Bulls show postseason readiness in comeback win over Clippers

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Before Tuesday’s win in Washington, the Chicago Bulls had only won four of their previous fifteen games. The playoffs are five games away. Now is not the time to be plagued by sloppy turnovers, horrible defense, and inefficient shooting.

This Bulls team is better than that and they finally reminded us of their early-season poise, grit, and clutch shooting in possibly the best win of the season Thursday night against the playoff-bound Los Angeles Clippers.

Los Angeles held an 11-point lead with less than five minutes to go but the Bulls didn’t quit, slowly slicing into the lead until DeMar DeRozan hit two of three free throws in the waning seconds to send the game to overtime. DeRozan scored ten of the team’s 17 overtime points on his way to a season-high 50.

Nikola Vucevic accumulated 22 points and 14 rebounds, including five offensive rebounds. The big man mustered only five offensive rebounds in his previous five games combined. He also played some very encouraging defense when switched onto the quicker Reggie Jackson and Paul George.

The Chicago Bulls needed everyone to chip in to come back and beat Los Angeles.

Zach LaVine contributed 21 points of his own to go with five assists. Aside from the big three, key performances by role players have been the difference in these last two wins. Alex Caruso had three steals in the win over the Washington Wizards. The Bulls are now 9-1 when Caruso has three or more steals.

Patrick Williams stepped in to play all but 13 seconds of the fourth quarter and overtime in the win over the Clippers. He generated ten points and seven rebounds during that span, making all of his four field-goal attempts.

Coby White added a refreshing 11 points, showing signs of emerging from his recent slump. Javonte Green has back-to-back games with multiple steals.

The Bulls’ recently struggling bench outscored the Clippers’ bench 27-26, one of the most productive bench units in the NBA. The Bulls also outscored the Clippers by a whopping 30 points in the paint, an area that Chicago has recently struggled to score in.

The most encouraging aspect of this win was that it felt like a playoff game against a team with lots of big-game experience and the Bulls outclassed them. The United Center crowd was roaring throughout the fourth quarter and overtime.

Victory felt impossible in more than a few places, yet the Bulls hit tough shots and rebounded well down the stretch. This team proved us wrong by lowering our expectations of them. At its best, this team could contend. They just need to work out a couple of the kinks still.

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