The Chicago Bulls took the floor against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night hoping to shake off a very rough performance in their first Summer League game: a 94-77 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. After jumping out to an enormous 9-8 lead early on, the Bulls proceeded to fall apart quickly. It wasn't long until the Spurs were up by 22 points as the Bulls looked lost. At the half, the Bulls clawed back to only be down 52-37. Honestly, at that point the only highlight was Marko Simonović, who had 11 points on 100% shooting. Subsequently, Patrick Williams had a team-leading 12 points but on a rough 3-of-11 (27.3%) shooting. There were some highlights, though, such as this put-back slam from Troy Baxter Jr.
In the second half, it clicked that the game slowed down for Patrick Williams. The second-year forward started dominating the game the way Bulls fans expected coming into summer league. Plus, Ayo Dosunmu started locking down on defense. The high-intensity defense led to multiple fast-break opportunities that got the Bulls back into the game.
Once Chicago started going downhill on the break with Dosunmu and Williams leading the charge, the Spurs started to get flustered. The Paw and company started to claw back into the game and the momentum shifted drastically. By the end of the third quarter, the Spurs were only up 69-66. When the fourth quarter got under way, Williams, Dosunmu, and players like Ethan Thompson brought the Bulls back and put them on top. Even as the Spurs closed the gap in the closing minutes, Patrick Williams shut the game down. Possession after possession, Williams had the ball in his hands and hit clutch shots to give the Bulls the 92-89 victory.
Patrick Williams: 30 points & 7 rebounds on 43.5% shooting (10/23) and 57.1% 3-point shooting (4/7).
Patrick Williams put up 30 points in roughly 34 minutes. After a tough first half in terms of efficiency, the fact that Williams shot 43.5% from the field for the game is impressive. At the end of the fourth quarter, it was clear that Williams was the best player in this game.
Ayo Dosunmu: 10 points, 4 rebounds, & 4 steals on 44.4% shooting (4/9).
Dosunmu only shot 25% from the field in his first Summer League game. Moreover, he didn't have the defensive impact one would expect. To play more efficiently while creating havoc defensively is an impressive turnaround in one game. Of course, we can't expect Dosunmu to nab 4 steals every game, but he locked guys down and was active all game long.
Marko Simonović: 13 points & 5 rebounds on 62.5% shooting (5/8) in 18 minutes.
As Simonović adjusts to the NBA, even if it is just Summer League, he's playing limited minutes. In the first game, Simonović only played 15 minutes and scored 13 points while collecting five boards. Following that up, Simonović stayed efficient and found himself at the foul line often.
What's On Tap Next
The Summer League Chicago Bulls will play again on Thursday, August 12 at 3:00 p.m. CDT against the Minnesota Timberwolves. You can check it out on NBA TV to follow Williams, Simonović, and the rest of the crew. Let's watch them ball out, Bulls Nation.