CHICAGO – In a season full of positive vibes, this is the first wave of negativity to hit the team.
The Bulls came into Wednesday’s game with the Cavaliers having lost four games in a row. Along with that came the news that guars Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine would not only play in that game but would miss the team’s upcoming three-game road trip.
Even during the team’s COVID-19 outbreak in November and December, the wins still managed to keep coming, so the situation the Bulls were in Wednesday was something quite unique.
But when the team needed to have a victory against a Cavaliers’ team fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference as well, a combination of veterans and younger players stepped up to make it happen.
With DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic leading the way with Ayo Dosunmu & Coby White helping to fill in for the missing guard, the Bulls snapped their four-game skid with a 117-104 victory at the United Center. It kept the team from falling out of first place in the Eastern Conference after Miami beat Portland at home on Wednesday as well.
Now at 28-15 on the season, the Bulls remained tied with the Heat at the top of the Easter with the Nets a half-game behind.
DeMar DeRozan led the way with 30 points on 14-of-24 shooting with seven assists in another performance that could solidify his place in the All-Star Game. Nikola Vucevic, who had just seven points on 2-of-13 shooting on Monday against the Grizzlies, rebounded with a 27 point, 12 rebounds performance.
Yet the team got a big boost from the players filling in for Ball & Lavine: Guards Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White. The former, who continues to excel in his rookie season, scored 18 points while dishing out eight assists,
White contributed 16 points to the effort as well, and the combination of those players along with the veterans delivered a much-needed victory.
One positive on the injury front was the return of guard Alex Caruso, who played 23 minutes with nine points and three rebounds. It was his first game since December 20th as he missed time with a foot injury along with a stint on the NBA’s health and safety protocol.