The Chicago Bulls staged one other rally from one more substantial halftime deficit Friday however once more fell quick in a 103-97 loss to the Orlando Magic on the United Center.
It was the Bulls’ second consecutive defeat to the Magic, third straight general and seventh in 9 video games, dropping them to 4-9. It additionally was their second loss in as many video games within the NBA In-Season Tournament.
Here are 5 takeaways from the loss.
1. Alex Caruso begins robust earlier than a midgame exit.
Caruso changed Torrey Craig within the beginning lineup as coach Billy Donovan tinkers with rotations to attempt to snap the Bulls out of their early-season droop.
Caruso provided a direct antidote to the Bulls’ latest sample of gradual begins, draining his first three 3-pointers and recording a block and steal within the opening six minutes.
The Bulls pulled forward 9-4, however the Magic answered with a 19-7 run to shut the primary quarter with the guard off the court docket. Caruso was one in all three gamers to complete with a constructive plus-minus score (7), however the Bulls struggled each time he was on the bench.
This challenge was exacerbated when Caruso exited the sport within the third quarter after he landed awkwardly on his proper hand whereas diving for a ball. After a number of minutes of enjoying by means of seen discomfort, he subbed out the sport with 5 minutes, 6 seconds left within the quarter.
Caruso had a number of fingers taped on the hand earlier than heading to the locker room. He returned briefly to the sideline, then went again to the locker room to have his shoulder wrapped with an ice pack.
Caruso didn’t reenter the sport till the ultimate three minutes of play. He logged solely 23 minutes due to the damage. He nonetheless made an affect, hitting free throws and nailing a 3-pointer within the last minute.
2. Another stagnant 1st half poses severe questions.
For the second consecutive sport, the Bulls scored solely 33 first-half factors.
It was a 24-minute slog by which the Bulls shot 11-for-37. Without Caruso, the Bulls shot solely 7-for-31 (22.6%) from the sector within the first half. The bench added only one level — an Andre Drummond free throw — whereas taking pictures 0-for-9.
The Bulls additionally coughed up 12 turnovers within the first half, which the Magic transformed into 19 factors.
Slow begins have turn out to be a norm for the Bulls, who common the second-lowest first-quarter factors within the league (26) and the fifth-lowest factors within the second quarter (27.5).
“We shoot like we trying not to miss,” DeMar DeRozan mentioned. “We play like we attempting to not make a mistake as an alternative of simply taking pictures to make it and enjoying. “You’ve acquired to grasp, there’s going to be errors. That occurs.
“We just overly try to be conservative in a sense that put us in a lot of situations that make it seem like we in mud, we can’t get a rhythm. But as soon as that sense of urgency kicks in, we find a way no matter how the game is going.”
3. Zach LaVine powers a fruitless 2nd-half turnaround.
The Bulls fell behind by 20 factors within the opening minutes of the third quarter. But after hitting that low level, their stars sparked a rally.
LaVine scored 13 factors within the third quarter and DeRozan added 11, with every participant hitting a 3-pointer. The Bulls scored 32 factors within the third, almost matching their first-half manufacturing. This comeback minimize the Magic result in 12 factors by the tip of the quarter.
In the fourth, the Bulls trailed 15 factors with seven minutes left. But LaVine took over, scoring 12 factors within the last body on 5-for-9 taking pictures.
LaVine sank back-to-back 3-pointers to chop the Magic result in 5 factors with 5:28 remaining, then fed Drummond for a slam dunk. With a turnaround jumper, LaVine minimize the deficit to 1. On the following play, LaVine grabbed a turnover and handed forward to Coby White, who threw down a shattering dunk over Paolo Banchero for a one-point Bulls lead with 3:13 left.
Still, it wasn’t sufficient. The Magic grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds to pull out one in all their final possessions and regain the lead, then stripped LaVine when he tried a 3-pointer. A pair of missed pictures from LaVine and Nikola Vučević sealed the loss.
4. Lack of bench scoring provides to woes.
The Bulls’ stars produced — LaVine scored 34 factors on 12-for-20 taking pictures. DeRozan added 23 factors on 10-for-20 taking pictures. And Caruso offered 18 factors regardless of his midgame exit.
But the Bulls bench scored solely eight factors. Craig made one 3-pointer and Drummond scored 5 factors.
Part of the difficulty stemmed from transferring Caruso out of the secondary unit, the place he sometimes operates as a playmaker and distributor along with a defensive specialist. But the bench couldn’t purchase a shot, particularly within the first half. Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams each went 0-for-3. Jevon Carter didn’t take a single shot.
5. What does this imply for the In-Season Tournament?
The Bulls fell to 0-2 within the match, sitting on the backside of Eastern Conference Group C.
The Boston Celtics defeated the Toronto Raptors 108-105 Friday, transferring the Celtics to the highest the group with a 2-0 file.
The Bulls will conclude the group stage with two highway video games: towards the Toronto Raptors on Friday and Celtics on Nov. 28. But with two losses, it’s unlikely they’ll have the ability to advance to the quarterfinals.