10 observations: DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu help Bulls rally past Pelicans

10 observations: DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu help Bulls rally past Pelicans originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Bulls rallied from a 12-point, third-quarter deficit to post a 114-106 road victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Here are 10 observations:

---The Bulls added to their league-leading amount of clutch minutes played and improved to 18-14 in such games, defined by being within five points with 5 minutes or less to play. They made multiple clutch plays late, including superb defense by Alex Caruso on Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram and DeMar DeRozan sinking a massive 3-pointer with 30.7 seconds left for a five-point lead. DeRozan finished with 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

---The shorthanded Bulls received a break when the Pelicans became shorthanded thanks to league suspensions for Naji Marshall and Jose Alvarado and an ankle injury for CJ McCollum. Dyson Daniels missed his sixth straight game.

---Still, the Bulls’ absences at power forward are gaping and, with Patrick Williams out for the season, will be for awhile until Torrey Craig can return from his knee injury. Caruso joked about how he has gotten used to playing power forward over the past couple seasons. But his initial assignment was no joke---Williamson.

---In a nod to Williamson’s unique combination of speed and strength, Terry Taylor was sixth man. This marked Taylor’s first non-mop-up minutes since Jan. 31 at Charlotte. Williamson finished with 19 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, but the Bulls limited him down the stretch.

---Ayo Dosunmu blasted out of the gate with 14 first-quarter points, repeatedly beating the Pelicans in transition and making his first five shots. Dosunmu also extended his career-long streak with at least two 3-pointers made to six games. He finished with 21 points, eight assists and three 3-pointers. It’s the second straight game that Dosunmu has posted a season-high eight assists.

---Billy Donovan burned a timeout just 66 seconds into the second half, which the Pelicans opened by scoring easily on two possessions. Donovan has two longstanding coaching habits---burning quick timeouts when his teams don’t follow game plan points reiterated at halftime and also taking timeouts between opposing players’ free throws.

---Donovan shelved the double-big lineup of Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond for the first time in several games. He had hinted at doing so with his pregame remarks, in which he said the five-man unit featuring those two players didn’t fare well in Thursday’s loss to Boston. Both players played well separately. Drummond saved his biggest plays for the fourth quarter and finished with seven points and eight rebounds in 14 minutes. Vucevic because the 33rd player in NBA history to post 500 double-doubles, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

---Coby White sank a 29-foot 3-pointer on the opening possession of the game just 15 seconds after tipoff but then missed nine straight before making his next field goal. Still, White finished with 16 points and seven rebounds and shook off a rolled ankle to hit a big 3-pointer late on a DeRozan drive-and-dish. DeRozan twice drove and kicked to White for late shots despite White shooting 5-for-18, more evolution in White’s late-game role.

---The Bulls recorded 29 assists, scored 15 second-chance points and sank 19 of 21 free throws. Playing shorthanded and without the 3-point shooting of Zach LaVine, Williams and Torrey Craig, the Bulls must utilize ball movement and easy points off second-chance opportunities or free throws to thrive offensively.

---Speaking of shooting, the Bulls signed Andrew Funk to a two-way contract Sunday morning. The 6-foot-5-inch guard shot over 40 percent for the Denver Nuggets’ G League affiliate.

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