The Chicago Bulls trailed by as many as 22 points midway through the second quarter of their Summer League bout against the Spurs Tuesday evening.
But — contrary to Monday against the Pelicans, when they wilted as the game wore on — the Bulls used active defense and hot 3-point shooting to flip a 15-point halftime deficit into a three-point victory, defeating San Antonio 92-89 to move to 1-1 in Summer League play.
Here are five other observations from the contest:
Patrick Williams was the man
One day after taking 20 field goal attempts against the Pelicans, Patrick Williams got up 23 shots against the Spurs. Like the Pelicans game, the results of those shots were a tale of two halves — but this time in the opposite direction.
In the first quarter, Williams made a deep step-in 3 and transition layup, but missed his other six attempts to bring his Summer League shooting line through five quarters to 8-for-28. Upon checking in midway through the second, he drew free throws on a dunk attempt and hit another 3, ending the first half with 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting (2-for-4 from deep).
But as the Bulls rallied from their early deficit in the second half, Williams came on. He poured in nine points (3-for-5 shooting) in the third quarter, then added another nine in the fourth, including three timely buckets in the game’s final 91 seconds: A mid-range jumper, driving floater and cutting dunk off a nice feed from Devon Dotson. All helped seal the game.
Williams finished with 30 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists (3 turnovers) and a steal. He shot 10-for-23 from the field — 7-for-12 in the second half — 4-for-7 from 3-point range and 6-for-6 from the line. That comes one day after shooting 0-for-7 and committing 3 turnovers in the second half in the Pelicans loss.
As the team’s go-to scorer, Williams delivered in crunch time when his number was called. He grabbed-and-went to lead the fastbreak off of defensive rebounds all game. He looked confident in jumpers from every level. He didn’t melt into the background of the contest, even following a slow start. All you can ask for, and a nice development game.
Ayo Dosunmu brought a second-half spark
Ayo Dosunmu didn’t have much going against the Pelicans, or in the first half against the Spurs, but brought electric energy in the second half of this one on the defensive end and in transition.
In the third quarter, he nabbed two steals and found two dunks, a layup and an assist sprinting ahead of the pack on the fastbreak.
For the game, Dosunmu notched 10 points and a game-high 4 steals. His defensive activity and lightning-quick speed in transition were refreshing to see, and key to the comeback.
Marko Simonović’s impact continues to be felt
It’s early, but based on early impressions of Marko Simonović, the skills that will give him utility on an NBA floor are apparent.
On the glass, he’s an active, physical presence. On the fastbreak, his head and hands are usually up, and his legs are perpetually pumping; standing 6-foot-11, he’s a long, speedy target (relative to other big men) in transition, an area he said after his Summer League debut he hopes to excel.
And though Simonović hasn’t shown off his shooting touch much through two games, he also canned a mid-range jumper in the second quarter.
A putback layup, driving finish and sprinting transition dunk rounded out Simonović’s 18 minutes, more than his 15 in the opener. He posted 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a block in that time, shooting 5-for-8 from the field.
The sign-and-trade agreement that will net the Bulls DeMar DeRozan from the Spurs has yet to be finalized, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting acquainted with his new colleagues.
Billy Donovan, Artūras Karnišovas, Marc Eversley, Troy Brown Jr. and DeRozan, plus a couple Bulls assistant coaches, had front-row seats for Tuesday's action:
(A later camera angle showed Brown sitting to DeRozan’s right and Eversley on Karnišovas’ left.)
Brown also conducted an interview on the NBA TV broadcast early in the fourth quarter and spoke on his excitement for the team’s additions of Lonzo Ball, for his basketball IQ and ability to push pace, and DeRozan, for his veteran leadership and clutch shot-making.
- Troy Baxter Jr. had the highlight of the first half: The 6-foot-9 forward out of Morgan State opened eyes with an out-of-nowhere block attempt against the Pelicans, and flashed his eye-popping athleticism with this dunk against the Spurs:
- The shooting of Jaylen Adams (8 points, 2-for-2 from 3) and Ethan Thompson (9 points, 2-for-4 from 3) was key to the Bulls’ second-half comeback. Thompson also connected on three of five long-range attempts against the Pelicans.