DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 32 points and Nikola Vucevic added 27 of his own to help propel the Chicago Bulls to a 107-94 victory over the Washington Wizards Tuesday.
The Bulls (44-32) salvaged their five-game road trip and moved a half-game ahead of the idle Raptors for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with the win.
At this point, it doesn’t matter how the Bulls collect victories. Only that they do. But the fact that they held an opponent below the century mark for the third time in the last six games doesn’t hurt.
It’s How You Start
Nikola Vucevic sprinted out of the gate in this one. He scored the team’s first nine points and 15 of its 28 first-quarter points, all but three of which came from inside the paint.
Vucevic scored another five points in the second quarter and began to draw double teams after that. He didn’t take a shot in the fourth quarter but finished 12-of-19 from the field for the game.
The big man added five rebounds, four assists, and a steal to his highest point total since Feb. 12.
On a night where Zach LaVine (14 points on 4-of-10 shooting) logged his first scoreless opening half since Jan. 2019 and didn’t record a field goal until the 4:35 mark of the third quarter, Vucevic’s big night was right on time.
And How You Finish
The Bulls led at the end of each of the first three quarters, but just 81-80 after Deni Avdija hit back-to-back treys three minutes into the fourth.
Chicago responded with a 9-0 run bookended by a DeMar DeRozan turnaround jumper and dunk. DeRozan scored 14 points in the quarter, nailing six of the seven shots he took. This, after shooting just 6-for-20 in the first 36 minutes of the game. By the time he scored his last points on a pull-up jumper, the Bulls held a 98-86 advantage and the game in hand.
DeRozan added seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Sights For Sore Eyes
Patrick Williams, who didn’t attempt a shot Monday, took two of them in the first quarter. He missed a corner three, but converted an and-one layup on a baseline drive through traffic. Williams finished with six points on five shots to go along with seven rebounds (three offensive) and a steal.
Coby White, who scored all of six points against the Knicks Monday, tallied five points in a 5:41 stint in the first quarter. The three-pointer he made during that stretch was his first in the last three games. White shot 4-of-9 for the game with nine points, five assists, and four rebounds.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Chicago Bulls kick off a five-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CDT and the game will on NBC Sports Chicago. While they’re still without Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers are expected to have the services of Paul George. George (elbow) suited up against the Jazz Tuesday for the first time since Dec. 22.