DeMar DeRozan didn’t need much time to hit the big bucket.
A little over midway through the 1st quarter, the All-Star put his name in the history books by scoring his 20,000 career point. In a fitting manner, the historic mark came on a midrange jumper, which DeRozan also used to pace himself to a team-high 14 points in the first half.
However, as exciting as the accomplishment was, the Bulls didn’t have much time to focus on it. The frisky youngsters on the San Antonio Spurs weren’t giving DeRozan and Co. a night off. They sank 3-pointer and 3-pointers to gain a 14-point lead over the far-more experience Bulls. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Chicago to find its groove, and the second unit played a pivotal role in carving the Spurs’ lead down to just 62-60 heading into the locker room.
The second half became a back-and-forth affair. But numerous defensive breakdowns and shanked layups gave the energetic Spurs an edge with the 4th quarter winding down. By the end of the night, they had SEVEN players in double figures and a 53.5 percent field goal percentage, which led to a 129-124 win.
The Bulls may have dominated on the offensive glass and in the fastbreak, but they simply couldn’t contain the Spurs in the halfcourt and repeatedly failed to knock down the 3-pointers that mattered most. The game proved to be a painful reminder of how inconsistent this group can be. Not to mention, it demonstrated just how negatively Zach LaVine’s current “injury management” situation can impact the team.
Look, it’s only the sixth game of the season and the Spurs deserve a tip of the cap for playing as well as they did. But the Bulls can’t lose these games if they want to be taken seriously. San Antonio might move to 4-2 tonight, but they aren’t projected to be a truly competitive team in the long run. I fear that this game and the recent Wizards loss will be ones we look back on later in the year as missed opportunities. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
Check out the full box score here.