After finding themselves down six against the San Antonio Spurs to start the fourth quarter, the Chicago Bulls were in need for a major offensive spark. Then, as he has countless times this season, and again with Zach LaVine out of the lineup, DeMar DeRozan put on his Superman cape and led his team to victory. DeRozan had 19 points in the fourth en route to another 40-point performance. He helped wake Chicago out of their slump as they outscored the Spurs by 17 in the final quarter to win 120-109 for their third straight win.
DeRozan was impressive all around, notching seven assists and went 16 of 24 from the field. He struggled a bit with his shot for the first three quarters and even picked up a technical foul in third. But once again when the fourth started, he turned into an automatic bucket getter. DeRozan as getting to his spots and was knocking down shot after shot no matter how many Spurs were in his face. It was another performance which put him in the upper echelon of all-time Bulls scorers.
DeMar DeRozan has scored 35 or more points in 6 straight games.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 15, 2022
It’s the third-longest such streak in franchise history behind two longer ones from Michael Jordan.
Nikola Vucevic notched another double double of 25 points and 16 rebounds as he continues his recent stretch of great offensive production. He did struggle from three-point land, shooting just one of seven, but was efficient when it came to shooting in the paint and off post-ups. Vucevic continues to impress after his early season troubles. He looks like a completely different player now in terms of confidence and with Zach LaVine out, the Bulls need this version of Vucevic to keep it up.
Coby White had 11 points in the first quarter to kickstart Chicago and finished with 24 for the game, to go with six assists and five rebounds. He struggled with foul trouble but came up with some key plays late, including a dagger three with 48.7 seconds left. Ayo Dosunmu had issues with fouls as well and even picked up his sixth one late in the fourth, but he still finished with 12 points to go with four assists and three rebounds plus solid defense on Dejounte Murray.
As they did against Minnesota and OKC, the Bulls defense stepped up in key moments. Chicago allowed just 20 points in the fourth, outscoring their opponents by 17. They forced the Spurs into four turnovers after San Antonio committed only just three in the first 36 minutes. The Bulls were flying to the ball and also did their best to pound the glass on defense along with altering shots at the rim. As we all know, they continue to navigate that end of the floor without Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso so it’s nice to see the Bulls have another solid closing defensive performance.
Javonte Green was the only starter to not score in double digits with just seven points but he made an impact in other ways. He had nine rebounds including four of them on the offensive end. The Bulls continue to benefit from his constant hustle and energy, which often leads to second chance points or easy dunks at the rim.
Although they got just 12 points from the bench, the Bulls still got good minutes from two of their key guys. Troy Brown Jr. had eight points but also contributed with six rebounds while Derrick Jones Jr. continues to work his way back from a finger injury with seven boards and four points, including a key basket in the fourth where he also drew a foul. Tony Bradley and Matt Thomas played sparingly, combining for just 10 minutes total, as the injury-riddled Bulls are keeping a very tight playing rotation.
Chicago as a team shot 52.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from downtown. They continue to be near automatic at the line, hitting 18 of their 21 attempts. The Bulls thoroughly out-rebounded by a 53-33 margin.
It wasn’t all perfect on offense as they committed 16 turnovers, which San Antonio turned into 20 points. The Spurs played well for the first three quarters but faltered down the stretch, as they have been a poorly-performing clutch team all year (though did close out the Bulls in San Antonio last month). The Spurs had five players in double digits led by the 21 of Lonnie Walker IV. Murray had 19 points and 11 assists while former Bull Doug McDermott had 19 after starting the game on fire.
With all of the injuries and games being played, the All-Star break can’t get here fast enough for Chicago. But they are picking up key wins all the while behind DeRozan’s heroics and Vucevic turning around his season. They have one more game before the break as they host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.