Zach LaVine bulls, DeMar DeRozan explodes in winning comebacks vs. Jazz

the Chicago Bulls It is officially drawn.

With Saturday’s 126-118 win over the Utah Jazz — which, in the second leg of the back-to-back game, featured seven points in the fourth quarter — the Bulls won three straight points and were 19-21 for the season. Signs of a shift began to appear after the 11-18 campaign began.

Here are 10 notes:

1. The Bulls got off to a fast start, rallying 8-0 in the first four minutes of the first quarter before Will Hardy blew the whistle for time. The Jazz had missed their first seven field goal attempts at that point, six of which were three-pointers.

2. From this time out, Lauri Markkanen threw back-to-back official fists to halve Utah’s deficit, spurring a back-and-forth contest from then on. Markkanen, in fact, delivered another solid slam after minutes—poetic, considering his annoying habit of throwing off poster attempts during his four seasons in Chicago.

Markkanen finished the game with 28 points on 12-for-20 shooting and eight dunks, Including a seismic poster by Nikola Vucevic.

Although he finished 2-for-7 from 3-point range, he made a consistent positive impact as a finisher and facilitator after attracting increasing defensive attention. Whoever blames him for the unofficial end to Markkanen’s bullpen period, that dynamic wasn’t often present in the last two seasons of his tenure in Chicago—a sign of his impressive overall improvements.

3. Zach LaVine didn’t cool off in the 25 hours separating Saturday’s tip-off and the 41st, 11th three-pointer outing against the 76ers. He built up the Bulls’ lead in the first quarter by scoring 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the opening frame, going 3-for-4 at the edge on a handful of hard drives and making his first attempt from a long run.

Although he started on a slow second, he scored six points in the final 28 seconds of the quarter—on a 3-pointer for catches and shootings and on free throws off a Kelly Olenick fumble near the buzzer—to boost the Bulls to four points in the half.

Then, he blazed again in the fourth to score 12 of his 36 points in the ultimate yard while making three of his four 3-point attempts. In all, Lavigne went 6-for-12 from the distance on Saturday. Just like on Friday, he would destructively scoot off the ball and dribble the ball, and he came up with a big defensive play down the stretch as well.

4. DeMar DeRozan kicked off the mini-funk — he scored just two points in the second half of the Philadelphia game and went scoreless in the first quarter of this game — by pumping six points early in the second as the Bulls extended their four point score to eight. But when he got out, severe dehydration followed. The Bulls did not score a field goal between the 8:27 and 3:23 quarter marks, a dry spell that coincided with a 12-2 Utah run that put them ahead 46-40.

5. The Bulls trailed ahead 53-49 at the break, but the Jazz dominated the third quarter to reach a 40-31 scoring margin that put them up by five points entering the fourth. The fault lines showed in the Bulls’ ability to contain the dribbling penetration and protect the edge in those 12 minutes, as they allowed 24 paint points on 12-for-13 shooting.

For the game, Utah finished with 68 paint and a 29-for-38 (76.3 percent) edge shooting streak. While Alex Caruso and Javonte Green still on the sidelines wouldn’t solve all of these issues, their absence was certainly felt in the containment perimeter department.

6. Patrick Williams started this game 0-for-7 from the field. Kobe White started 0-for-4.

But in a critical stretch early in the fourth quarter (spanning less than two minutes), they combined to pull off 11 consecutive points to overturn a seven-point deficit into a two-point lead. Williams drained three straight cornerback throws, while White hit a long ball off the top of the key and snuck home a contested floater.

For Williams, that continued a recent trend of bouncing back from in-game adversity, which included a season-high 22 points in Wednesday’s win over the Nets after a late-game miss in Monday’s loss to the Cavaliers, and a third-high 16 points. quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers after losing in the first inning.

And for White, continuing his season-long trend of saving shots for key moments. He entered shooting play at 41 percent from 3-point range in the fourth quarters and 34 percent in the first through third quarters. He also locked out the match, signaling Billy Donovan’s confidence.

7. The Bulls stars took over from there. White and Williams’ offense pushed the Bulls from 99-92 to a 103-101 lead. After Utah tied the game after a timeout, DeRozan (with a Blues mid-range), LaVine (with three straight-pointers) and Vuzevic (with a layup) combined to score the Bulls’ next 13 points to grab a 10-point lead before the extended run .

8. In all, DeRozan scored 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the fourth to finish with 35. It’s the first time this season that he and LaVine both scored more than 30 points in the same game, in a sign that the Bulls’ two dominant All-Stars teams coexist. together again. Add in Vučević’s under-the-radar but all-important 15 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, and two-block performance, and the Bulls’ top players set the standard.

9. Rookie Jazz winger Ochai Agbaji was the latest in a string of sharp and little-known shooting role players to burn the back end of the Bulls’ rotations from behind the arc. Agbaji, the 14th pick in the 2022 draft acquired from Cleveland as part of a Donovan Mitchell trade, has come in shooting 29.6 percent from 3-point range, but hits four without a miss and turned in a few solid drives. On his way to 19 points on 7-for-7 shooting.

10. The good bull reflexes keep rolling in. They’ve now won three in a row, all in impressive fashion: a comfortable home win over the full-strength Nets, a second-inning rout of 76ers by No. 76 Joel Embiid, and a closing comeback win over Jazz Frisky. The Bulls are now 8-3 in 11 games since crashing in Minnesota and could turn their season around.

Next up: at the Boston Celtics on Monday.

Click here to catch up on the Bulls Talk Podcast.


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