That’s a stinky loss. Not like Lollapalooza Porta-Potty stinky, but more like your dog crop-dusted you with a toot stinky.
Don’t get me wrong, the Wizards have an improved roster this season. With guys like Bradley Beal, Kristaps Prozingis, and Kyle Kuzma in the starting lineup, there is enough talent for Washington to keep things competitive with most teams on any given night. Having said that, the Bulls are widely viewed as having the better roster, and these are the kind of games they need to prove they can take consistently to make noise in the Eastern Conference.
The good news is that it’s only the second game of the season. And the even better news is that there were still a lot of positive plays from the team’s All-Stars. Nikola Vucevic followed up a season-opener that, while strong, featured minimal scoring with a physical 24 points and 7 rebounds. He shot a career-high 12-12 from the free throw line as the Bulls continued to feed him in spots where he could put real pressure on the Wizards’ defense.
Meanwhile, DeMar DeRozan continued to look like he was in mid-season form. The reigning All-NBA Second Team member dropped 32 points with 6 assists and 6 rebounds in his own 10-11 showing from the free throw line. To no surprise, his impact was felt greatest in the 4th quarter when he dropped 12 points to help set the team up with a chance to win it as time expired.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to repeat last year’s buzzer-beater magic:
The Bulls also deserve a tip of the cap for erasing a 17-point deficit in the second half. After things briefly unraveled to start the 3rd quarter, head coach Billy Donovan called two early timeouts to get his team back on the right track. Coby White and Andre Drummond were able to help them do just that, and it was an encouraging reminder of how improved the Bulls’ bench unit might be this season.
Still, the Bulls dropped a game that without at least one of their two 4-minute-long scoring droughts, they probably would have won. The hope now is that they can regain some of the positive momentum they built in Miami during the home opener tomorrow night.
You can check out the full box score here.