The Chicago Bulls were on a four-game losing streak before their Tuesday, 22 November win against the Celtics. Then they followed with a 113-118 win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, 24. So coming to Paycom Centre on Friday night after having beaten two of the NBA’s best teams, many people knew this was going to be an easy game for the Bulls.
Unfortunately, an overtime 123-119 win by the Oklahoma City Thunder saw the Bulls drop to position 12 in the Eastern Conference.
OCT shooting guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 30 points, including the winning five free throws in the game’s final minute. The Chicago Bulls were leading 119-118 when DeMar DeRozan fouled Alexander on a 3-point attempt with less than 30 seconds remaining in overtime. Alexander successfully hit all three free throws.
”When I saw the shot clock down low, I knew I was going to shoot a step-back 3, just tried to set him up. Felt like he was gonna jump and he fouled me.” Gilgeous-Alexander told reporters.
The final two points came when DeRozan missed a jumper with around five seconds left.
The Thunder rebounded, and Gilgeous-Alexander was fouled, hitting two more free throws.
Chicago’s go-to scorers, DeRozan and LaVine dropped a total of 57 points
After leading the Bulls with 36 points, four rebounds, and eight assists in their 113-118 win against the Milwaukee Bucks, DeMar DeRozan dropped 30 points on Friday night.
DeRozan averages 26.2 points throughout the season and is the Bulls’ best scorer.
LaVine also scored 27 points, while Nikola Vucevic played for 40 minutes and had 13 rebounds and 13 points.
The Chicago Bulls were behind the Bucks with seven points after three quarters before Zach LaVine rallied the Bulls with 12 points in the fourth quarter. But free throws in OT brought back the Thunder into the game.
Also, the OCT made proper use of their bench and got 48 points from the bench, and their coach Mark Daignault was impressed by the young team’s performance.
“These are veteran teams, these guys we’re playing against have been in these situations. It’s a great experience for our guys,” he said.
Alexander added that they’d try to use that same strategy to win close games next time.
“Guys were aggressive, and our confidence didn’t waver, based on our losing streak or whatever was going on in the game. We kept our head on straight and really had a next-play mentality,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.
The Thunder went into its fourth overtime of the season topping the Bulls, 123-119
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 26, 2022
The Bulls go back to the drawing board
The Chicago Bulls have lost 11 out of the 19 games this season. They are at position 12 in the Eastern Conference, which makes very little sense, especially for a team having some of the talents capable of beating nearly anyone in the NBA.
It’s on the Bulls roster, where we have names like Javonte Green, Andre Drummond, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball.
Though Lonzo Ball is out indefinitely as he’s recovering from his knee injury, he’s still one of the Bulls’ players, and he will be part of the team’s failures and successes.
We’re still early into the season, and anything can happen, but if they continue with this trend, the Bulls are not even going to qualify for the playoffs.
They have been very inconsistent since the season started.
They underrated the Thunder as they knew this was an underdog who would easily give them a victory. But not on Thanksgiving week. After those two victories, they thought they had everything in place to secure their third win, just to be sent back to the drawing board by a very young team.
DeMar dropped a 30-piece, including 9 points in OT, but we couldn't get the job done in OKC.
📰 | @SamSmithHoops game recap:
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 26, 2022
But there’s still hope
The Chicago Bulls have been held by DeMar DeRozan, whose game has been very safe and consistent recently. That means he will be active for the better part of the season and continue scoring for the Bulls.
Plus, Lonzo Ball’s condition isn’t known, but there are speculations he could return any time in the next few weeks. And if that happens, you already know what the Bulls can do with Lonzo Ball in their midst.
Because Ball’s absence is one of the major contributors to the Bulls’ woes, it causes a lot of problems in the chemistry department. Losing a starting point guard before the start of the season can never go well with any franchise, and for the Bulls, it has turned into a disaster.
Remember, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics have been the Bulls’ biggest roadblocks in recent years, so a victory over these two teams says a lot.
Often, most physical and versatile teams in the NBA who can also rely on a “closer” usually deliver great results when they work on their chemistry. With DeMar DeRozan as a “closer” and Vucevic and LaVine on their roster, the Bulls are likely to surprise us.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 26, 2022