Williams, Bulls fade in second half of summer league opener
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
That's the slogan inspired by Doug McDermott, Denzel Valentine and all the other Bulls who played well in summer league, then never quite reached the same level at the United Center.
Patrick Williams joined the list of Bulls summer sensations during the first half of Monday's opening game, but he faded in the second half and the Bulls lost 94-77 to New Orleans.
Williams produced 14 points and 9 rebounds in the first half, then 1 point and 3 boards after halftime. He finished 6-for-20 from the field.
Devon Dotson led the Bulls with 16 points, center Marko Simonovic added 13 and Oregon State rookie Ethan Thompson had 11.
"I think that fatigue became a factor into our performance with that," summer coach Damien Cotter said. "I was a bit frustrated in the first half with our lack of intensity defensively."
Here are some observation from Day 1 in Las Vegas:
• Williams dominated the first half, showing some growth from his rookie season. He was aggressive on the boards, pushed the pace and handled the ball often. His best moments came late in the second quarter when he scored on a catch-and-shoot, short-angle bank shot, then knocked down a pullup jumper from the foul line.
"Fatigue definitely sets in, but to be the guy on the team that has the ball in your hands you have to break through that," Williams said. "Also just missed shots. And being able to get to the cup a little bit. I think we kind of settled there a little bit, especially me from the 3 a little bit too much.
"But it's a learning experience, for sure. The ball has never been in my hands this much since high school. And high school teams don't really make that many adjustments. I'm just excited to go back, watch the film and see where I can get better at."
Before his rookie season, Williams didn't get a chance to play summer league since it was canceled by the pandemic.
• The 6-foot-11 Simonovic also had a good first half. He was active defensively and got out on the break a few times. He was the Bulls' second-round pick in 2020 and is expected to join the team this season.
The Montenegro native said his trip to Chicago for the start of summer practice was his first time in the U.S.
"This is everything new for me," he said. "I'm coming from Europe and everything is different. But I feel really good and people tell me I look good."
• Dotson handled the ball most of the time, with rookie Ayo Dosunmu at shooting guard. Dosunmu had a quiet game with 6 points and 6 rebounds on 2-of-8 shooting.
Cotter said he'll try to play Dosunmu at the point sometimes. He said the Bulls lost guard Jaylen Adams in this game with a chipped tooth.
The Bulls will play their second summer game Tuesday against San Antonio at 7 p.m.
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