Simonovic has a promising future with the Bulls (Stephen Sylvanie - USA Today Sports)
Simonovic has a promising future with the Bulls (Stephen Sylvanie - USA Today Sports)

Simonovic leads Bulls to OT win in Summer League opener


by - Senior Writer -

LAS VEGAS - It is that time again as the 2022 NBA Summer League is underway. This is when rookies, second-year players, and G League stars try to make a name for themselves with hopes of linking onto an NBA team this season.

For the Bulls, the Summer League will be all about finding the right depth combinations as a large chunk of their NBA roster is set in stone while some of the bench needs to be filled. With Rookies Dalen Terry and Justin Lewis headlining the group, the second-year man Marco Simonovic stole the show as he put the Bulls on his back.

In what could be a crucial year for him as a player, Simonovic was on a mission as he led the way with 27 points to go with 13 rebounds while adding two blocks. Although he did run into foul trouble, coming away with six fouls, his game-winning free throw lifted the Bulls over the Dallas Mavericks 100-99.

It was a battle of two halves, as the Bulls saw their four-point first-quarter lead turn into a 14-point halftime deficit, with Dallas outscoring them 30-12 in the second quarter. Once the second quarter began, the Bulls started to chip away, outscoring the Mavericks by eight in the third and six in the fourth to force overtime before coming away with the win.

While Simonovic led the way for Chicago, Malcolm Hill also put on a solid showing after spending some time on the NBA roster last season. He came away with 18 points to go with six rebounds, as he could be one of those wild card players this season. Speaking of a wild card player, former Dallas guard Carlik Jones has the potential to be a real spark plug for this team.

Similar in skillset to Derrick Jones Jr, who the Bulls just resigned, Jones had a rough night from the field, but still managed to finish with six points. However, when it comes to Bulls fans, all eyes will be on the Rookies Terry and Lewis this summer as they eagerly await to see what they can do.

Terry flashed plenty of potential in displaying a tremendous all-around game. He finished with nine points, six assists, and added five rebounds to his name. Lewis added eight points and eight rebounds as he also has great potential. Another name that Bulls fans want to see is Chicago native Javon Freeman-Liberty.

The former DePaul guard may not have started, but he led the bench in scoring while finishing as the final double-digit scorer picking up 11 points off the bench. Justin Wright-Foreman added eight points off the bench to give the Bulls a decent enough scoring attack to make things happen.

It will be an interesting season for the Mavericks, especially coming off the year, they had last year. They made the first big splash this offseason by trading for Christian Wood, and now it will be about rounding out the rest of that roster to pair with Luka Doncic and Wood.

The Bulls may have had Simonovic, but the Mavericks had a dynamic duo in the rookies Jaden Hardy and A.J Lawson as they combined for 56 points, 28 each. Hardy was more of a one-trick pony, but did turn the ball over six times, while Lawson had more of a complete game. Those would be the only double-digit scorers the Bulls would have, as they had three other players finish with eight points in the loss.

The Bulls will return to the court Sunday when they take on the New York Knicks.

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