By Joseph G. Phillips, Sports Editor
The Chicago Crusader Newspaper
The Chicago Bulls closed out their first week of the season with a 0-3 record, after losing to the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors over a five-day span.
The Bulls hosted their three opponents at home at the United Center from Wednesday, December 23, through Sunday, December 27.
GAME ONE: “BULLS FALL TO HAWKS AT THE UC.”
On Wednesday, December 23, the Bulls had no answer for guard Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks after falling 124-104, in the team’s season opener. Young exploded for a game-high 37 points on the road.
“Just being able to go out there and put on a show in the first game was really good,” said Young via ESPN. “Not every night obviously is going to be like this, but it’s really good to have an opening game like this.”
Young and the Atlanta Hawks shot a scorching 54 percent from the field. The Hawks finished with seven players in double figures, which included 37 by Young, Cam Reddish 15, Bogdan Bogdanovic 15, John Collins 14, Danilo Gallinari 13, De’Andre Hunter 11, and Kevin Huerter 11.
In addition to a balanced scoring attack by the Hawks, the Bulls were led by the hot shooting of guard Zach LaVine, who scored a team-high 22 points and forward Lauri Markkanen, who finished second in team scoring with 21.
The loss dropped the Bulls to 0-1 on the season.
GAME TWO: “BULLS DROP SECOND IN A ROW TO THE PACERS.”
Following their loss to the Hawks, the Bulls fell 125-106 to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, December 26.
The Pacers were led by forward T.J. Warren (23 points) and his teammate Domantas Sabonis (22 points), who combined for 45 points in game 2.
“My teammates really helped me,” said Sabonis via ESPN. “All game long they were reminding me where to be and helping me keep my energy up. In these games, with no fans out there, that’s really important.”
Sabonis and the Pacers dominated the Bulls with physical play throughout the game. The Pacers outscored the Bulls 39-28 in the second quarter and 33-15 in the third quarter to eventually close out the game.
The two bright spots for the Bulls were guard Zach LaVine’s 17 points and forward Lauri Markkanen’s 16 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
With the loss to the Pacers, the Bulls fell to 0-2 on the season.
GAME THREE: “BULLS LOSE IN FINAL SECONDS TO THE WARRIORS.”
In game 3 against the Golden State Warriors, the Bulls lost 129-128 on a game winning shot by forward Damion Lee.
Lee, known as Steph Curry’s brother-in-law, made the game-winning shot late in the fourth quarter with 1.7 seconds left.
“It just shows how much the coaching staff and my teammates believe in me,” said Lee via the AP. “I’m going to enjoy it. The main thing is we got the win.”
Lee, who made one of his biggest shots of his career, finished with 12 points, and his brother-in-law Steph Curry led all scorers with 36 points.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine scored a season-high 33 points in the loss.
Chicago Crusader Players of The Game:
Game 1: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks, game-high 37 points.
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, team-high 22 points.
Game 2: T.J. Warren, Indiana Pacers, 23 points and teammate Domantas Sabonis added 22 points.
Game 3: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors, team-high 36 points.
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, 33 points.
Joseph R. Phillips is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 15 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q & A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.