Anytime Derrick Rose scores 26 points, one would think that would be the game story. Not on this night.
Doug McDermott came off the bench and had the game of his career in scoring 30 points on 13-17 shooting, to help the Chicago Bulls stop a five game losing streak.
The Bulls gave an overall good effort in beating the Toronto Raptors, 116-106 at the United Center. Perhaps, the Bulls can breathe a sigh of relief. The team has only won 5 of its last 20 games, and this win was sorely needed.
Coach Hoiberg had a talk with McDermott before the game and told and said, “I told him every time he shoots the ball, I think it is going in,” Hoiberg noted. “And, just to go out there and play his game with confidence.” Apparently, that talk helped.
“It was a long time coming,” said McDermott. He was drafted in the first round with the 11th pick and the Bulls traded up to get him. So far, it has been and up and down season for the second year player. “There have been a lot of ups and down, and I just stayed with it.” McDermott said he hopes this game has helped him turn the corner, but he is just taking it as a good game.
“We needed that,” said Rose. “Doug came out and played agressively…we needed that.”
McDermott also hit 4 of 5 trey attempts. In this game, he had the touch; a shot that made him the nation’s leading scorer at Creighton and touted as a can’t miss pro. This season, he has been on and off—but last night, he showed what he is capable of.
Lost in this McDermott explosion was the fine game played by Pau Gasol. He had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists, just missing a triple-double. Taj Gibson scored 9 in a starting role. Bobby Portis chipped in with 8 points and 8 rebounds.
The Raptors had a half-time lead but Chicago came roaring back and scored 37 points in the third quarter to take control of the game. Chicago shot 52% in the game and hauled in 49 boards. The Bulls had 32 assists in the game, one of its better efforts of the season.
Kyle Lowry, the talented guard for the Raptors, led his team with 27 points. Jonas Valanciunas, the center, had 25 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bulls at 28-26 are fighting for a playoff spot. In early January, they were 10 games over .500. Now, missing Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, and Joakim Noah to injuries, and ailments, it’s all hands on deck.
Last night, Doug McDermott stepped up in a big way.