After suffering a heartbreaking 107-108 loss to the Orlando Magic, the Chicago Bulls are now left to pick up the pieces and try making something out of what already feels like a lost season just 16 games in. Having lost six of their last seven games, the ceiling of this ‘Big 3’ and Billy Donovan’s competency as head coach have now been brought into question.
While answering those questions will no doubt be a messy subject moving forward, not every player on the Bulls performed badly last night, despite the loss. Here’s a look at how each player graded out last night.
The Chicago Bulls had a handful of standout performers — both good and bad — in a devastating 107-108 loss to the Orlando Magic.
As frustrating as it was to drop this game, it’s hard to fault a player that scored 41 points on an efficient 16-for-30 from the field for the loss. DeMar DeRozan rarely had a moment to rest, playing 44 minutes and registering the highest plus/minus mark among the entire starting unit at +13. That means in the four short minutes DeRozan took a breather, the Bulls were outscored by a ridiculous fourteen points. I wouldn’t blame DeMar for being frustrated about this, but he has once again proven to be the mature locker room leader the Chicago Bulls have needed for quite some time.
Although Nikola Vucevic‘s 5-for-13 shooting from the field wasn’t enough to wow anyone on the offensive end, he managed to contribute enough in other ways to remain productive. Vucevic led the Bulls in both rebounds and assists, while also tying for the most blocks. Unfortunately, Vucevic wasn’t able to prevent Wendell Carter Jr. from hitting back just as hard, as the former Bulls center posted 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists of his own.
Zach LaVine had without a doubt the most concerning performance of anyone on the court last night, shooting a horrendous 1-for-14 from the field while playing equally putrid defense. He became such a big liability that head coach Billy Donovan limited to LaVine to just 25 minutes, eventually benching Zach down the stretch. This decision proved to be the right one, as it prompted a near-comeback from the Bulls. However, Zach seemed to deflect the responsibility for his poor play in his post-game comments, which could be a very concerning sign of his immaturity and inability to be a leader for this team moving forward.
After a hot start to the season, Ayo Dosunmu had cooled off considerably in recent games. He picked his scoring production back up against Orlando, however, scoring 13 on a great shooting night, going 6-for-8 from the field. Hopefully, Ayo can continue adding to his playmaking, as he recorded just two assists to go alongside his pair of turnovers. His three blocks were crucial, including one in the final minute against Jalen Suggs that resulted in a fast break bucket from Javonte Green to go up four points. The Bulls couldn’t close this one out, but these are the winning plays any team would want from their role players.
Patrick Williams appears to finally have found some consistency in his game, as he’s looked much more the part of a player who can hold down the power forward spot over the last two weeks. He did a little bit of everything last night, recording 12 points, 7 rebounds (2 of which came on the offensive end), an assist, and a steal. Most importantly, Williams’ defense continues to look better in each game, which will be his best route to remaining in the starting lineup.
Even on a night where DeRozan chipped in 40+ points, it would be hard to argue that anyone other than Javonte Green was Chicago’s most impactful player last night. Withheld from playing in the first half for unknown reasons, Javonte would go on a tear in the second, scoring 8 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting and serving as Chicago’s best defensive presence. In just 18 minutes, Javonte was able to record a game-high 3 steals and led the Bulls in plus/minus with a mark of +17.
With the way Green played last night, the Chicago Bulls would have almost assuredly won if he logged minutes in the first half. After all, the Bulls should have won after he scored a pair of back-to-back baskets to put Chicago up four points with 26 seconds remaining (see below). Alas, on to the next one.