Drew Stevens breaks down the three biggest reasons why the Bulls were able to pick up a win they desperately needed last night.
Joshua M. Hicks & Drew Stevens wrap last nights 115-111 W over the Wizards from the United Center.
Words by Drew Stevens
Coming off a six-game road trip in which they bagged just two victories, the Chicago Bulls (10-14) badly needed to find the win column back home at the United Center Wednesday.
And they did just that, albeit in discomforting fashion, defeating the Washington Wizards to snap a three-game skid and move a half game closer to cracking the play-in tournament picture.
Here’s three keys to their 115-111 victory.
Nikola Vučević, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine put their collective stamp on this one, in what was their most resounding joint effort of the season — if not their entire tenure together.
The trio scored all but two of the Bulls’ 35 fourth-quarter points and three more than the Wizards, who were without two of their top scorers in Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura, amassed as a team.
LaVine made three-straight triples to turn what had been a six-point deficit into a 99-98 lead midway through the frame. Then Vučević traded threes with Kyle Kuzma and LaVine converted a layup in transition off a DeRozan block of Deni Avdija to extend the Bulls’ advantage to 104-101.
The lead changed hands twice more, but Vučević‘s hook shot put the Bulls on top, 106-105, and free throws from DeRozan and LaVine salted the game away.
DeRozan, who scored just six points on 3-for-8 shooting in the first half, finished with a team-high 27 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile, LaVine (seven rebounds, five assists and two steals) and Vučević (11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks) scored 25 points apiece.
“I thought they all complemented each other pretty well,” Billy Donovan said after the game.
The Bulls are now 8-5 in contests in which Vučević, DeRozan and LaVine all score 20+ points.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Alex Caruso never ceases to amaze.
In a contest which featured 12 lead changes, nine ties and no more than an 11-point advantage for either team, Caruso earned a game-high +17 plus-minus.
The dogged guard handed out nine assists, scored five points, grabbed four rebounds, and tied his season high with four steals. Never before had the five-year pro recorded at least nine assists and four steals in the same game.
“He’s such a selfless guy,” Donovan said. “All the other parts of the game of basketball he gets a lot more enjoyment out of than he does shooting and scoring.”
Seven times the Bulls have shot 40% or better from long range this season and seven times they’ve come away victorious.
The Bulls were 10-for-23 (43.5%) from deep Wednesday with LaVine accounting for half of those makes, Vučević three and Patrick Williams and Coby White the other two.
In a four-point victory, the Bulls’ 30-27 advantage from beyond the arc didn’t exactly decide the outcome. But it did help negate the 28 points the Wizards scored off turnovers.