I will not rest until this photo is plastered on the outside of the United Center:
- What. A. Freakin. Game. As much as this season has made me want to bash my head against the wall and eat a pinecone, last night’s comeback victory is not one that I’ll soon forget. Not only were the Bulls able to erase a 15-point deficit in the final frame, but their ability to overcome an 11-point deficit in just 2:30 is now a part of history! According to ESPN’s Stats & Info, teams were previously 5-12,535 in those situations over the past 20 seasons!
- The fact this Bulls team – which entered the night with one of the worst clutch records in the NBA – is the one to join that prestigious club is just befuddling. I mean, seriously, how can this group lose to the Houston Rockets by double figures but pull off one of the most impressive comebacks in league history against arguably the best player in the NBA? This inconsistency is absurdly frustrating and leaves me endlessly confused about which direction this front office should go this year.
- Don’t get me wrong, I fully acknowledge that something must change for the Bulls. But how much needs to change is the real question. Does it need to be a full-blown tank or can they build a better product around guys like Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan? I mean, after another dominant performance like last night, it becomes that much harder to think about the Bulls trading away DeRozan to help fuel another rebuild. He’s just so good!
- Speaking of which, DeRozan did it all. His clutch and physical shotmaking stole the show as he single-handedly outscored the Bucks in OT 10-7. But his effort on the defensive end shouldn’t be forgotten. Without Alex Caruso and Derrick Jones Jr. available, DeRozan flew around and made the kind of hustle plays that gave his team a real chance to win. Whether it be drawing a charge on Antetokounmpo, blocking Bobby Portis’ shot with under 2 minutes to go, or stealing the inbound pass to set up the game-tying Ayo Dosunmu dunk, DeRozan’s clutch genes impacted every aspect of last night’s game.
- What shouldn’t get lost in DeRozan’s greatness, however, is how crucial both Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic proved to be down the stretch. While both struggled to find a rhythm throughout the. night, they each showed up when it mattered most. LaVine scored 8 points in the 4th quarter behind two incredible shots from behind the arc. One was an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner with Jevon Carter right on his grill, while the other was a deep and decisive make off the Vucevic hand-off. I also think he deserves a ton of credit for moving that ball in the way he did. After getting trapped underneath the rim by two Bucks defenders, he had a great quick pass to a cutting DeRozan for the layup. He also fed Patrick Williams an awesome over-the-shoulder dime, which the youngster (unfortunately) failed to knock down from behind the arc.
- Vucevic scored 8 points in the final frame and added one more big-time triple to his box score in OT. I give DeRozan a lot of credit for waiting for Antetokounmpo to slide off Vucevic and show the help, though, which led to the quick pass and in-rhythm 3 for the big man. Vucevic finished the night with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists.
- Do you know what made the win that much better? The fact that Grayson Allen lost! The Bucks’ jerkface pulled another seemingly dirty move last night by shoving DeRozan to the ground. While Patrick Williams did commit a foul on Allen, which sent him in the direction of DeRozan, there is little question that Allen forced his momentum into DeRozan’s back for the blindside hit. If you missed it, the clip is here.
- DeRozan commented on the play after the game and said that it was Allen’s reputation that made him initially react in the way he did. And I don’t think anyone can blame him.
- LaVine went on to say something similar, calling out Allen and reminding him to look at the final scoreboard:
- Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago also went to speak with the man himself after the game. To no surprise, Allen didn’t believe he did anything wrong. While he tried to express an understanding of DeRozan’s own frustration, he simply said that Williams pushed him into the Bulls’ top scorer.
- Old Clutch to Young Clutch for the tie! I had to listen to this on the radio, and Chuck Swirsky made one heck of a great call.
- I’m so glad this man isn’t in my conference.
- Good question.
- Love a good guy!
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