Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Alex Caruso returned Wednesday night from missing two games with a sprained left toe and, as usual, found himself in the center of much of the important action.
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That included his one-on-one defense against Paolo Banchero, to whom he cedes five inches, on Banchero's game-winning basket with 1.4 seconds left.
A basket Caruso is curious to see if it should've counted once the NBA releases its Last Two Minute Report on Thursday.
"He made a tough shot. The ball bounced like four times on the rim and went in," Caruso said. "Without saying too much, we'll look at the Two Minute Report and see what happened with the foot movement for Paolo. Overall, I tried to make it tough on him.
"I think the bigger thing is probably don't put ourselves in that position to leave it to chance on the last play of the game."
Indeed, Caruso didn't blame a potential missed call in the 96-94 loss for the Bulls' offensive woes, which included a paltry 33 points in the first half and just 39.8 percent shooting overall and 27.3 percent from 3-point range.
"We were a little stuck in mud," Caruso said. "It looked like the college games (Tuesday) night for a handful of minutes."
The Bulls rallied from 19 points down and tied it on Zach LaVine's second 3-pointer in the final 17.4 seconds. Caruso helped lead the comeback with his typically adhesive defense and some timely shotmaking, though he rued two open 3-point looks he missed during his 16-point night.
On Banchero's winning basket, coach Billy Donovan wanted to see more backside contest.
"Alex bodied him, got him off," Donovan said. "As he got closer to the lane line and he went, we probably needed to bring a few more hands to alter the shot a little more."
At least Caruso is back.
"It was good for the most part," he said of his toe. "There were a couple instances where it kind of pulled at me. But I talked to the medical team before the game. They do a good job of informing me of stuff. There's nothing structurally wrong with it. It's just sore."