With Mitch Kupchak, Tayshaun Prince, Metta Sandiford-Artest and LaVar Ball looking on, your Chicago Bulls handily defeated Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets (featuring middle Ball brother LiAngelo off the bench) Thursday night in Vegas, 89-73.
With the victory, the Bulls improved their Las Vegas Summer League record to 3-1, despite boasting maybe two or three actual NBA-caliber players on their roster.
Starting SummerBulls center Marko Simonovic got off to a hot start, chipping in six of Chicago’s first 10 points as the team traded buckets with Charlotte to kick off the first quarter. Simonovic’s offensive arsenal included a dunk and a turnaround scoop. Hornets point guard Jalen Crutcher chipped in eight of Charlotte’s first 10.
With the score knotted at 10-10, Chicago promptly closed out the frame on a 10-4 tear to finish with a 20-14 margin heading into the second period.
No. 18 pick Dalen Terry continued the trend he started in Tuesday night’s Raptors win, operating effectively as an athletic off-ball cutter and multi-positional defender. Starting point guard Carlik Jones once again took care of primary ball-handling duties.
Here he is proving his mettle on both sides of the ball:
Great defense-to-offense sequence from Dalen Terry. He had a layup the possession prior, and forced a backcourt violation with a timely double-team the next time down https://t.co/bSyvY341D1— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) July 14, 2022
The Bulls really began pulling away from the Hornets in the second quarter, outscoring the Hornets 22-10 during the frame, thanks largely to Terry, Windy City Bulls wing Henri Drell and, yes, fine, Malcolm Hill helped, too. Hill would ultimately finish up with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting plus six rebounds.
The Bulls hit the locker room at the half up big, 42-24.
Chicago maintained its advantage throughout the third quarter. And soon, your SummerBulls got cocky. Suddenly, Summer League MVP (not really) Marko Simonovic was running the floor and nailing trick behind-the-back passes:
Playing a lineup of Ball at the point, bench shooting guard Ty-Shon Alexander, swingman Bryce McGowens (selected at No. 40 out of Nebraska this year), power forward Brady Manek, and promising center Mark Williams (the 15th pick in 2022 out of Duke), Charlotte aimed to close the gap at the start of the fourth quarter, going on a 15-8 run to shrink Chicago’s advantage to 13. The Hornets were facing off against a SummerBulls lineup comprising starter Lewis plus bench perimeter players Ethan Thompson, Sindarius Thornwell and Javon Freeman-Liberty and center Makur Maker.
But your SummerBulls would not be denied, ladies and gentlemen. When the lead shrank, Summer League head coach John Bryant brought the four other starters (Terry, Simonovic, Hill and Carlik Jones) back to join Lewis and secure the victory. Terry, Lewis and Simonovic all did work within the paint. Charlotte never got within single digits of Chicago in the second half.
Perhaps most importantly, Terry finished with his best game of the summer, pouring in 20 points on a hyper-efficient 8-of-12 shooting, mostly off cuts. He did make both of his long- range attempts, to boot. He also pulled down five rebounds, nabbed two steals, grabbed a block and dished out an assist. He was also a defensive menace all over the floor. The Bulls’ other rookie, two-way forward Lewis, went 2-of-7 from the field for six points, but also contributed with six boards and two blocks.
Then there was Marko Simonovic. Outside of one (semi-questionable) travel, the Bulls’ 22-year-old string bean deep bench big man enjoyed another excellent overall game during his second Vegas stint. Simonovic finished with his second double-double in four games, scoring 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting (5-of-7 from the line) and pulling down 13 rebounds. He also distributed four dimes to boot, including the aforementioned highlight-reel behind-the-back dish. Can he actually do this stuff in an NBA game? It has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for Marko in Vegas, but this was a legitimately strong performance.
The Bulls will play one more game to wrap up things in Vegas on either Saturday or Sunday. While they’re tied atop the standings at 3-1, that ugly loss to the Knicks will keep them out of the championship game.