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Chicago Bulls beat Utah Jazz despite late-game collapse and last-minute fights


SALT LAKE CITY — It’s rare for the outcome of an NBA game to depend on the actions of an assistant coach and a street-clothed player sitting on the bench. But in the final 10 seconds of Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz, it became clear that the Chicago Bulls were about to cough up defeat on a pointless scrimmage.

The Bulls were already on the brink of collapse, allowing a 12-point lead to come from two points down with 1:59 left on the clock. But they came back successful with the standard clutch play approach: giving the ball to DeMar DeRozan and assigning the veteran to cut off the opposing defense.

When DeRozan fouled out with a one-point lead with 9.3 seconds left, the Bulls looked poised to escape with a second straight win.

Instead they chose chaos.

DeRozan said as he walked to the line. Injured forward Torrey Craig He began chirping at the Jazz players closest to the Bulls bench. A group led by Jazz center John Collins reacted immediately and marched to the sideline to attack Craig. And when assistant coach Chris Fleming tried to push Collins backwards, the center charged and shoved Fleming to the throat with a short hand, prompting the rest of the Bulls bench to immediately defend their coach.

The incident ultimately did not affect the final score by more than one point. Fleming, Craig and Collins were given technical fouls and Jordan Clarkson was sent to the line for the game-tying free throw. But DeRozan missed both of his shots, the Jazz missed both of their three-point attempts, and the Bulls came away with the victory in Utah.

After the buzzer, both teams seemed unfazed by the brawl, with the standard greetings and handshakes taking place before heading to their respective locker rooms. But it was still a source of frustration for coach Billy Donovan that his team once again allowed the game to end in dramatic fashion.

“I definitely don’t look at it from the Utah situation,” Donovan said. “I look at it in terms of our situation and we need to be better in those moments. Not only do we lose points due to a technical foul, but we also freeze our free throw. I give a lot of credit to DeMar for being mentally strong enough. And I understand the emotion and intensity of the games. But at the same point “Whether you complain, be upset, or be disappointed, it is of no use.”

Here are three other takeaways from the game:

1. In the clutch the bulls are still ahead.

After Wednesday’s win, the Bulls have trailed in 36 games this season (all games scored by five points or less in the final five minutes). This accounts for 58% of his total plays for the year. highest percentage of clutch games in the entire league.

The Bulls also won more of these clutch games than any other team, posting a 21-15 record. But it’s becoming more concerning for players and coaches as the Bulls struggle to shut down their opponents even when they’re ahead against the Jazz.

And this trend is not developing. The Bulls have finished in the clutch in 12 of their last 15 games, going 7-5 over that span.

2. Coby White’s shooting streak continues.

Chicago Bulls guard Coby White drives to the basket in the second half against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The All-Star break may have cooled down Coby White’s shooting for a moment, but the hot hand is back on this West Coast outing.

White opened the first half going 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and finished 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. His flurry of shots led to the Bulls hitting 17 three-pointers on the night; that was just under the season record of 19.

White, who has made 179 3-pointers on the season, is just 25 points away from passing Zach LaVine for the Bulls’ single-season 3-pointer record.

3. Jazz stayed in the game on the rebound.


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