I think we need to all ask ourselves one question: How would we have felt if AJ Griffin missed that shot?
If I had to bet, I’d say we’d all feel pretty darn good right about now. The Bulls would have been on their first three-game win streak of the season and would have completed their second-straight game with at least six players scoring in double figures.
In other words, folks wouldn’t feel the need to call for Billy Donovan’s head (again), criticize the Bulls’ effort, and scream into a pillow for roughly an hour. I get it. Losing at the buzzer – especially when the opposing team had just .5 seconds to get a shot off – sucks. But this didn’t feel like losing to the Magic, Spurs, or Thunder. This was just one of those bonkers games that didn’t swing in the Bulls’ favor. At least, that’s how I’m looking at it.
- The biggest gripe I’ve seen from fans is that Billy Donovan should have had either two bigs on the floor or someone stationed at the rim. Yes, of course, that could have been an option. However, Donovan’s decision not to do that isn’t some kind of idiotic mistake. He opted to play the team’s biggest man on the inbounder and try to block his line of vision. Then, the team’s most athletic and lengthy defenders were on the floor to simply stick with their man and not allow a quick shot. The only thing that could really go wrong with less than a second remaining is if someone is beat on a back cut and gives up a good look at the rim. Unfortunately, Derrick Jones Jr. was that someone.
- Are things different if Vooch or Drummond is planted at the rim? It’s hard to say. Inbounding the ball would’ve been even easier and someone could have been even more open for a quick shot attempt. Hindsight is 20/20.
- All things considered, I think it was just a great play by Griffin and an even greater play call from the Hawks’ coaching staff. The whole point was to grab the Bulls’ attention with Trae Young coming off a double screen. As one of the best shooters in the league, no one can blame the Bulls’ defense for having their eyes on Young and leaving DJJ on an island to guard Griffin. Again, it’s simply up to DJJ not to let the rookie beat him … and he failed.
- Half Court Hoops on Twitter provided some great analysis of the play in the video below. And, believe it or not, it’s actually the same play Milwaukee used to beat Chicago in the playoffs back in 2015.
- DeMar DeRozan basically said it best himself after the game. Sometimes all you can do is tip your hat to the other team.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” DeRozan told Bulls dot com. “I had a coach tell me that until the clock hits zero, zero, zero, it ain’t over. They made a hell of play, a bucket; just one of them games you shake their hand. They got it.”
- Now, if you are in the mood to get angry on this gloomy Monday, then I recommend looking at the 3-point line. One night after sinking a season-high 19 3-pointers, the Bulls posted a ghastly 7-27 performance from behind the arc. Shocker. They also didn’t help themselves with 18 turnovers (Hawks scored 23 points off those TOVs), seven of which were committed by Zach LaVine. Another shocker. Rarely can you shoot that poorly and cough up the ball that many times without paying the consequences. The Bulls have shown us that many times this season.
- Even though Derrick Jones Jr. cost the Bulls the game twice (missed game-winning free throw in regulation and got beat on final play in OT), he deserves a round of applause for his effort last night. The Bulls wouldn’t have even been in a position to win that game if it wasn’t for his 14 points off the bench. The springy forward shot 6-7 from the field and also ended the night with 3 blocks. With Ayo Dosunmu leaving the game early and Alex Caruso out for the night, the Bulls desperately needed Jones Jr.’s two-way play.
- Speaking of which, we’ll certainly have to monitor both the status of Dosunmu and Caruso over the past few days. Already shorthanded at the point guard position, the last thing the Bulls want to do is have either miss extended time, especially over a somewhat favorable stretch of the schedule.
- In addition to DJJ, we should probably give a shout-out to Coby White. While it didn’t end up mattering, White hit another huge shot from downtown to keep the Bulls alive with 22 seconds to go. He also added 6 rebounds and 4 assists to the box score in what was a decent all-around game. I know it may not be coming consistently, but White has had some decent enough moments this season where I really do wonder if his trade value has increased. Some teams might look at his big shots against Boston or Milwaukee, as well as his seemingly improved effort on the defensive end, as reasons to give the former lottery pick a try.
- To be clear, I’m not saying White is all of a sudden a hot trade chip. But it doesn’t take a whole lot for an organization to think they can be the one to access untapped potential. White is still very young and has plenty of intriguing qualities. No one is going to design a trade around him, but I certainly don’t think he’s damaged his value as a possible throw-in so far.
- DeMar is going to DeMar. Unfortunately, the Bulls are also going to Bulls.
- Good to hear.
- That’s a nice Monday surprise!