Chicago Bulls – In the world of sports, it isn’t uncommon for a team or player to take the lead before getting overtaken and losing.
On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls were on their way to a victory before they threw away their shot, losing to the Indiana Pacers.
For the fifth straight game, the Chicago Bulls lost composure, wasting their 24-point lead in a game that ended in a 117-113 loss to the Pacers.
Coach Billy Donovan cited lost composure as the reason the Bulls lost a game that should’ve earned them a victory.
The team managed to overcome their long-distance shooting slump, hitting fifteen 3-pointers.
Zach LaVine put up a fantastic display, finishing the game with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists that night, even without DeMar DeRozan.
However, it wasn’t enough to give the Bulls a win.
When asked about the Chicago Bulls’ lack of composure in the fourth quarter, Donovan replied: “That was it.”
“Just being settled, being able to make the right passes, the right plays, really on both ends of the floor,” he added.
“I thought there were a lot of things we did where giving up two points turns into, like, eight.”
“But I do think the poise and the composure and just being able to pass it where it needs to go, to screen to catch.”
“This has happened to a lot of us,” the Bulls coach continued.
“We compete pretty hard but the game gets ratchet up physically, mentally, emotionally. And you have to be able to come down on both ends and be detailed and focused and execute.”
“You have to talk and communicate on defense. And then you have to be able to get into offense and generate as good of shots as you can.”
A string of bad luck
The Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers game ties for the second-largest blown lead in an NBA season.
It is also the fifth time the Chicago Bulls lost over a 16-point lead in the season.
The first game they blew their lead happened in the same Gainbridge Fieldhouse over three weeks ago when the Bulls threw away a 21-point lead.
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During that period, the Bulls also dropped a 19-point lead in a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers and a 16-point lead to the Washington Wizards in an away game.
“I don’t want to use the word trend,” said Donovan.
“But what I would say is it’s something this group has to overcome. It’s an obstacle in front of us.”
The Pacers game
The Chicago Bulls had a strong start in their loss.
Before the end of the first quarter, they created a 24-point lead after Coby White shot one of his five 3-pointers that night.
So far this season, White has hit a season-high 25 points.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, only three teams have bounced back from a larger first-quarter deficit since the shot clock started in 1954-1955.
No other team has been able to manage a similar feat since 2008.
“The intensity level continues to go up, and we’ve gotta be able to play all the way through,” said the Bulls coach.
“It’s the poise, the composure, understanding time and score.”
Although they built a solid lead, the Chicago Bulls surrendered 75 points in the second half of the game.
“A lot of 3s they made in the second half, you gotta understand the personnel,” Donovan explained.
“Not to show any disrespect to anybody on their team, but you don’t want to be leaving Buddy Hield to rotate to somebody that’s not Buddy Hield.”
“Those things we have to, in the moment, be able to make better decisions and quicker decisions.”
Hield later shot six of the Indiana Pacers’ eighteen 3-point shots.
Following the loss, Billy Donovan believes the Chicago Bulls should have helped Nikola Vucevic, who was frequently matched against a towering Aaron Nesmith.
However, Donovan also acknowledged he was partly to blame.
“I gotta try to help them more,” said Donovan. “You try to talk about things, show things (on film).”
“We’re all in it together. And when we’re coming down the stretch, we have to be able to execute.”
Meanwhile, LaVine fielded similar questions as the Chicago Bulls suffered another loss to their season.
“We talk about it. We’ve been here before,” said LaVine.
“Try to sustain it. Change the momentum a little bit. We gave ourselves a chance but a little too short.”