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10 observations: DeMar DeRozan's huge 4th quarter lifts Bulls past Jazz

Veteran closer scores 17 down stretch as team improves to 2-0 on four-game trip

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SALT LAKE CITY --- The Chicago Bulls improved to 2-0 on their four-game trip against Western Conference teams, downing an undermanned Utah Jazz squad 119-117 on Wednesday night at Delta Center.

"They played extremely hard," DeMar DeRozan said. "They got some dogs on their team, physicality, great with hands, crashing the boards. Every aspect of the game was tough."

Collin Sexton’s open look at a 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out after Alex Caruso appeared to be held by John Collins on the inbounds play and Caruso slipped trying to break free from Collins' screen. Coby White did contest the shot late.

Here are 10 observations:

---The Bulls posted their NBA-leading 21st clutch victory, defined as any game within five points with 5 minutes to play or less. Coby White leads the NBA in plus-minus for clutch minutes, with Nikola Vucevic third and DeRozan fourth.

But the Bulls blew a 12-point lead to make it a clutch game.

"We certainly made it that way," a mildly perturbed Billy Donovan said postgame.

---DeRozan scored 17 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. He entered Wednesday night ranked seventh in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring and second in clutch scoring. DeRozan’s two free throws with 9.3 seconds left proved the game-winning points.

"He obviously has incredible poise and experience in those situations," Donovan said.

DeRozan now has 36 fourth-quarter points over the last two games.

---White picked up where he left off after scoring a career-high 37 points in Sacramento on Monday. He sank his first five shots, including four deep 3-pointers, and finished with 25 points. White sank seven of the Bulls’ 17 3-pointers.

---Ayo Dosunmu continued his strong play with a season-high nine assists. Dosunmu and White are forming solid chemistry as the starting backcourt and consistently pushed pace and found each other on trailing situations in secondary fast-break action. The Bulls finished with 29 assists.

"I thought Ayo was really good," Donovan said. "He just competes. He doesn't get rattled. He keeps his composure."

---Assistant coach Chris Fleming and Torrey Craig drew technical fouls and John Collins received one following a scuffle when Sexton fouled DeRozan to stop the clock with those 9.3 seconds left. The ensuing free throw allowed the Jazz to tie the game before DeRozan’s game-winning free throws.

"I saw DeMar get fouled and I don't know if he was grabbing his face or holding his face," Donovan said. "Torrey said something, came over. I think Chris Fleming was trying to hold everybody off to kind of separate. And then from there, it just kind of escalated and I stepped in to try to break it up a little bit.

"I don't look at it from a Utah situation at all. I look at it from our situation. And we have to be better in those moments. Not only did we lose a point on a technical foul, we also iced our free-throw shooter. And I give DeMar a lot of credit for being mentally tough enough. I understand the emotion and intensity of games. But whether it's complaining or frustrated, it's not helping anything. We gotta do a better job."

DeRozan downplayed being iced.

"I just stayed locked in," he said.

---The Jazz lead the NBA in second-chance points and stayed competitive because of this. They posted 16 second-chance points before the Bulls posted their first and finished with a 22-8 advantage.

"It's our guards," Donovan said. "When they're coming downhill and shots are going up, a lot of times most big men are locked up under the basket. So your blockout responsibility is right in front of you. Our guards are in the right areas but they're not hitting people enough. And they're letting people run through us and over us and around us."

---The Jazz played without---deep breath here---Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks and Otto Porter Jr. They started Luka Samanic, making just his 11th NBA start, and Brice Sensabaugh, making his first NBA start. Sensabaugh set his career-high in points just over midway through the first quarter and finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

---Dalen Terry returned home to Phoenix for personal reasons, per the Bulls’ PR staff. Terry didn’t play against the Kings in Sacramento on Monday and has fallen behind Onuralp Bitim and Julian Phillips in the rotation. Bitim and Phillips were the first two substitutes.

---Phillips continues to play with poise. Though he needs to ditch his propensity for fouling 3-point shooters, he moves his feet well, rebounds and shoots without hesitation. He knocked down his first two 3-pointers. Help could be on the way. Pregame, Donovan said Torrey Craig could return on Thursday from the knee injury that has sidelined him since the All-Star break.

---With 23 points and 12 rebounds, Vucevic had another double-double and passed the 15,000-point mark for his career. He’s one of three active players, joining LeBron James and Kevin Love, with at least 15,000 points and 9,000 rebounds.

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