Bulls Insider

10 observations: Coby White's career-high night rallies Bulls past Kings

Four-game trip begins with DeMar DeRozan scoring 19 in the fourth to help erase 22-point deficit

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. --- The Chicago Bulls opened a four-game trip against Western Conference teams with a 113-109 victory over the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center Monday night.

"This is big," DeMar DeRozan said. "We have to carry this momentum over the next game."

Here are 10 observations:

---The Bulls rallied from a 22-point, third-quarter deficit, finishing the game on a 9-1 run after Domantas Sabonis fouled out.

“This group continues to fight,” coach Billy Donovan said.

The Bulls have now authored three comebacks of at least 21 points this season.

"I just think the character of the guys in this room," said Coby White when asked about the team's reslience. "For me, I’ve been here five years. Some of these guys I’ve been playing with. But just getting to know their backgrounds, where they come from, their journeys, their stories, how they are able to fight through adversity just in life. The basketball court is easy. But the stuff a lot of these guys went through in their lifetime and how they fought through it and how every challenge that came their way they seemed to get over it and run through that wall. The character of this room creates the resilience of this basketball team.

---White scored a career-high 37 points, posting his first 30-point game since Feb. 14. He shot 14-for-19 after not attempting a shot in the first quarter. White also had seven assists in a strong all-around game. It’s White’s seventh 30-point game this season, matching his total from his first four seasons combined.

"I was just trying to let the game come to me," White said. "Ayo (Dosunmu) really had it going in that first quarter. He was really aggressive getting downhill, catch-and-shoot. So I was just trying to play off him, let him do his thing. And then when my opportunities came, I wanted to take advantage of it. I wasn't trying to force anything."

White's previous career high of 36 points also came here in January 2021.

"But I had also zero turnovers (that night) and (Monday), I had three," White said, opening a window into his winning mindset.

---Similarly, DeMar DeRozan only attempted one shot the entire first half before taking over late to try to fuel a comeback victory. He scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth, finishing 10-for-12 from the field and 11-for-12 from the line.

"It's just feel," DeRozan said. "A lot of times it's just me physically or mentally trying to either collect data of how they're playing us or trying to get guys going. Or sometimes it's just getting myself loose and going. Some games I feel it right away and some games I need to ease into it. It's just me knowing myself. I knew at one point I was going to get it going."

White made sure to spread credit beyond him and DeRozan.

"It was a team effort," White said. "Ayo (Dosunmu) played really big. AC (Alex Caruso) had four steals. Julian (Phillips) came in, gave us some big minutes, had a big-time charge, got to the free-throw line after a big-time cut that got us a layup. Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) with a tip late that got AC an offensive rebound. Drum (Andre Drummond) the way he was screening was unbelievable, getting all the guards downhill. JC (Jevon Carter) too.

"So I don't really look at it as, 'Oh, man, me and Deebo are doing this and that.' I look at it as we got a good, solid team win. And I'm proud of our team."

---The Bulls’ defense, which allowed two quarters of 35 or more points, failed them when they surrendered 24 second-chance points. The uphill climb feel permeated the entire game. Seemingly every time the Bulls erased a significant deficit, they allowed an offensive rebound and deflating second-chance points. But Sabonis fouling out seemed to energize the defense, which came up with huge stops late.

Sabonis missed his first six shots and didn’t score until the 3:40 mark of the second but finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds to extend his double-double streak to 43 games. But Sabonis, who leads the NBA with 56 double-doubles, fouled out with 2:57 left.

---For the third straight game, Nikola Vucevic exhibited major frustration. He threw a towel at the bench as he walked off the court during a third-quarter timeout, minutes after getting whistled for two fouls, including a transition take foul. This came after his ejection for a flagrant foul against Milwaukee and after Vucevic also slammed the bench in frustration with a towel multiple times after fouling out of the double-overtime victory against Cleveland.

---The Bulls continued to display the up-and-down nature that has defined their season. They surrendered a 17-1 run to clos the first quarter, failing to score a field goal over the final 3:52 and finished the quarter with eight field goals and six turnovers. Alex Caruso missed all seven first-quarter shots, including five 3-pointers. But they then opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run, including seven quick points from White, who made his first three shots that included a dunk on Harrison Barnes.

---The Bulls extended the run to 22-5 as the second quarter progressed, erasing a 14-point deficit to take the lead. Caruso was everywhere defensively, posting three steals in this span. White scored 13 in the period. But the Kings closed the second with an 8-0 run to take a seven-point lead into halftime. DeRozan took just one shot in the first half.

---De’Aaron Fox returned from missing two games with a knee contusion to finish with 20 points and 10 assists. Ayo Dosunmu drew the lion’s share of the matchup, which is always a tough one. That didn’t stop Dosunmu from scoring seven of the Bulls’ first nine points without a miss and finishing with 20 points.

---Julian Phillips served as sixth man in what has become a revolving door role for the Bulls. Terry Taylor, Onuralp Bitim and Phillips all have served in that role of late. Phillips finished with six points and one rebound as the Bulls’ bench provided very little. Phillips did have a nice fourth quarter, scoring all of his points.

---In fact, Donovan, in an attempt to thwart a high-powered offense largely predicated on perimeter scoring, went small mostly against the Kings. Phillips, Bitim and even Jevon Carter, in a rare first-quarter stint, entered before Andre Drummond. And the double-big lineup of Drummond and Vucevic never appeared. Donovan used four guards or wings around one of the big men at all times.

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