The Chicago Bulls can’t string two wins together.
After a comeback victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday, they dropped the second game of the back-to-back series Monday night 118-100. The Bulls are 5-10 and yet to record consecutive wins as they prepare to embark on a four-game trip beginning Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
Here are five takeaways from Monday’s game.
1. Not a fast start, but not an overly slow one either.
It took the Bulls less than three minutes to fall behind by 10 points, forcing coach Billy Donovan to take a timeout 2 minutes, 29 seconds into the game.
This is a common theme for the Bulls, one of the worst first-quarter teams in the league. After the Heat led 22-1 on Saturday, the Bulls were determined to start faster Monday. But while the deficit wasn’t as dramatic, the Bulls still suffered from a sluggish start that they couldn’t overcome.
The Bulls never led, getting within four points in the third quarter before the Heat put their foot on the gas.
2. Poor fourth-quarter shooting negated an otherwise accurate night.
The Bulls were 11-for-26 (42.3%) behind the 3-point arc through three quarters, which allowed them to keep pace even after falling behind by double digits.
Coby White went 3-for-5 in the first half and Zach LaVine went 2-for-4 in the third quarter to help the Bulls counter Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, who finished with six 3-pointers in nine attempts and scored 22 points.
But in the fourth quarter, the Bulls completely cooled off. They went 0-for-9 on 3s in the quarter, a factor in allowing the Heat — who finished 17-for-35 behind the arc — to pull away.
3. Coby White led the Bulls in scoring with a season-high performance.
While the Bulls struggled to reach triple digits on another stagnant offensive night, White offered a rare spark. He scored a season-high 20 points, including 4-for-8 3-point shooting, while dishing out three assists.
This hasn’t been the strongest shooting season for White, who was shooting 38% from the field and 30.9% from 3-point range through 14 games — both well below his career percentages. White has been adjusting to his new role as starting point guard, which has seen him double his assist average (4.1 per game).
4. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan opted for assists to adapt to the Heat defense.
Monday continued a trend for LaVine, who took only four shots in the first half and nine in the game. He finished with 13 points for the second game in a row as the Heat deployed a series of traps and double teams to keep the ball out of the guard’s hands.
DeRozan faced a similar defensive challenge, finishing with 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting. LaVine and DeRozan recorded five assists apiece, which reflected their intent to take what the defense was giving them and dish the ball to their teammates.
“That was the strategy, obviously, getting the ball out of our hands,” LaVine said. “I didn’t feel like forcing it. It didn’t seem like we needed to force it to get some good shots up. It’s just tough.”
5. Another down night for the Bulls bench.
The Bulls bench provided the turning point in Saturday’s comeback win but couldn’t produce the same results Monday. The reserves combined for 21 points, six of them coming in the final 2:28.
Patrick Williams produced efficiently in the second quarter after not playing in the first, netting seven points in less than eight minutes. But he couldn’t sustain that production, finishing with nine points. The rest of the bench added only six points until garbage time.