The Bulls came back to their home court for the first time since November 21st, and while they didn’t look that good for much of the night they eventually turned it on in the 4th quarter to hold off the Washington Wizards for a 115-111 victory.
This game probably shouldn’t have been that close, the Wizards were without Bradley Beal and are kinda crappy overall. The Caruso-fied starting lineup actually produced a double-digit lead instead of the substantial deficits we’ve been used to.
But while the Wiz were missing tons of threes and turning over the ball a ton, the Bulls were seemingly looking to match them in ineptitude.
Lot of careless basketball by Bulls tonight. 16 turnovers leading to 26 points so far.— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) December 8, 2022
This one was particularly emblematic. Just as it looks like Bulls might pull away, they let Wizards back in. pic.twitter.com/k59QG23gj5
The Bulls wound up with 19 turnovers, 10 of them in the second quarter alone. But the Wizards had 18 and put up a Bullsian mark from three going 9/31 (29%). What kept Washington close beyond the Bulls also coughing the ball up was the fouling. In both the 2nd and 3rd quarters the Bulls had hit the 5-foul bonus very early. Andre Drummond had a spectacular 5 minute stretch in the first half where he committed 4 fouls. Some of it was straight up physicality by the likes of Kyle Kuzma, but also there were a couple very difficult players to officiate in Kristaps Porzingis and Alex Caruso. Running Porzingis in pick and roll like the Wizards like to do caused countless ‘interactions’ between him and Bulls defenders, and while he had 4 fouls of his own he also went to the line for 16 attempts (hitting 12).
Due to another awful game from Drummond, the Bulls actually went center-less for a stretch in the 4th and the larger Wizards bench (Taj Gibson hit a 3! that brought a smile even considering the closeness of the contest) got them their largest lead of the night at 6.
But then the Bulls ‘big’ 3 really heated up for the final 7 or so minutes. Zach LaVine hit three triples in a row, Vuc another, and DeMar DeRozan then took over for the final few possessions.
A late 7-0 run and corralling a couple offensive rebounds shut the door on Washington for good in this one.
That final push brought a lot of players to nice stat lines that were looking not very good before then. After slow starts, all of DeRozan, LaVine, and Vucevic got to 25 points for the evening. Caruso had a great impact (with the starters!) with a team-high +17 having just 4 shot attempts and 5 points but a huge 4 steals and 9 assists.
Caruso nutmegged Avdija on this pass that led to a Patrick Williams dunk pic.twitter.com/Z34LCvfXaJ— Will Gottlieb (@Will_Gottlieb) December 8, 2022
The Bulls went 4-6 from three in that 4th quarter to get to 35 points in the final period, and overall were 10/23 (43.5%) from beyond the arc in this game.
This was a much needed victory considering the opponent and other schedule circumstances. It was looking like the Bulls would play somewhat better but still cough up the game, but nobody out-cough-ups the Wiz. It wasn’t exactly an impressive performance by the Bulls, but it was perhaps some of that balancing out we’ve been looking for where the clutch ‘luck’ went their way in this game.
Chicago gets another couple days off and hosts Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Saturday night.