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7 takeaways from the Chicago Bulls’ stunning 123-122 overtime buzzer loss – their 9th clutch game loss this season – Reuters Sports News

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The Chicago Bulls fell short of the second straight night on Sunday with an overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

The 123-122 loss dropped the Bulls to an 11-15 record as the team sits 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Here are seven takeaways from the game.

1. After two clutch wins, the Bulls are still 3-9 in close games.

The Bulls looked set to win their fourth clutch game of the season in overtime against the Hawks, but AJ Griffin crushed those hopes with a winning drive at the buzzer on an inbound lob from Jalen Johnson to cut the return one point short. .

Despite the forced overtime, the Bulls failed to close another clutch game, which is defined in the NBA as any game with a margin of five points or less in the final five minutes.

The Bulls were improving in that department, winning their last two clutch games after starting 1-8 in those situations. But the team’s ability to land games becomes an Achilles’ heel as the Bulls sink further into a season-quarter losing streak.

2. DeMar DeRozan’s breakthrough fourth-quarter offense continues.

Despite the loss, DeMar DeRozan added another page to the growing myth of his dominance in the final minutes of games. DeRozan scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and gave the Bulls their first lead since the second quarter with 3:32 remaining in regulation.

With half a second of overtime remaining, DeRozan won a rare 3-point shooting foul on guard Bogdan Bogdanović and sank all three free throws to give the Bulls a one-point lead that seemed ample.

“A coach told me until the clock hits 12:00:00 a.m. it’s not over,” DeRozan said after the loss.

The loss was another reminder that DeRozan can’t do everything to close out Bulls games, a lesson the team has yet to fully learn.

3. Derrick Jones Jr. provides a vital spark off the bench, including tying free throws to force overtime.

When DeRozan missed a potentially game-winning shot with 3.1 seconds left, it was backup forward Derrick Jones Jr. who came to the rescue by grabbing a rebound and getting fouled.

Jones’ heroism was dampened when he missed his second free throw, which could have been the starting point to avoid overtime altogether.

But the game was still a highlight for the substitute striker, who was quietly consistent behind Patrick Williams and Javonte Green. Jones finished with 14 points, two assists, two steals and three blocks in a solid defensive performance.

4. The Bulls give up 23 points on 18 turnovers in another night of reckless ball protection.

The Bulls fell into a midgame slump as they gave up 23 points on 18 turnovers in a reckless night of ball protection. Zach LaVine was behind seven of those turnovers as the star goaltender struggled with reckless passes into the post throughout the night.

The Hawks suffered a similarly sloppy night – giving up 17 points on 15 turnovers – which allowed the Bulls to maintain closeness despite their own protection of the ball. But as a team built on turnovers and forcing the game into transition, the Bulls can’t afford to give up more turnovers than their opponents, especially against a strong 3-point shooting unit.

5. The Bulls regress to the 3-point shooting standard after a promising night against the Mavericks.

After a scorching night of shooting against the Mavericks, the Bulls fell back to average in Atlanta with a low-volume night from 3-pointers. The Bulls went 7 for 27 from behind the arc, dropping slightly below their league-low average of 28.6 attempts per game.

Neither team shot at a very effective rate (Hawks were 33.3% from behind the arc, Bulls were 25.9%) but the Hawks nearly doubled the shots, passing the Bulls 39 -21 at long range. It becomes a refrain for the Bulls – it will be impossible to beat opponents while giving up that kind of margin from 3 points.

6. Ayo Dosunmu suffers an abdominal injury in the second quarter, raising concerns for the guard unit.

The Bulls took a hit in the second quarter when Ayo Dosunmu left the game after trying to score a layup in transition on Hawks goaltender Trae Young.

Dosunmu went parallel to the pitch in the air as he collided with the Hawks guard and fell on Young’s knee as he fell to the hardwood, suffering an abdominal contusion in the collision .

It is unclear whether Dosunmu will be able to return to court later this week. This creates further concern for the playmaking unit after Alex Caruso was sidelined with a tailbone bruise in the Mavericks game. With no guards available, the Bulls closed with guard Coby White against the Hawks.

7. Javonte Green returns from a knee injury but does not immediately return to the starting rotation.

Javonte Green returned in the second quarter after missing two games with a bone bruise in his right knee. Coach Billy Donovan previously said he planned to bring the power forward back into the starting line-up once he was fully healthy to replace Williams, but Green played less than 15 minutes as he was coming back into the rotation.

Green finished with two points, three rebounds and four turnovers. Williams had eight points and seven assists in the loss, but neither player was selected to close out the game. Instead, Donovan opted for Jones to join the closing unit for the final minutes of regulation and overtime.

Here’s the recap of Sunday’s loss.

The Chicago Bulls are still struggling in the clutch.

After a sloppy night of ball handling, the Bulls found themselves trailing in the final five minutes of regulation Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks. And despite forcing overtime with a 10-point comeback — and even taking a one-point lead with 0.5 seconds left in overtime — the Bulls couldn’t wrap it up in a 123-122 loss to the AJ Griffin’s alley-oop at the buzzer.

The Bulls are now 3-9 in clutch games, which the NBA defines as games with a margin of five points or less in the final five minutes.

DeMar DeRozan scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and gave the Bulls their first lead since the second quarter with 3:32 remaining in regulation. But when DeRozan missed a potentially game-winning shot with 3.1 seconds left, it was backup forward Derrick Jones Jr. who came to the rescue by grabbing a rebound and getting fouled.

The effort only prolonged the inevitable for the Bulls. Jones missed the second free throw and the game went to overtime, where DeRozan once again looked set to win the game after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with 0.5 seconds remaining and having sank all three free throws for a 122-121 lead.

But Griffin responded with his winner on an incoming lob from Jalen Johnson.

DeRozan led the Bulls with 34 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Jones finished with 14 points and closed the game alongside Coby White, who added 12 points off the bench. Andre Drummond contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and five steals off the bench.

Bogdan Bogdanović led the Hawks with 28 points, including six 3-pointers.

The loss was the second straight game for the Bulls, who beat the Dallas Mavericks at home on Saturday night before flying to Atlanta. It was the second straight game of the season for Zach LaVine, who missed at least one game of the first three straight games while recovering from offseason knee surgery.

LaVine scored 21 points but struggled to control the ball in the first half and recorded seven turnovers on the night. After a strong first quarter, the Bulls fell into a midgame slump and ended up allowing 23 points on 18 turnovers on a reckless night of ball protection.

Javonte Green returned in the second quarter after missing three games with a bone bruise in his right knee. Coach Billy Donovan previously said he planned to bring the power forward back into the starting lineup in place of Patrick Williams once he was fully healthy, but Green played less than 15 minutes so that he was coming back into the rotation. He finished with two points, three rebounds and four turnovers.

The Bulls took a hit in the second quarter when Ayo Dosunmu came out after trying to lay up in transition on Hawks goaltender Trae Young. Dosunmu fell on Young’s knee as he fell to the hardwood, suffering an abdominal bruise.

It’s unclear if Dosunmu will be able to return later this week, which is causing further concern for the point guard after Alex Caruso was sidelined with a tailbone injury in the Mavericks game.

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