Trying to channel January 1, 2022 when he drilled a game-winner on the second straight night, DeMar DeRozan got the shot he wanted.
Down two, with five seconds to go DeRozan got a switch on a high pick-and-roll and launched.
It’s almost surprising when they don’t go in.
DeRozan finished with 32 points on 11-for-23 shooting on Friday night. Another herculean effort, but this time the Bulls fall short, losing 102-100 to the Washington Wizards and dropping to 1-1 on this early season.
This was a sloppy game. One the Bulls should not have won. Multiple extended scoring droughts. Inability to buckle down and get stops. The lack of randomness to generate easy offense. Over reliance on DeRozan to do all the heavy lifting.
In a lot of ways, this is exactly the type of game Billy Donovan wanted to avoid. And while it was close, and there were some positive takeaways, it signifies that the Bulls still have a ways to go to build out their offense.
Here are a few things that stood out:
Ayo putting pressure on the rim
My hope for Dosunmu coming into the season was for him to be able to get into the paint and attack the basket. With Zach LaVine out of the lineup, DeMar DeRozan is really the only reliable rim pressure threat on the team, so Dosunmu taking it upon himself to break down the defense has really helped the Bulls.
Check out the Bulls first possession of the game. Dosunmu runs an empty side pick-and-roll with Nikola Vucevic and the Wizards defense is a mess. Monte Morris gets stuck on the screen. Kristaps Porzingis gets caught in no man’s land; unsure whether he should cut off the ball or return to Vucevic popping out. The low man leaves his help and Dosunmu gets an open drive to the basket.
Similar situation a few plays later. Poor defensive awareness leads to a switch. The Bulls look to run the very same empty side pick-and-roll. As Dosunmu puts the ball on the floor, Morris and Porzingis both collapse onto the ball. Vucevic makes a heady cut to the basket and Dosunmu finds him for an easy two.
Dosunmu slowed down after a hot start, finishing with only seven points on nine shots, but this is great recognition and awareness for the young point guard, taking advantage of the Bulls half court randomness.
Are you kidding me Dragic?
Over/under 0.5 “are you kidding me, Dragic”‘s from me per game. I’m taking the over.
I was not super high on bringing Dragic in on the vet minimum as a late free agency flier, and boy have I been wrong. So far, Dragic has done nothing but keep the Bulls in these games. He led a strong push against the Heat when the Bulls went down early, and he sparked a comeback in the third quarter against the Wizards to keep the Bulls within striking distance
He goes at the basket. And he’s got his little Rondo/Hakeem fake and it looks gooooood.
Dragic also has great chemistry in the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond. The Drummond experience, by the way, is an absolutely wild one.
Without Lonzo Ball in the lineup, no one has been able to organize the floor, deliver reliable entry passes and be the motor in transition offense. Dragic is taking on that role and doing a damn good job of it.
Passive Patrick Williams
Two extremely disappointing games from Patrick Williams to start the season. Following up his four points, two rebounds on 2-for-6 shooting night against Miami, Williams was slightly better against Washington, scoring seven points on 2-for-5 shooting.
We’ve all heard the aggressiveness trope by now. And while that doesn’t mean he needs to get the ball and wave everyone else off, he does need to find a way to insert his physicality and skill into the game.
This clip is a perfect encapsulation of his play.
Instead of double clutching to try to avoid getting blocked, just dunk the ball! I’ve seen you do it five times in one game. Less than two weeks ago!
With the Bulls struggling to generate offense, they need someone to step up. Vucevic and Dosunmu have done a nice job, but this is Williams’ time to step up. So far, no good.