The Chicago Bulls opened their six-game trip Wednesday with a 118-113 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum, fueled by DeMar DeRozan’s 36 points and two huge 3-pointers down the stretch from Coby White.
With back-to-back wins over the Boston Celtics and Bucks, the Bulls (8-10) showed they have the talent to compete with the best teams in the league despite their lackluster start to the season. But the toughest stretch of the season is on tap, and they have to continue to play aggressively to avoid a letdown.
Here are five takeaways from Wednesday’s win.
1. A clutch win at last
The Bulls were 0-7 in “clutch” games, defined as those with a five-point margin and five minutes or fewer remaining. With a 10-point lead and 10 minutes remaining, the Bulls were in control until Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo began to assert himself in the paint, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter to give the Bucks a late lead.
But a White 3-pointer tied the game with 1 minute, 15 seconds left, and after Alex Caruso coaxed Antetokounmpo into a charge, White nailed another 3 to put the Bulls back in front. Defensive consistency was key to holding off the Bucks.
“We’ve been pulling together defensive stops for longer stretches in games, and it shows,” DeRozan told NBC Sports Chicago on the postgame show. “We’ve got to do that, especially competing against the good teams in this league.”
The win over the Bucks was also important for the team’s confidence. They had lost 17 of their last 19 against Milwaukee since 2018-19, including last year’s loss in five games in the first round of the playoffs. With a large contingent of Bulls fans making the trip up I-94, it sounded like a home game at times.
2. Coby White showed he deserves more minutes.
With Goran Dragić out with left shoulder pain, White got extended minutes off the bench and made them count.
“I tell him all the time, if he misses one, two. three, whatever, keep shooting,” DeRozan told reporters afterward. “He got that capability to get hot, and at any moment of the game I’m looking for Cob.”
White missed eight games with a left thigh bruise and then was brought back slowly by coach Billy Donovan the next two. But Ayo Dosunmu committed back-to-back turnovers late in the fourth quarter, White returned with just less than four minutes left to help save the day.
White finished with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers, while playing 25-plus minutes, He’s averaging a career-low 19.6 minutes in 10 games, which also has affected his 3-point shooting, attempting only 4.8 per game and making 31.3%. Last season White shot a career-best 38.5% from beyond the arc and averaged 5.8 attempts per game.
With the Bulls having issues getting off to good starts early in the season, perhaps Donovan should replace Dosunmu with White in the starting lineup to see if it can fix the problem.
3. Everyone got in on the 3-point act
The Bulls …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports