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Big Three lead Bulls, beat Wizards in crunch time

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If DeMar DeRozan can identify the spark the Bulls need to turn things around, he’ll bottle it up and give it out to his teammates.

But this isn’t a “space jam,” and getting the season off the ground isn’t as easy as spinning a water bottle that says “Michael’s Secret Thing.” Ahead of his 115-111 win Wednesday night over the Wizards — who, like the Bulls, were on a three-game losing streak — DeRozan said anything could trigger an upturn.

“It’s all about timing,” he said. “Sometimes we have to go through what it takes to find another side of us as a team.”

What the Bulls needed was 3-star consistency, improved 3-point shooting, and change. On Wednesday, their big three showed up long behind. DeRozan finished with 27 points, while Zach Lavigne and Nikola Vucevic each had 25 points. Those three combined made up 33 of the Bulls’ 35 points in the fourth quarter.

Manager Billy Donovan began the process of making changes to the lineup after the Bulls lost to the Suns by 19 points last week, moving Alex Caruso to the starting five and Ayo Dosunmu to the bench.

Caruso had a perfect stat line of 5 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and a season-high 4 steals. The Bulls had 45 field goals and 29 assists.

“He’s always been a great passer and playmaker,” Donovan said. “He’s an unselfish player. He gets more enjoyment out of other aspects of the game than scoring.”

The change, coupled with the performances of their reputation-worthy stars, contributed to the Bulls’ wins, but it’s not always beautiful and doesn’t mark a turnaround. We will provide that opportunity in three of our next four games in the United States.

They came all the way through against the Wizards, but they have a lot to fix. On defense, the Bulls struggled to recover in the post, losing 28 points to Kristaps Porzingis and a total of 60 points in the paint.

They entered the fourth quarter by one point. Both teams exchanged threes in his final five minutes. First, answering Kyle Kuzma and Monte Morris 3-pointers was LaVine at his basket with three straight 3-pointers.

Then Vucevic hit from the corner to give the Bulls a one-point lead.

They trailed by six with a minute remaining, but trailed the Wizards by two in the final seconds. With 1.9 seconds remaining, LaVine sank two of his free throws to make it a two-possession game and the win.

The win could be the start of a turnaround, or just another example of how the Bulls have been consistently inconsistent all season long.

Nothing special is needed for this team to be hot. We’ll need more performances like Wednesday night from DeRozan, LaVine and Vucevic.

“[We have to] Keep doing what you just did,” Lavigne said. “Rather than saying you have to look forward and win this many games, win every day. That’s the goal.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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