Given time to shine, Dosunmu helps lead Bulls past Pistons

Some people are given the honor "Player of the game." Ayo Dosunmu had a quarter dedicated to him on Sunday.

To be specific, it was the second quarter when the Bulls outscored the Detroit Pistons by 14 points and went on to post a 119-108 victory at the United Center. DeMar DeRozan subbed in for Dosunmu for 3:38 left before halftime, after the Bulls had gone from an 11-point deficit to 8-point lead.

"First thing I told him was, 'That quarter was because of you,'" DeRozan said. "The energy he brought, getting out in transition, getting those layups, getting those steals. I let him know, without him, that quarter wouldn't have happened."

Dosunmu hit 6 of 7 shots on the night, scored 13 points and added 4 steals. DeRozan started slowly, hitting just 2 of his first 8 shots, but knocked down 9 of 11 the rest of the way to reach a game-high 29 points.

Besides flipping Torrey Craig for Patrick Williams in the starting lineup, Bulls coach Billy Donovan hasn't experimented much with different lineups so far. None of the regulars have missed any games outside of Dosunmu skipping two with an illness.

That changed Sunday, when Alex Caruso was sidelined by a left toe sprain. So far this season, Caruso has been the Bulls player most deserving of an all-star campaign, so his absence was significant. Donovan said Caruso suffered the injury in practice a couple days ago and is questionable to play in Monday's game in Milwaukee.

So with more minutes to divide between players, Donovan chose to give Dosunmu 27. Jevon Carter, another guard whose opportunities have been limited, played a season-low 12:20 against the Pistons. Donovan has been using a 10-man rotation, which is a bit unusual in the NBA.

"I've gone to 10 because I think he (Dosunmu) has deserved, as has Jevon, to keep those guys in there," Donovan said. "Jevon's given us a great boost in terms of shooting the basketball. I just want to play both those guys. It's hard, but they both certainly deserve to play."

Carter is shooting 50% from 3-point range this season and was 10-for-17 in the previous three games. On Sunday, he went 1-for-2.

Donovan used Craig and Williams together at times to counter the Pistons' tall front line. Rookie forward Ausar Thompson pulled in 16 rebounds for Detroit. But Donovan used a smaller lineup down the stretch in the fourth quarter, with Dosunmu and Coby White in the backcourt.

"It just goes to show we have a very deep team and any given night, your number could be called," Dosunmu said. "So you just have to be a true professional, be ready, seize the moment, work out each and every day, because you never know."

Dosunmu said he found out at shootaround Caruso wouldn't be playing, but still couldn't be certain how many minutes he would get.

"Each and every game I've got to take that approach that I'm playing a lot of minutes," Dosunmu said. "Because if you don't, if you go in there pouting like, 'Aw, I might not play,' then when it comes you won't be prepared for it."

The South Side native and former Illini star wasn't even sure he'd return to the Bulls this season, since he was a restricted free agent in the summer. The Bulls eventually came through with a three-year, $21 million deal.

"You always have to have the mindset that anything can happen," he said. "So I wouldn't say I was really focused on automatically leaving, but I knew it could happen."

The Pistons (2-9) were riding a seven-game losing streak, and just one of those losses was by less than 8 points. So while Detroit resembles an up-and-coming young team, prior results don't support that argument. The Pistons led 31-22 after one quarter, though.

Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, while Zach LaVine scored 19, and White 16. Andre Drummond had a double-double against his former team, with 11 points and 13 rebounds in just 15 minutes.

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