Bulls squander fast start, lose to OKC in OT

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort (5) defends in overtime of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Oklahoma City.

    Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort (5) defends in overtime of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Oklahoma City.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) is fouled by Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) as he shoots in overtime of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Oklahoma City. Bulls' Zach LaVine, right, looks on.

    Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) is fouled by Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) as he shoots in overtime of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Oklahoma City. Bulls' Zach LaVine, right, looks on.

 
 
Updated 11/25/2022 10:43 PM

The Bulls looked like they were going to carry the theme of their successful week to Oklahoma City.

After beating Boston and Milwaukee, teams with the two best records in the NBA, the Bulls hit their first 8 shots of the game and jumped to a quick 19-7 advantage on Friday against the Thunder.

 

The Bulls must have decided their work was over, because they took a nap, woke up late to send it to overtime, but lost 123-119, ending their two-game win streak.

In overtime, the Bulls took a 119-118 lead on a pair of free throws by DeMar DeRozan with 50.9 seconds left. On the other end, as the shot-clock ran down, DeRozan jumped at a pump-fake by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, creating a 3-shot foul with 27.1 seconds left. Gilgeous-Alexander hit all 3, DeRozan missed a long jumper on the other end and that was it.

DeRozan led the Bulls (8-11) with 30 points on 12 of 27 shooting. Zach Lavine scored 27 while hitting 9 of 23 shots. Patrick Williams (11 points) went 3-for-3 from long range, but didn't get many opportunities.

Last year when the Bulls played OKC, DeRozan stopped challenging guard Luguentz Dort. He called for screens to change the defensive matchup, then talked after the game about how much he respects Dort's defense. In this game, DeRozan decided to take it on and missed some tough jumpers with Dort's hand in his face.

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The Bulls also forgot about how well it worked when they played inside-out earlier this week. Center Nikola Vucevic took 14 shots, but went 5-for-7 from 2-point range and 1-for-7 from 3-point range. A couple of those 3-pointers barely missed, but good things tend to happen when Vucevic gets paint touches. The Thunder (8-11) dominated the points in the paint 68-46.

The Thunder is built with a bunch of long, thin guys who can put the ball on the floor and are tough to guard. Gilgeous-Alexander kept up his hot start with 30 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Josh Giddey had 13 boards and 9 assists, while Darius Bazley (17 points) and Aleksej Pokusevski (15) knifed through the Bulls defense for key baskets.

Hot shooting from long range has been a recent trend for the Bulls. Against OKC, the Bulls were 10-for-18 from behind the arch late in the third quarter, then went 2-for-15 the rest of the way.

OKC matched its largest lead at 97-87 with eight minutes remaining. The Bulls finally showed some life and made a quick run to take the lead after a 3-pointer by LaVine, baseline drive from DeRozan, then a steal and lay in by Alex Caruso.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A DeRozan jumper gave the Bulls a 4-point lead with 2:33 left, then they let the Thunder score 6 points in a row and fell behind again. Another DeRozan jumper tied the score with 55.8 seconds left. The Bulls got a stop, but Dort got a good contest against DeRozan's jumper and forced a miss with 15 seconds left.

With a chance to win, Gilgeous-Alexander got past Caruso, then missed a runner in the lane as Vucevic gave some good help.

After the Bulls beat Boston earlier this week, coach Billy Donovan praised his players for staying focused and not letting missed shots or perceived bad calls cause a letdown. That didn't happen Friday.

The Bulls were clearly annoyed with a lack of foul calls. In the third quarter, DeRozan vented his frustration by intentionally bumping Dort on a drive. The officials checked the foul for a possible flagrant, but kept it a common foul.

Donovan turned to Derrick Jones Jr. for a spark and played a small lineup, leaving Andre Drummond on the bench for the second half.

This was the second leg of a six-game road trip for the Bulls. They'll get two days off before facing Utah and old friends Lauri Markkanen on Monday.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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