LAS VEGAS — The Chicago Bulls decimated the Charlotte Hornets in each team’s final Summer League game, winning 99-74 to move their record in the showcase to 2-3.
Here are five observations:
This was a contest fitting for the eve of Summer League’s end. The Bulls won the first half 45-28, but the two teams combined to shoot 26-for-83 (31.3 percent) — and it was only a 14-2 Chicago spurt to end the second quarter that pushed that percentage north of 30.
The action picked up in the second half, particularly on the Bulls’ side. They got out on the fastbreak frequently to push their lead to 26 by the end of the third, and didn’t look back from there.
In all, the Bulls placed five players in double figures. We’ll get to the second-round picks, who again produced, in a moment. But Jerome Robinson and Jaylen Adams, who each scored 13 points and buried three 3-pointers, helped keep the offense afloat as well, particularly early on.
Marko Simonović does the little things
Fresh off a 14-point, 6-assist outing against the Grizzlies, Simonović’s stat line was quieter in this one. He posted 10 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
But the devil is in the details. Even absent gaudy numbers, the 2020 second-round pick continued to flash aspects of his intriguing offensive tool kit. In the first quarter, he beat Hornets 2021 first-round pick Kai Jones for a layup off a dribble drive. He looks natural screening for guards, diving to the rim and catching feeds. Though not an automatic finisher, he’s willing to play physically at the cup.
In the end, that’s enough to make a solid first impression at a Summer League showing. The downside is that his jump-shot doesn’t look immediately transferable. Simonović finished his five games 0-for-8 from 3-point range, and many of his low-arcing misses weren’t particularly close. He shot 32.2 percent from deep on 4.3 attempts per game abroad last season, but that was with a shorter 3-point line.
Ayo Dosunmu has second-half surge
Dosunmu broke out for 26 points against Memphis, but endured a 2-for-9 shooting first half in this one.
The second half saw him get out on the break and pour in points in bunches. He notched 10 in the third, mostly attacking scattered defenses in transition. That’s where his speed and craft most flashed in Summer League.
Though he took some lumps in the half court, the big takeaway for Dosunmu was his advanced comfort playing more on the ball after Patrick Williams and Devon Dotson (who missed the last two-and-a-half games with a right ankle injury) departed from the lineup. He finished the finale with a game-high 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting (12 on 5-for-5 between quarters three and four).
Henry Domercant nets first head coaching win
Domercant, a player development coordinator for the Bulls, coached the team’s final two Summer League contests. Damian Cotter stepped aside to give the former Eastern Illinois star, and Windy City Bulls assistant, a developmental opportunity.
After the Grizzlies loss, Domercant chided that, outside of a fifth-grade summer camp game, it was effectively his coaching debut — and that he would have been happier to get a win.
Well, on Monday he did.
“I enjoyed it,” Domercant said after the Memphis game. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity. I love this game, and any way I can be a part of it I count it a blessing.”
Added Dosunmu: “He’s (Domercant) a players coach. He knows how to motivate guys and also instill confidence in guys to go play. I think he has a bright future ahead of him (in coaching).”
Troy Baxter Jr. didn’t see much run in the Bulls’ five Summer League games, so his NBA chances are anybody’s guess. But damn it does that man know how to liven a crowd:
This tomahawk for a moment electrified a dreary, late-evening Thomas & Mack Arena. So, too, did a late-quarter blocked shot spiked directly into the behind-the-basket media seating (on which he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for touching the netting).
Him flying around with reckless abandon was exactly the injection of energy this game needed.