The Chicago Bulls live under a sense of dread in the fourth quarter.

It’s only natural. They’ve squandered too many leads and choked in too many close games to feel any semblance of comfort in the late stages. And that nightmare nearly repeated itself Wednesday in Detroit.

The Bulls led the Pistons by 21 points with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter. That should have been enough to cruise to a win. Instead the Bulls coughed up turnovers and took sloppy shots as the double-digit lead evaporated.

When Bojan Bogdanović sank a tying jumper with 2:48 left, it seemed to rattle home with an air of inevitability — there goes another one.

Ultimately, the Bulls escaped disaster with a 117-115 victory based on pure luck. With 9.7 seconds remaining and the Bulls up by two, Pistons guard Jaden Ivey called a timeout — only to realize they already had run out.

The error by the rookie guard bailed the Bulls out of another potential crash landing as Zach LaVine hit the technical free throw and the Pistons were forced to foul DeMar DeRozan, who hit a pair. .

The Bulls avoided a second straight loss, but the game nevertheless highlighted their struggles to hold leads — even against the bottom teams in the league.

The highs

In the opening minutes, LaVine couldn’t miss. He went 5-for-5 from the field in the first six minutes, scoring 12 points as he splashed heavily contested 3-pointers and rattled in slashing drives to the rim. He maintained this precision shooting throughout the game, finishing 14-for-20 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range to tally 41 points, two shy of his season high.
Coby White produced another well-rounded performance off the bench, creating an immediate spark on both ends of the court. He snagged three steals in an eight-minute stretch in the first half and finished with 14 points on 3-for-6 3-point shooting.
Patrick Beverley continued to contribute in a supporting role with eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals in the first half alone. He finished with five points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

The lows

The Bulls turned the ball over only four times in the first half, seemingly rectifying the main cause of their loss to the Toronto Raptors the night before. But they quickly slipped back into the pattern of poor ball protection, coughing up six turnovers in the third quarter and five in the fourth. The Pistons scored 22 points off …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Recapping the Chicago Bulls: Late timeout error by Detroit Pistons allows Bulls to escape another 2nd-half meltdown

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