Happy New Year, DeMar's Final Shot, Some Very Clutch Defense, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Happy New Year, DeMar’s Final Shot, Some Very Clutch Defense, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Happy New Year, everyone!

I have several resolutions in mind for 2023, one of which is to not let a Chicago Bulls loss impact my mood for more than 30 minutes after the final buzzer sounds. Sometimes I just let the stench of a stinker linger for far too long and it ruins what could otherwise be a nice end to my evening. As much as I care about this team, I got to remember it’s just a game!

  • I’m still mad about last night’s loss. Ah, crap! Look, I get it. I get why DeMar DeRozan was the one to have the ball in his hands as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Not only has he proven to be one of the best crunch-time players in the league, but he quite literally hit back-to-back buzzer-beaters to welcome in the new year one season ago. The idea of him repeating history was enticing. But that doesn’t mean it was the right decision.

  • DeRozan got a decent look when we consider that it was an off-balance, one-legged attempt. However, it’s hard not to think the Bulls should or could have drawn up a more creative final play. Everyone and their mother expected a DeRozan mid-range jumper. And while that hasn’t stopped him from knocking down a game-winner before, I can’t help but wonder if someone like Zach LaVine should get a chance at the final heave. The Bulls’ max player has been shooting lights out in recent weeks, and he did create some space near the top of the key off the Vucevic screen. I guess hindsight is 20/20, though, and LaVine seemed more than fine with the shot DeRozan got off:

“I mean, look, you understand what he’s done in his career,” LaVine told NBC Sports Chicago after the game. “He’s made a lot of those shots. I’ve also made a lot of those shots. So you live with the decision. I ride or die with him every time he takes a shot like that because I’ve seen him make more than he missed.”

  • For what it’s worth, head coach Billy Donovan also said the last play didn’t go according to plan:

  • At the end of the day, I can live with what happened. As nice as it would have been to get that win, it was the backend of a back-to-back against a pretty darn good team (even without Garland and Mobley). I know it feels more painful, but those are undoubtedly more palatable losses than the ones to teams like Houston or Orlando, especially when we consider the defense the Bulls played in the final 5 minutes.
  • For a squad that has had some immense struggles in the clutch this season, they deserve a ton of credit for the way they fought to end that game. After an Isaac Okoro dunk at the 4:56 mark in the 4th quarter, the Cavs only mustered one more bucket. Chicago also poked the ball away four times and received great closing minutes from Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu. Donovan Mitchell went 0-2 in the 4th quarter and the Cavs shot just 37.5 percent from the field in that frame. It was truly an impressive showing – one that makes the last-second loss all the most excruciating.
  • Speaking of Dosunmu, he deserves a pretty big shoutout for his recent play. The second-year guard fell into a bit of a slump as head coach Billy Donovan moved him back to the bench, but he’s found his rhythm again with the starters and continues to show extremely intriguing potential as a two-way stud. He followed up a strong 11-point and 6-rebound performance on Friday with 19 points and a career-high 5 steals last night. I’ve loved watching this guy grow into his own.
  • I have to share this again because dear lord …

  • So how will the Bulls adjust for tomorrow’s meeting in Cleveland? If one thing is for sure, this team simply has to provide a better effort on the glass. While the Cavaliers are one of the best rebounding teams in the league, you can’t lose the OREB battle 15-9 and expect to come out on top. Let’s hope the Bulls can shrink that margin tomorrow.
  • What stands out? No Bulls.

  • Someone wants to be traded BADLY.


  • RIP

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.