5 takeaways from the Chicago Bulls’ 124-108 win, including Dalen Terry’s role and a LeBron James anniversary in Chicago

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As the final 15 seconds ticked down on a 124-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Chicago Bulls earned their first standing ovation of the season on Wednesday.

The praise came for good reason. The Bulls handily dispensed with a team that won the NBA Cup just 11 days before. They absorbed several offensive runs spurred by LeBron James and Anthony Davis to keep the Lakers from ever tying the game after taking the lead about four minutes into the first quarter.

The season seemed all but lost after a 5-14 start, but the Bulls are now 7-3 in their last 10 games without maximum contract star Zach LaVine, who will remain sidelined until January with a foot injury.

They still sit five games below .500 with a 12-17 record. But the consistency of their 3-point shooting paired with breakout performances from players like Coby White has buoyed the Bulls as they begin to climb in the Eastern Conference standings.

Here are five takeaways from the game.

1. LeBron James was stymied by Bulls’ defensive effort on his 20th anniversary in Chicago.

Wednesday was a testament to the longevity of LeBron James, who marked the 20-year anniversary of his first game in Chicago.

In that debut, James recorded 32 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and two steals for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has played 62 more games in Chicago over the ensuing 21 seasons of his career including Wednesday, averaging 28.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists per contest against Chicago

James started the game dominantly, scoring or assisting all of the first nine points for the Lakers, but the Bulls managed to hold James slightly below his scoring average from prior matchups. He finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

2. DeMar DeRozan led a young lineup with a blend of shooting and passing.

In the second half, the Bulls already knew where to look for their scoring — DeMar DeRozan.

The veteran scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, following his preferred routine of taking his moments in the opening half and then taking over in the final frame. Before that, he was a critical facilitator for his teammates, tallying nine assists and seven rebounds.

DeRozan is leading the Bulls in assists for the second season in a row. He provided a steadying force Wednesday as the Bulls fielded their youngest rotation of the season with an average age of 27 — including three starters who are 23 or younger.

3. Dalen Terry steps up in the absence of Torrey Craig.

Coach Billy Donovan moved Dalen Terry into the secondary forward position to accommodate the loss of Torrey Craig, who will miss a minimum of 6-8 weeks to recover from a sprain of his right plantar fascia.

The second-year forward provided a positive impact in Wednesday’s game, snagging five rebounds and even taking several defensive reps against James. He showcased an eye for transition offense by pushing the ball ahead immediately after two different defensive rebounds, logging three assists as he fed his teammates and fit into the improved pace of the Bulls offense.

Terry only scored two points and was vocally frustrated that he missed the entire rim on a 3-point attempt, but his confidence was visible after his first outing in the new rotation.

“(I’m) just being a guy out there that brings some more joy to the team,” Terry said. “That’s sometimes something that we lack — having fun. I think when I’m out there, we have fun.”

4. Patrick Williams improving his average as the Bulls catch fire from 3-point range.

After a slow start to the season, Patrick Williams has shot 50% from behind the arc through the past 10 games. He continued that sharp shooting Wednesday, going 3-for-3 from 3-point range to score 15 points.

That slow start wasn’t just a factor for Williams — the entire roster shot the ball poorly through the opening 19-game stretch as they sank into an early hole. But over the past 10 games, the Bulls have shot 41.9% (second-best in the league) on 34.1 attempts per game.

The Bulls went 18-for-34 (52.9%) from 3-point range in Wednesday’s win. Four players finished with three made shots from 3-point range — Patrick Williams, Nikola Vučević, Coby White and Alex Caruso — while Ayo Dosunmu went 4-for-6 behind the arc.

5. Coby White’s confidence grows as he extends his consistent scoring streak.

Coby White has already proven what he can do for the Bulls — spreading the ball unselfishly and shooting audaciously to serve as the catalyst for the entire roster. Now, he’s proving that he can continue his style of play consistently.

White tallied 17 points, five assists and seven rebounds in the win, shooting 3-for-6 from 3-point range. His demeanor on the court reflected the increased responsibility he has assumed as the lead playmaker for the Bulls, commanding his teammates on both ends of the court.


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