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Observations from Bulls loss to the Summer Cavs

Will Gottlieb Avatar
July 14, 2023

What a run.

The Summer League Bulls fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers 87-83. Here are some observations from the game.

  • Another tough start for Dalen Terry. He blew an assignment on the first defensive stand of the game, then was late to step over, but early for the poster on the next, forcing coach John Bryant to call a time out. Then, after missing his first attempt on a three, he missed the putback. He then got rim stuffed on a transition alley oop attempt.

Terry finished the game with 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, 0-of-4 threes and a team worst -13.

At this point, it’s just sad to see him struggling like this. He’s doing some stuff well, but the bad is much louder.

  • Javon Freeman-Liberty had his least efficient scoring game since the Summer League opener against the Raptors. He scored a team-high 18 points, but did so on just 5-of-14 shooting.

Still, Freeman-Liberty did more than enough to warrant a two-way contract with the Bulls next season, and maybe even earn himself some run on the big team. His off-ball shooting exhibits a complimentary skill set that would work nicely alongside the primary scorers on the team. He can attack closeouts into pull up jumpers, get to the foul line at will and operate as a secondary ball-handler.

  • Adama Sanogo can really finish. Starting 3-of-3 in the first quarter, he continues to be a menace on the offensive glass with a soft touch around the rim.

Phillips finished with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Though he missed all four of his three-point attempts, he shot the ball with confidence. He’ll need to continue to work on that to carve out a role next season.

  • Down 37-23 in the second quarter, Brazilian backup guard Yago Dos Santos hoisted an errant three to beat the shot clock buzzer. Despite seemingly releasing the ball after the buzzer, Sharife Cooper was tacked for a three-shot foul.

From there, Dos Santos made all three free throws, Terry stole a bad pass and drew a clear path foul, leading the way for the Bulls to cut the lead down to 4 by the end of the half.

The Bulls struggled so much with momentum, giving up runs and not being able to counter last season. Nice to be on the other side of things.

  • Jontay Porter has done some nice things off the bench for the Summer Bulls. His scoring wasn’t there today (0 points on 0-of-5 shooting), but he has been solid defensively in each of these games, racking up 1 steal and 2 blocks. And check out this monster screen from him.
  • I still believe in Sharife Cooper. I was dead wrong that he should be a first round pick, but he commands the game incredibly well. Great pacing and change of pace, incredible passing touch, elite facilitating and awareness. Gets to the line with volume. His size is always going to hold him back, but with a few legit NBA skills in his bag, I hope he has a chance to crack the Cavs NBA rotation at some point.

Cooper had 11 points in 14 minutes before leaving the game with a groin injury.

  • Emoni Bates loves to shoot. He scored 15 points on 15 shots. He also had zero assists and four turnovers.
  • These games are too long. Even though they are 10 minute quarters, it’s just too much. In the past, the NBA has used these Summer League games as a laboratory to try new rules and I think they should take it a step further when it comes to the game clock. Let’s try 20-minute running halves. Automatic two points or one-for-two free throws. The NBA wants to find ways to keep the game at two-hours during the regular season, this is the time to get weird.

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