Turnovers and three-point shooting struggles plague Bulls in latest loss

The Bulls and Magic played basketball at the United Center on Monday, but it was ugly.

The game struggled to meet NBA-level skill and competition standards. Between turnovers and terrible three-point shots from both teams, it was a mess.

The Magic was a little less bad, posting a boring 100-91 win. It was the Bulls’ fourth loss in a row.

“Part of that was the way we shot the ball coupled with the fact that we turned the ball around too much,” said Bulls coach Billy Donovan.

In the first half, the Bulls conceded nine points from nine turnovers and shot 11-0 from three-point range. The Magic weren’t much better, turning the ball 10 times and shooting 2-for-12 from behind the arc.

Things didn’t get worse for the Bulls until the third quarter, when the Magic started batting and they were ineffective from three-point range. The Bulls’ first three of the night came from Coby White with less than two minutes left in the third.

White’s shot, which reduced the Magic’s lead to seven, sent a shockwave through the arena. Rookie Dalen Terry, who Donovan challenged in the third, followed up with a layup on the next possession and drew the Bulls to five.

As close as they came to a comeback, the Bulls never regained the lead after giving it up midway through the first quarter. White made another three in the fourth quarter and Nikola Vucevic made his own, but that was about it. The Bulls emerged from behind the arch 3-on-21 on the night.

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Zach LaVine had 26 points and Vucevic had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Magic received 22 points from rookie Paolo Banchero and 18 points each from Franz Wagner and Markelle Fultz.

DeMar DeRozan finished the tournament with 19 points, six assists and three rebounds. Donovan said he took himself out of the game towards the end of the fourth quarter. DeRozan missed three games in January with hip pain and the game against the Grizzlies last week. He said Monday he had been playing through discomfort for over a month.

“It was something I played on,” DeRozan said. “I thought it was a bruised knee, whatever it was. It’s a weird feeling. I’ve never felt anything like this before. As I sit and do nothing, I feel nothing. Just when I do anything to work that muscle in my leg, it’s very uncomfortable.

As for his expectations for the rest of this week and for the All-Star Game, DeRozan said he will rest and make a decision with the team’s medical staff after his evaluation tomorrow.

The Bulls have struggled from three-point range all season, but they were truly terrible in February. After six games this month, they are 29th in the league at 29.1% behind the arc. During their losing streak, the Bulls have shot 20-to-103 from three-point range.

At 26-31, the Bulls are battling for a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament with 25 games remaining. But they look less like a fighting team and more like a thrashing team. With two games left before the All-Star break – Wednesday with the Pacers and Thursday against the Bucks – the Bulls can no longer afford Rec League appearances. But that has been true for some time.

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Boos from the fans echoed as the final seconds ticked by.

“Sell the White Sox too,” shouted one fan as the Bulls left the court, a nod to Jerry Reinsdorf, who served as chairman of both franchises.

NOTE:Forward Derrick Jones Jr. left in the second quarter and did not return. Coach Billy Donovan didn’t have a clear update but said he thinks it’s a hamstring injury.


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