Bulls vs. Wizards: Bulls’ depth on display in ninth straight win

The Chicago Bulls are still on the right track.

Following Friday’s 130-122 win over the Washington Wizards at the United Center, the franchise is enjoying its first nine-game winning streak since April 2011 – and, at 26-10, holds a 2.5-game lead over the Nets and the Bucks for the first place. the Eastern Conference.

Here are 10 remarks:

1. The first half was a points game, especially at the end of the first quarter and the start of the second. The Bulls used an 18-7 sprint between the 2:16 mark on the first and the 10:34 mark on the second to go from a 26-25 lead to 44-32. Then the Wizards fought back to reduce to 50-49 at 6:32. Three minutes later, the Bulls were leading 64-53 – and leading 73-66 at the break.

2. As you’d expect in a 73-point halftime, the Bulls’ offense was buzzing. They shot 54.2% (47.4% of 3), delivered 19 assists and scored 19 quick points between quarter one and two, placing four double-digit players: Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu .

3. Between White (11 points, 3-for-4 shot), Dosunmu (11 points, 4-for-4), Troy Brown Jr. (5 points, 2-for-2) and Tony Bradley (4 points, 2-for- -2), the Bulls bench scored 31 points on an 11-for-12 combined shot in the first half, each getting two points 3-point from White and Dosunmu, including a triple from White at the end of the second:

4. LaVine came out on top in the third quarter, scoring 12 of his game-high 27 points to keep the Bulls above the water as the Wizards rallied (and at one point took the lead). LaVine put an exclamation mark on the effort, flexing after a layup and a Deni Avdija who gave the Bulls the 97-89 lead.

5. White then took the reins to score eight points in the final 77 seconds of the third quarter to take the Bulls’ lead to 12 – hitting two 3-pointers, then a runner on the period buzzer, after which he maintained his call and high-fived a fan sitting by the yard.

White finished with his sixth straight double-digit effort, scoring 21 points on a 7-for-8 (4-for-4 from 3-point) shot in 32 minutes, skillfully filling as the Bulls grew very small for long stretches with Derrick Jones Jr. in trouble. He’s fully found his place, building on his 18.2 point-per-game average and 52.5% (50% of 3) shooting clip in his last five incoming games.

6. Dosunmu has a new score in one game for his career. He scored 18 points, shooting 7 for 9 and 3 for 4 of 3, guarded Bradley Beal during stretches and stole three interceptions – two in the fourth quarter as the Bulls opened the game. The playing time debate between White and Dosunmu has been a cohesive storyline, but they’ve mingled in unison over the last few matches.

When Alex Caruso returns from health and safety protocols, the rotation of the backcourt will be an interesting one to watch.

seven. The Bulls’ depth shone in this one. Carried by White and Dosunmu, the bench scored 52 points on a 20-for-25 shot, and Bradley provided productive minutes at the save center upon his return from health and safety protocols. In total, the Bulls placed six in double digits, shot 52.7% (15 for 33 on a 3-point range) and distributed 34 assists.

It helped the team get through a rare night of shooting for DeMar DeRozan, who got just 5 for 16. DeRozan, however, left his mark on the game, scoring or assisting on the Bulls’ first eight points in the game. fourth quarter as they walked away for good. He had eight sous during the night.

8. Ball regained his shooting touch after going from 1 for 7 to 3 points against the Magic on his return from COVID protocols. He made four of his six 3-point first-half attempts against Washington, finished the game 6-11 to end his career best campaign behind the arc.

9. Head coach Billy Donovan has spoken several times since his return of the Bulls’ defensive “slippage” protocols of late. And it’s true: Although the Bulls came in on an eight-game winning streak, they came in 19th in the NBA in defensive rating during that span (first in offensive rating).

It might not be an effort he’s thrilled with – the Wizards scored 122 points (25 fastbreaks) and shot 51.1% – but his team had 11 interceptions, scored 20 points on 15 turnovers, maintaining the level on the glass and limit Washington to under- 30 percent of 3-point shot.

ten. And Donovan left the job with his 300th NBA victory against just 208 losses.

Next stop: at the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

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