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On the second night of a tough, home-road back-to-back, the Chicago Bulls came away with a much needed 117-110 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.
Spurred by a hot three-point shooting night, the Hornets made this game closer than it needed to be.
Tied heading into the fourth quarter, the Hornets couldn’t keep pace with the Bulls, who, led by Coby White’s season-high 35 points, closed things out easily down the stretch.
Coby White, take a bow
With 35 points on 12-of-22 shooting, 4-of-10 threes, 7-of-9 free throws, seven rebounds and nine assists, White absolutely dominated the game start to finish.
Three plays that stood out:
- On the final possession of the first half, White was fouled on a three-point attempt, that gave him three shots from the line. With 0.6 seconds on the clock, he was able to trim a ten-point deficit down to two points going into the half.
- Coming out of the half, White had two straight assists, one to Alex Caruso and one to Nikola Vucevic. He then blew right by his defender for a tomahawk dunk. Including his five-straight free throws to end the previous half, White had his hands on 12-straight points to put the Bulls back in control.
- This fourth quarter step-through and-one was just insane. It emphasizes his improved ball handling, footwork, touch at the rim, foul drawing and self-creation ability. The tough and finish below the rim, through contact was so impressive.
After taking just two shots in the fourth quarter on Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors, White was the one responsible for 10 points and three assists, while DeMar DeRozan struggled from the field. He scored, he facilitated and proved that he can be the driving force for a productive offense.
Alex Caruso’s minutes
With Zach LaVine, Torrey Craig and now Patrick Williams and Dalen Terry out with injury, the Bulls are running low on options on at the power forward spot.
As a result, the Bulls have relied on shifting Julian Phillips and Terry Taylor into the rotation. They’ve played around with Nikola Vucevic at the four next to Andre Drummond at the five. But mostly, they’ve leaned on Alex Caruso to log heavy minutes.
“I don’t love it, personally,” Donovan said prior to Tuesday’s game against Toronto. “Just for him. I do take his his pulse quite a bit of how he’s doing. Trying to get him more more rest, when situations presented itself. Quite honestly, whether it be Alex or DeMar or Coby, you know, some of the minutes have gone way up.”
The Bulls have been hyper-cautious with Caruso’s minutes, playing him just 23 minutes per game over the team’s first 2o appearances, he’s been at 30 minutes per game over his last 20.
“I think a really sweet spot for Alex is between 26-28 minutes, somewhere in there,” Donovan said. “Certainly since what’s happened and how he’s felt, certainly, I check with him of how he’s doing, he’s been able to absorb that so far. But I am very, very conscientious of making sure he’s doing okay, physically.”
Caruso played 34 minutes Wednesday against the Hornets, 33 minutes Tuesday against the Raptors, and 32, 35 and 33 in the previous three games respectively.
He finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, with 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Over their last 10 games, the Bulls have been outscored by 33 tonight made threes. That’s 99 points in ten games.
Funny enough, over that same timeframe, the Bulls are 13th in percent of shots coming from beyond the arc, which is well above their season average, where they rank 21st. They’re shooting 35.7 percent on threes over that timeframe, compared to 36.2 percent on the season.
Up next: Bulls are back home on Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings.
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