Feb 12, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu (12) dribbles against Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during the second half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
In yet another competitive game, the Chicago Bulls come away with an important 136-126 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. In addition to adding a game of separation between the two teams in the clustered Eastern Conference standings, the competitive win secures the season series for the Bulls, giving them the tie-break should the teams finish the season with the same record.
For now, the Bulls (26-28) have a two game lead over the Hawks in 9th place. They’re 2.5 games out of the 8th seed.
Career-high for Ayo Dosunmu
Ayo Dosunmu’s breakout third season continued with a career-high 29 points on Monday night.
He loves playing against the Hawks.
Dosunmu led the way in scoring (tied with DeMar DeRozan), with another efficient scoring night. He was 12-of-18 in 39 minutes played, while adding seven assists, a steal and a block.
Over the last sixteen games, Dosunmu is 35-of-66 from deep, for 53 percent. He won’t stay this hot for the rest of his career, but he’s proving he is a knockdown shooter. Over that time, he’s taking 4.1 three-point attempts per game, which is about 28 percent more than his season average and 70 percent more than his season-average in the 2022-23 season.
It was fitting that the shot that put him at a career-best was an off-the-dribble three, a measure of his growth and progress with the ball in his hands, in addition to his confidence as a pull-up shooter.
The combination of volume and accuracy speaks volumes to the confidence with which Dosunmu is shooting the ball.
Jevon Carter emerges
Jevon Carter, the Bulls marquee free agent acquisition, has not figured into the rotational plans the way we expected.
54 games after Arturas Karnisovas’ signed him to a three-year, $19.5 million contract, Carter is averaging just 5.1 points in 13.6 minutes per game. Carter has been on the outside looking in of the rotation for the majority of the season.
With the way the roster is constructed and major injuries decimating the lineup, it’s a challenge for a smaller guard to get minutes in the rotation playing alongside Dosunmu and Coby White.
Finding a shooting rhythm is difficult, especially in limited minutes. Carter has struggled to find his three-point shot — the most dangerous element of his offensive game. He’s shooting just 33.5 percent from deep following his 42.1 percent campaign a season ago.
But against the Hawks, Carter got 25 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 shooting from three-point range. He looked more comfortable, patient and willing to find the right shot, not just any shot, to get himself into a groove.
White famously leads the league in minutes played this season, with DeRozan not far behind him. These guys need to get some rest, and it’s on Carter to fill in and be productive.
Carter will look to continue his solid play and force his way back into secure rotational minutes.
Up next: The Bulls are on the road again for their final game before All-Star Break on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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