Take a bow, DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan, who leads the Association in fourth-quarter scoring, notched 13 of his 29 points in the final period to help the Bulls edge Brooklyn 111-107 Saturday.
With the win, the Bulls (16-8) moved to within half a game of the Nets (16-7) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter. They narrowed their deficit to 82-79 before the start of the fourth quarter. DeRozan’s turnaround fadeaways bookended a 13-4 run that gave them a 92-86 advantage at the 7:00 mark of the quarter. And his pull-up jump shot made it 103-100 with less than three minutes to play.
The Nets crept back to within three points, 105-102, on Bruce Brown’s turnaround bank shot. But a pair of free throws from Zach LaVine, a triple from Lonzo Ball–off a DeRozan kickout–and an Ayo Dosunmu free throw put the game away.
LaVine scored seven points in the quarter and finished with a game-high 31 to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.
LaVine Sets The Stage
The Bulls missed seven of their first 10 shots after halftime and were down 71-60 midway through the third quarter.
They made six of their next 10 tries thereafter as part of a 19-11 run fueled by LaVine’s 13 points. LaVine shot 3-for-7 in the quarter and made six free throws. His trey cut the deficit to 80-79 before Paul Milsap pushed the lead back to three at the end of the quarter.
LaVine was just 2-for-9 from beyond the arc but was 11-for-13 from the free-throw line for the game. No other player took more than a half dozen trips to the charity stripe.
Stepping In and Stepping Up
Alex Caruso started in place of Javonte Green, who tested positive for COVID-19 Friday. But Caruso played just eight minutes before he tweaked the right hamstring that made him a game-time decision beforehand. He scored six points, grabbed one rebound, and made away with one steal before he exited.
With Caruso sidelined, Ayo Dosunmu (11 points, three rebounds, and two blocks in 23 minutes) and Troy Brown Jr. (five points, six rebounds, and three assists in 12 minutes), brought some much-needed juice off the bench.
Dosunmu and Brown Jr. contributed six points to that 13-4 fourth-quarter spurt that put the Bulls ahead for good. In the most minutes he’s seen in the past seven games, Dosunmu, who was a team-best +16, was particularly electric.
He attacked the basket. He finished fast breaks. And he offered some surprise rim protection.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls will look to add to their three-game winning streak when they host the Denver Nuggets (10-11) on Monday. Tip-off is set for 7 PM CST and the game will air live on NBC Sports Chicago.
Make sure to check out the Bulls On Tap podcast for further postgame reaction.
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