Bulls stay perfect in preseason with win over Cavaliers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
A leviathan nearly fell Sunday evening in Cleveland, Ohio.
But never fear. The 2021 Chicago Bulls, who entered play with a league-best plus-32.5 net rating through two preseason games, narrowly escaped Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse with a 102-101 win, pushing their record in exhibition play to 3-0.
Here are seven observations:
1. Billy Donovan continued to ramp up his key players’ minutes.
The Bulls clearly value their starters playing together as much as is prudent during the preseason.
After ratcheting up his key players’ minutes from the low 20s in the opener to 24-28 in the second game, Lonzo Ball (34), Zach LaVine (30), DeMar DeRozan (31) and Nikola Vučević (30) all played between 30 and 34 minutes in this one. Donovan pulled the plug on his starters at the 8:37 mark of the fourth quarter with his team ahead 86-82.
As promised pregame, Donovan also experimented with LaVine staggered alongside the team’s reserves instead of DeRozan.
2. Derrick Jones Jr. impressed with an increased rotational role.
Derrick Jones Jr.’s first rotation turn came midway through the first quarter — earlier than against the Pelicans, when, in his preseason debut, he checked in midway through the third.
In turn, he flushed home a majestic transition dunk, tipped back an and-one layup (on which he missed the free throw) and finished the first half with six points and two rebounds in eight minutes.
Jones returned with the starters (minus Javonte Green and DeRozan, plus Alex Caruso) in the third quarter, athletically finished another lob and made a noticeable impact on the team’s pace and activity level after they fell behind midway through the period.
His night also included fourth quarter minutes, and ended with a final stat line of 10 points, four rebounds and one assist. He made four of his seven field-goal attempts, missing both 3-point tries.
Stanley Johnson, who…
Source : yahoo