Bulls come up clutch to down Spurs
Daniel Dunn - USA Today Sports

Bulls come up clutch to down Spurs

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - No one said winning basketball games was easy, and the Chicago Bulls (19-22) know that all too well. Despite facing what some would call one of the softest parts of their schedule this season, the Bulls have been locked into some challenging battles, which doesn't bode well for the stress level of the fans.

Sometimes, the Bulls find ways to come out on top, and sometimes, they don't, as this is all part of the grind of an NBA season. Any way you cut it, the Bulls have battled back from a horrendous start to the season to once again put themselves in the play in conversation, leaving the front office with some very tough decisions to make come the deadline.

Coming off a nine-point loss to the Warriors on Friday, the Bulls were back at it Saturday for the second leg of a back-to-back at the AT&T Center to take on the San Antonio Spurs (7-31). With this being a rebuilding year, things have been a struggle for the Spurs, and with prized top pick Victor Wembenyama out of action, the Bulls felt like they caught a break.

Instead, the Spurs gave them all they could handle, erasing a 12-point deficit after one to tie things up heading into the fourth. It was in the final 12 minutes that saw both teams exchange blows down the stretch, but in the end it was the Bulls who managed to make just a few more plays to come out on top 122-116. One of the best parts of the Bulls offense right now is the overall balance they are showing as seven total players landed in double figures including all five starters.

When that happens, you have to like your chances, but Vucevic put the team on his back throughout the game. Whether it be his ability to rebound or do all the little things right, Vooch had an excellent game for the Bulls as he led the team with 24 points and picked up 15 rebounds. He also hit the biggest shot of the game as, his late triple with under a minute to put the Bulls in front 120-116 as that was the final dagger for the Spurs.

Demar DeRozan had the hot hand early as his eight first-quarter points helped the Bulls jump in front early 35-23. DeRozan did cool off in the fourth quarter, but with another 20-point effort, he continues to be Mr. Consistency. With Coby White (15 points), Zach Lavine (10 points), and Alex Caruso (11 points), all five of the Bulls starters came away with double figures, but it was going to take more than that for the Bulls to get the win as they didn't perform particularly well.

Leave it up to the Bulls bench; in particular, two players, Ay,o Dosunmu and Jevon Carter, came up huge. Even with Patrick Williams missing the game with an ankle injury, the Bulls bench came out firing as Carter put together one of his best showings of the season to finish with 14 points and connecting for four triples. Nine of those 14 came in the second quarter, as he got hot early.

Speaking of hot, Dosunmu would get the game ball if they gave those away, as he single-handedly flipped the momentum throughout this game. With three of the Bulls starters struggling to get rolling, Dosunmu picked up the slack as he went 8-9 from the field, including 3-3 from deep, to finish second on the team with 21 points. Andre Drummond also added seven points as the Bulls bench played a massive role in this win.

When you watch this Spurs team play, it is unimaginable how bad they are, especially when Gregg Poppovic is your head coach. Yet, here they are as they continue to go through a massive organizational rebuild. For them to get back on track, Wembenyama will take them out of it, but several other guys need to pick up the slack.

Keldon Johnson remains Mr. Consistent and, with 26 points off the bench, gave the Spurs a much-needed scoring boost. Malaki Branham is another young piece to build around, as he added 14 points off the bench. Combine that with Johnson, and those two finished with 40 combined points, nearly as many points as the entire Bulls bench.

The rest of this Spurs roster is built around young players trying to keep a starting job and veterans looking to stabilize this young team. Guys like Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, and Cedi Osman continue to be the leaders, but if Tre Jones can play the way he did tonight the rest of the way, the Spurs will be in great shape at PG for the future.

Jones was the engine that made this team go, and his massive second and third quarters helped the Spurs erase a double-digit lead before having the Bulls on the ropes late. He led all scorers with 30 points and came one rebound away from a double-double in what was a complete game effort for him. Chicago returns to action Monday as they take on the Red-Hot Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.


Will the real Windy City Bulls (1-6) please stand up? Ever since the first half of the G-League season, known as the showcase ended, this team has been a shell of themselves as their inability to play defense and lack of consistent scoring has shown up at the worst time. Sure, guys like Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips have bounced between the NBA and the G-Leauge, but that is no excuse for how this team has played.

Those struggles continued Saturday against the Delaware Blue Coats (5-2) as the Bulls let a one-point deficit at the half turn into a run away as Windy City fell again 120-108. The only positive to take away from their struggles has been the play of Adama Sogogo, who has earned a chance to be on the Bulls' roster next season.

With 23 points and nine rebounds, he continues to lead Windy City in both categories, as his rookie season has been better than expected. Quentin Jackson and Henri Drell also had strong showings on the court, with Jackson picking up 19 and Drell adding 17. Throw in the 15 from Chris Clemmons off the bench, and Windy City had four guys to lean on, but no one else had any rhythm going, which is a bad thing.

Not only did the Blue Coats have four players in rhythm, with all four nearly outscoring the entire Bulls roster, but Ricky Council stole the show and the Bulls' running circles. Council led the way with 24 points and did so from virtually every spot on the floor. Pair that with Darius Bazley and his 21-point and 10-rebound performance, and the Blue Coats had an outside-inside combination that was nearly impossible to stop as they continue to play well this season.

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