his way back from his knee surgery. He’s clearly not quite himself yet and really struggled with turnovers in the first half, coughing the ball up five times and also getting two jumpers blocked. The Bulls as a team made a lot of careless passes in the first two quarters, struggling to even make simple entry passes. They tightened things up a bit more in the second half, though, finishing with 24 turnovers after racking up those 16 in the first half. The Bulls shot nearly 60% from the field and 8-of-16 from 3-point range over the last two frames.
The Bulls are now 2-1 in the preseason and have one last exhibition game before opening the season in Miami on Oct. 19. A home date against the Bucks at the United Center on Tuesday will wrap up the preseason slate.