After Monday’s disappointing loss to the Houston Rockets, the Chicago Bulls continued their streak of playing hard against the top teams in the NBA. This time they rallied from a 15 point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 119-113.
Chicago looked all but out of the game when it was 94-79 with eight minutes left and things looked even bleaker at the three minute mark as it was a nine point game. But the Bulls staged a furious comeback, thanks to huge shots form Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, and DeMar DeRozan.
The Bulls still had work to do with 11 seconds and down two without the ball. After taking their first foul to give, DeRozan made the play of the game:
DeMar steals it and Ayo slams it. WE ARE TIED! pic.twitter.com/Dgen5H26nn— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) December 29, 2022
In the extra period, DeRozan put the team on his back, scoring 10 points in the frame and delivering anytime the Bulls called on him. However his biggest play was an assist to Vucevic for a three-pointer with 1:28 left. It was a basket which would give Chicago the lead for good.
Up until maybe the final minute, it looked like a clear Bulls loss as the Bucks, without Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, were dominant physically and totally controlled the glass grabbing a whopping 22 offensive rebounds. Without his 2 best teammates, Giannis went extra and got 22 rebounds to go with 45 points from Giannis along with a whopping 22 rebounds.
On the Bulls side, DeRozan led the way with 42 points and did so in classic fashion. He went 15 of 25 from the field and knocked down 12 shots from the free throw line. He notched a double double with 10 rebounds and added five assists. He contributed on the defensive end with two steals and two blocks. There was even added drama from DDR as he confronted Grayson Allen in the third quarter after Allen ran into him after being pushed himself by Williams. DeMar didn’t like it one bit and headed straight for Allen before being cut off by Antetokounmpo and Wesley Matthews.
Zach LaVine had 24 points on eight of 18 shooting with four makes from downtown. He added four assists and had two rebounds. Nikola Vucevic was the only other starter to score double digits with 15 points and 14 rebounds. He also protected the paint with three blocks.
Goran Dragic led the bench in scoring with 12 points while Andre Drummond pulled down 13 rebounds in 16 minutes of action. Javonte Green played 17 minutes in his return, but the bench suffered an injury in his place as Coby White left in the first half with a right leg injury and didn’t return.
As a team the Bulls shot 45.7 percent from the field but made just nine three-pointers. Luckily the Bucks made the same amount...in double the attempts (44).
This victory now puts the Bulls at 7-1 against the teams in the East they couldn’t seem to beat last season (Bucks, Celtics, Nets, Heat). It’s a sort of reverse from last year where the Bulls are struggling to win the easy games but always seem to bring their best for the big occasions. This was a win pulled from the jaws of defeat for Chicago. It was similar to the rally they had against the Clippers last season where they suddenly caught fire in the fourth quarter, made clutch plays late, and won in overtime.
While it is a great victory for the Bulls, they have to find more consistency in their play. One has to hope that maybe this win can potentially spark their season, but we’ve said that before.
Chicago continues its homestand on Friday as they host the Detroit Pistons.