Riding a three-game win streak, the Chicago Bulls looked to make it four straight against a pesky San Antonio Spurs team at the United Center. Although the game was tight at the half, and the Spurs led by as many as seven points in the third quarter, the Bulls, led by DeMar DeRozan, battled back and secured the 120-109 victory on Valentine’s Day.
The Set Up
On Saturday night, the Bulls extended their win streak to three games. After a tough loss to the Phoenix Suns back on February 7, the Bulls rattled off wins against the Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Oklahoma City Thunder. On Valentine’s Day, Chicago looked to make it four straight.
Saturday saw Javonte Green and Zach LaVine miss the win over the Thunder, but Green returned to the lineup on Monday. However, the Bulls were still going to be without LaVine against a very tough San Antonio Spurs team. Despite the absence of Zach LaVine, DeRozan has carried the team with five straight 35-plus point games, six straight 30-plus performances, and an Eastern Conference Player of the Week nod entering Monday.
The first quarter saw Nikola Vucevic pick up right where he left off on Saturday. Saturday’s game was dominated by Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan, who put up 31 and 38 points, respectively. In the opening quarter, Vooch put up 12 points, pacing the scoring. DeRozan took longer to get going, recording his first bucket with 1:26 left in the frame.
In addition to the two big guns, Coby White added 11 first quarter points in a starting role. Despite the strong performances, the Bulls took a two-point lead into the second quarter. In the second, both teams managed 30 points, setting up a close start for the second half. White finished the half with 16 points, but found himself in foul trouble.
DeRozan ended the half with 15 points despite the slow start and Vucevic added just three points in the second quarter, bringing his total to 15 as well.
In the third quarter, the Spurs came out firing. By the halfway point of the quarter, San Antonio had their largest lead of the evening with a seven-point advantage. However, without Coby White due to foul trouble, as well as all the injuries, the Bulls battled back. Ayo Dosunmu really stepped up on both ends of the floor to start the second half. Despite the fight from the Bulls, they found themselves trailing by six. The Spurs’ bench, along with their domination in the paint, were the main reasons for the visitor’s lead.
From the onset of the fourth quarter, the King of the North took his rightful throne. DeRozan had 13 points in the first four minutes of the quarter and he continued his dominance from there. By the end of the game, the former Spur had 19 points in the fourth quarter and 40 points overall against his old team.
Although DeRozan carried the team in the final frame, Coby White deserves some love. His dagger three-pointer late in the game gave the Bulls the first double-digit lead for either team in the contest. In addition, he finished with 24 points in the win. Vucevic also added 25 for the Bulls on Monday night. Despite an overall close game, and the Bulls battling back, they held on for their fourth straight win, 120-109.
The King of the Fourth
The MVP chants are starting to carry merit at the United Center. Without Zach LaVine for a second straight game, DeMar DeRozan stepped up and delivered 40 points in the Bulls’ win. The USC product now has seven straight 30-plus point games and six straight 35+ point games on his latest run. The only other Bull to ever have that type of streak: Michael Jordan.
In the win, DeRozan also became the 58th all-time leading scorer in NBA history, passing Bob Lanier on the list. There are also some big names coming up for DeRozan to pass.
DeRozan is far from done. In addition, his incredible season is far from over for the Bulls.
What’s On Tap Next?
Following their fourth straight victory, the Bulls remain at home as the Sacramento Kings pay a visit to the Windy City. The Kings made many moves at the trade deadline, so Wednesday presents a different challenge in comparison to games against the Kings in the past. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CST.
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