White shines, but Bulls fade down stretch and lose to Suns
Back in November, when Coby White had his fourth-quarter, 3-point flurry against the Knicks, his college coach Roy Williams was in the audience.
On Saturday against Phoenix, White poured in a career-high 33 points with one of his friends from that North Carolina squad, Cameron Johnson, playing for the other team.
Is there something about the Tar Heel connections that bring out the best in White?
"No, my mom's here, so she put me in a good mood," White said in the locker room.
The Bulls managed a better effort than they've shown in recent games, but they faded down the stretch and lost to the Suns 112-104, extending their losing streak to eight in a row.
White's rookie season has included a few flashes of brilliance, but also long lulls when he doesn't shoot well for weeks at a time. His best scoring skills were on display Saturday, as he hit 11 of 22 shots overall and 7 of 13 from 3-point range.
White had his best success playing with a small second-unit lineup with Ryan Arcidiacono, Shaq Harrison and Adam Mokoka. He didn't score in the last six minutes when he was on the floor with the starters.
"I just hit shots. That was the difference," White said. "I'm just trying to stay more consistent on both ends of the court."
The Bulls struggled with turnovers, piling up a season-high 26. They were also extremely short-handed on the front line. With recent starting center Luke Kornet out with a sprained ankle, that left Daniel Gafford, Cristiano Felicio and Thaddeus Young the only frontcourt players available. The Suns took advantage with second-year center DeAndre Ayton piling up 28 points and 19 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive glass. Devin Booker led Phoenix with 29 points.
When coach Jim Boylen called a time out in the final minute, television cameras caught Zach LaVine expressing frustration. That's the second time this season it's happened, but LaVine was calm when he explained his feelings later.
"No, we're good," said LaVine, who scored 20 points and had 7 turnovers. "It just gets frustrating when you're not winning. I think everybody gets frustrated. I wish we were in the game at the end of the games and obviously we've lost eight in a row. I want to be a winner. It gets tough when you start losing.
"That's what he do. I don't know what else to tell you. I'm not the coach. He told me he likes working on things that we do in practice and things like that. He's the head coach, he can call time out if he wants to."
Boylen and LaVine had a discussion after the game, where LaVine said he talked about some things that were bothering him.
"We've got to get more organized in the fourth," LaVine said. "Like sometimes we call a play and dudes are on the wrong page and you get forced into something you don't want to, if it's a bad play or a bad shot. It's easier when you're organized at the end of games. It's tough. We've got dudes that haven't played out there in a while and things like that, so it's just where we're at."
Bulls game dayBulls game day
Bulls vs. Washington Wizards, 6 p.m. Sunday at the United Center
TV: NBCSCH • Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Outlook: The Bulls are 2-1 against the Wizards this season, losing the last game before the all-star break in Washington 126-114 despite 41 points from Zach LaVine. ... The Wizards (20-34) have won five of their last seven to pass the Bulls in the standings. ... SG Bradley Beal is the top scorer at 29.1 ppg, followed by SF Davis Bertans (14.9) and rookie PF Rui Hachimura (14.0). ... Washington ranks last in the league in points allowed at 119.7.
Next: Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 p.m. Tuesday at the United Center
-- Mike McGraw