The Chicago Bulls suffered their first loss, losing to the Washington Wizards 102-100, after defeating the Miami Heat in the season opening on Wednesday. Here are the key learnings from the game yesterday.
THIS TEAM HAS CHARACTERThe Wizards led by six points at the half, and Kyle Kuzma’s back-to-back threes increased their advantage to fifteen points to begin the third quarter. Deni Avdija’s two-way performance enabled Washington to go on a run during that time. Yet the Wizards needed Bradley Beal’s right-handed floater with 7.4 seconds left to win their home debut at Capital One Arena.
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DeMar DeRozan‘s 3-point effort at the final second rimmed off, costing the Bulls a chance to win it. The team’s comeback attempt was led by the All-Star forward, who scored six points in the final two minutes, including a slam dunk with 30 seconds left that matched the score at 100.
DeRozan added 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists after making history in the first game of the season. He once again established himself as the go-to player for a Chicago squad that displayed great spirit by almost pulling off a significant comeback on the road in the closing minutes.
Even though the Bulls restricted Washington to just 6 points near the conclusion of the third quarter, their inconsistent defense throughout the whole game ultimately prevented them from winning.
In addition to the period stated above to start the second half, the Bulls also permitted Washington to score 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field in the game’s opening four minutes.
The Wizards were able to get the shots they needed late in the game and completed the game shooting 51.2%. Nikola Vucevic set a new career high by going 12-for-12 from the line as the Bulls shot 41.8% as a team and made 27 of their 33 free throw attempts.
The Bulls head coach, though, is hopeful that the defense will improve once Lonzo Ball, the team’s top perimeter defender, returns from injury.
DeRozan and Vucevic combined for 56 points; the big man scored 24 points and grabbed 8 rebounds on 5-for-14 shooting. LAVINE IS NEEDED. The Bulls were hurt by the lack of bench support; after scoring 37 points against the Heat, the second unit only scored 27.
Fortunately for Chicago, head coach Billy Donovan stated that Zach LaVine is anticipated to play in his first game of the season on Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Bulls’ offense will become more diverse with the addition of a second exceptional scorer. It will also enhance the second unit by substituting Alex Caruso, a starter at shooting guard, for their injured All-Star.