Tonight, Zach LaVine started to really look like All-Star Zach LaVine again, turning in his most clutch performance of the year thus far in a late-game Chicago Bulls Barclays Center victory over the reeling Brooklyn Nets, 108-99. With the victory, Chicago returned to a .500 record for the young season at 4-4.
Ayo Dosunmu returned to the fold after incurring a thoracic contusion that kept him sidelined in the Bulls’ Saturday loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Patrick Williams, of all people, had a fairly aggressive first half, scoring eight points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field. He did also have some sloppy turnovers, but it was nice to see him looking to handle the ball a bit more than usual.
With Coby White a late scratch, Goran Dragic’s minutes proved more crucial than usual. He was a huge help in the first half, knocking down 3-of-4 triples and a long corner jumper. He finished the first half with 13 points.
DeMar DeRozan showed off his continued midrange prowess, going 4-of-9 from the floor, mostly on jumpers, and knocking down 3-of-3 free throws, for a total of 11 points in the first half. LaVine went an efficient 4-of-8 from the field through the game’s first two quarters, scoring nine points.
The two clubs traded buckets for much of the game’s first half, with the Bulls as usual failing to contain Brooklyn’s three-point shooters. The Nets nailed 47.4% of their triples in the opening half, and made 51.4% of their total field goal tries. Chicago benefitted from playing against one of the worst defenses in the league though, connecting on 44.4% of their field goals in the game’s initial two frames.
Brooklyn finished the first half leading 58-52. Nets All-NBA forward Kevin Durant chipped in 20 of those points for Brooklyn.
The Nets nearly pulled away in the third quarter, at one point leading by as many as 12, but Chicago came roaring back, thanks to a balanced scoring effort.
In the fourth quarter, instead of falling apart as had been the case over the team’s past two losses, the club came together in a big way, thanks in large part to Zach LaVine going supernova. Chicago outscored Brooklyn 33-17 in the frame, with LaVine outscoring the Nets by himself, 20-17.
Zach had scored just nine points on 4-of-11 shooting through the game’s first three periods (he had scored nothing in the third quarter), but then scored a whopping 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the fourth frame alone. Overall, Zach Attack went 5-of-11 on triples. He also nailed all four of his charity stripe looks. For good measure, he also chipped in five dimes and four rebounds. He looked comfortable and confident, and that knee sure seemed to be handling everything just fine.
Here's one minute of Zach LaVine going absolutely supernova in the 4th quarter for your viewing pleasure pic.twitter.com/x5ODKfEFOh— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 2, 2022
Ayo Dosunmu had a game-sealing steal of Kevin Durant with the Bulls leading 106-97, the team then burnt some clock before DeRozan drove in for a layup, which he bungled — only for Nikola Vucevic to swing in for the putback. Chicago was up 108-97 with 49 seconds left, played solid defense on the next possession, and that was all she wrote. With the loss, the Nets fall to a 2-6 record on the year.
Four of the Bulls’ five starters scored in double figures, the lone exception being Nikola Vucevic, who nevertheless proved essential for Chicago in snagging 15 of the Bulls’ 45 rebounds, which happily outpaced the Nets’ 38 total boards. LaVine and DeRozan both scored 20+, while Dosunmu chipped in 17 points, four assists, three rebounds and three rebounds. He also effectively hounded All-Star Nets point guard Kyrie Irving all night long. Check out his active fourth quarter play, recapped courtesy of old pal Mark Karantzoulis:
Ayo in the fourth: 4 points, 2 assists, 2 steals— Mark K (@mkhoops) November 2, 2022
Not huge numbers, but his activity on both ends -- along with LaVine going nuts -- changed the game. pic.twitter.com/CyvO69aL2R
Among the Bulls’ other double-digit scorers, Patrick Williams had one of his more complete games of the year, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Dragic finished with 15 points off the bench.
Durant finished with 32 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 12-12 free throws, while several other Nets players enjoyed strong shooting nights, Kyrie Irving was not one of them. Irving, now one of the least likable players currently in the NBA for off-court reasons, scored just four points total on 2-of-12 shooting and posted a Nets-worst -14 on the night. Good riddance.
Tonight represented the first game of yet another back-to-back set for Chicago. It’s key that the Bulls nabbed the W, as Zach LaVine seems likely to be sat tomorrow when the team hosts the visiting (and surprisingly scrappy) Charlotte Hornets, who have posted a 3-4 record on the year while missing their best player.