Fox delivers another opponent dagger to beat Bulls late

The Bulls chose to celebrate the wrong holiday on Wednesday against Sacramento.

It's green river time in Chicago during St. Patrick's Day week, but this felt more like Groundhog Day for the Bulls after losing on another last-second 3-pointer.

In back-to-back home games, 10 days apart, the Bulls lost on a last-second 3-point basket from pretty close to the same spot on the court. Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton was the first to do it and Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox duplicated the achievement, handing the Bulls a frustrating 117-114 loss.

This happened after the Bulls managed to rally from a 6-point deficit in the final 41.1 seconds. The Bulls took advantage of a couple missed free throws and tied the score when DeMar DeRozan completed a 4-point play with 12.5 seconds on the clock.

Neither team had a timeout left at this point, so Sacramento went to a simple plan. Fox dribbled the clock down and drained a 3-pointer over Ayo Dosunmu for the game-winner. The plan was for Patrick Williams to rush over and double-team as the clock wound down, but he didn't get there in time to prevent the shot. Patrick Beverley fouled out a few seconds before.

"You don't want to give up a wide-open shot by just running at him with 11 seconds," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. "You want to wait until the clock gets down a little bit so if it does get sprayed out, the next guy doesn't have a lot of options."

Fox is only a 33% shooter from 3-point range, so Dosunmu thought he might put the ball on the floor, rather than launch from long range.

"I just wanted to use my length, use my wingspan while not getting to close to him," Dosunmu said. "I try to keep a good distance where I can still contest. It was a great shot. I was anticipating him at least going into a midrange. I think I contested it well."

Alex Caruso came down with a non-COVID illness and did not play. Donovan stuck with a small starting lineup, using Dosunmu to take his place, and went with rookie Dalen Terry with the second unit instead of Derrick Jones Jr.

The Bulls were sharp at the start, knocking down some early threes and opening their biggest lead at 16 points early in the second quarter. They led by 10 at halftime, but Sacramento made a big push in the third, outscoring the Bulls 37-22.

"That's the disappointing part to me in the game," Donovan said. "The first two minutes, the lead's gone. It's basically gone. We've got to be able to come out better and I thought that third quarter was a huge factor."

One surprising stat heading into this game was since the all-star break, the Bulls led the NBA in fewest points allowed, while Sacramento ranked last at 126.5 per game.

So this figured to be a night for the Bulls to pile up some points, but it didn't translate into shooting percentage. Zach LaVine has been scorching hot lately, but hit just 7 of 22 shots Wednesday. Nikola Vucevic went 0-for-7 from 3-point range, while the starting backcourt of Dosunmu and Beverley combined to go 2-for-12 from the field.

Beverley did ring up double-digit rebounds for the second straight game, finishing with 11. DeRozan led the way with 33 points, while LaVine finished with 256 and Vucevic contributed 20 points and 14 boards. Fox scored 32 points, while teammate Domantas Sabonis recorded a triple-double.

Still in the thick of the race for the play-in tournament, the Bulls have two more home games this weekend against Minnesota and Miami.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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Bulls' Zach LaVine (8) gets Sacramento Kings' De'Aaron Fox off his feet during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday in Chicago. Associated Press
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