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The Bulls finish out their hellish five-game road trip with a “heart attack of relief” 107-94 victory over the Wizards.
The first stanza of the fourth quarter of this game followed the same trope that most fourth quarters have of late: DeMar DeRozan starts to take over — he was 6/7 for 11 points in the fourth quarter alone. Then the defense adjusts by trapping him to get the ball out of his hands.
The difference in this game, was that they were able to beat the trap and hold off the late push from their opponent.
Here’s how it worked:
“You gotta make a decision of how you’re going to guard us,” DeRozan said after the game.
“With that comes a chess match between me and Vooch with the defense, trying to make the right play, right read,” he continued. “And we had it going. They couldn’t make a decision of what to do. If they try to stop me, I hit Vooch. Vooch finds a player. If not, I’m going to come off aggressive looking for my shot trying to get downhill.”
The Bulls should be celebrating when teams trap them. It gives them an advantage situation. They should score every time, or at least get a good shot.
When they prove they can beat this consistently, defenses will have no choice but to return to their one-on-one defense, and we all know what happens in the fourth quarter when DeRozan has a one-on-one situation.
There were some things to work on — Coby White and Patrick Williams passed up open corner threes on similar plays. Vucevic was took a beat too long to make a few reads and that’s all it takes to lose the advantage.
All in all, this was a big step for the Bulls to clear this emotional hurdle. It’s something they’ve struggled with for weeks and has been a major factor in their late season skid.
There’s always room to tighten things up, but hopefully they can build on this momentum heading into the playoffs.
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