Big problem for the Bulls: DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine as closer?

It’s a beautiful problem for Billy Donovan.

In fact, the Bulls coach has two.

Veteran DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine each see each other as closer. Not an easy designation to earn. After all, there have been a lot of NBA players who feel like they can don the cape late in the game and play Batman, while the rest of their teammates can only be trusted in their abilities. .

It’s an alpha mindset, especially for the elite few who are really good at it.

But the Bulls have two alphas. Difficult to keep for opposing defenses, but also a fine line for DeRozan and LaVine to navigate. Do they rely on experience late in close games? Is it dictated by the matchup? Or is it just the warm hand that wins?

Probably a mixture of all of the above.

That’s why DeRozan was brought to the Bulls this offseason. To give this option to Donovan. An option he used on Monday, as the Raptors came back from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter, only to be thwarted time and time again by DeRozan.

“He was our benchmark in the last moments of the games and he hasn’t disappointed yet,” Lonzo Ball said of DeRozan. “[Monday] he pretty much put us on the back and did the fourth quarter for us.

In this case, call him Donovan riding the hot hand.

DeRozan went 3 for 5 from the field and 5 for 5 from the free throw line. LaVine was only 1 to 4 – hitting a three – and had an expensive turnover.

“I have 100% confidence in [DeRozan]Ball continued. “We know he’s going to play the right game and take us to the promised land.”

And that’s where the story of the two comes in. DeRozan has a solid when it comes to winning, while LaVine tries to change his.

With a fourth straight win to start the season, it was the first time LaVine had a streak like this in his NBA career. LaVine’s last significant four-game winning streak returned on March 14, 2014, when his UCLA Bruins defeated Stanford in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament, beat Arizona in the final, and then beaten. Tulsa and Stephen F. Austin in the NCAA tournament, before Donovan’s Florida team eliminated him.

On Tuesday, LaVine remains the player with the worst winning percentage of any All-Star at 31.87%. His hope this season is to pass Shareef Abdur-Rahim, second with 33.13%.

Again, LaVine has been on some really bad teams, so he’s more of a victim of circumstance than a player bearing that blame.

Breaking down the numbers of LaVine and DeRozan, they each have more strengths than weaknesses in the hero ball game.

In the final two minutes of games four points or less last season – ahead or behind – LaVine shot 41.5 percent from the field, while DeRozan was 45.8 percent. The difference was that LaVine didn’t have any assists, while DeRozan was averaging 0.4 in those games, meaning he’s more willing to play-do.

In the final 30 seconds of four-point games last season – ahead or behind – LaVine shot 42.1% from the field, while DeRozan was 46.7%. DeRozan was plus-0.3 plus / minus in those situations with Spurs, while LaVine was minus-0.2. Again, San Antonio was a better team.

As teammates this season, however, it’s only four games, but DeRozan was averaging a high 6.3 points per game in the fourth, shooting 52.9% from the field and 50% from three, while sitting at plus-1.8 plus / minus.

LaVine was 4.8 points per game in the fourth, shooting 38.5% from the field and 33% from three, sitting at minus-2.5 over / under.

So, should there be more confidence in DeRozan at this point?

It’s a big deal for Donovan.


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