Bulls sink Hawks on Ayo Dosunmu’s first career buzzer-beater

ATLANTA — DeMar DeRozan caught an inbounds pass in a familiar corner just in front of the Bulls’ bench.

With just four seconds left in the stalemate, everyone inside the State Farm Arena seemed to know what was going to happen.

DeRozan turned, aimed, and fired from about the same spot where he fired his memorable dagger in Washington on New Year’s Day. Time stopped when the ball passed over the basket. 2 in 10 days between the Bulls and the Hawks for a while, as one breathed a sigh of relief while the other processed how the “King of the Force” had a dogfight at its biggest moment. I could definitely feel that the second overtime was going to be over.

But then Ayo Dosunmu swooped in and saved the day.

Bulls second-year point guard locks in DeRozan’s mistake Converted a game-winning putback As time expired to give the Bulls a thrilling and gritty 110-108 road win on Wednesday. It was the second night in a row for us.

It also marked the first game winner of Dosunmu’s professional career, with teammates pummeling him at the baseline and was celebrated with a winning shower from two of the team’s biggest jokesters.

Dosunmu’s improbable bucket was more impressive than the typical winning basket in that he started playing as an inbounds passer.

“I always say I don’t know how Ayo got so many offensive rebounds,” Bulls guard Zach LaVine said. , get a layup, or get a kickout.I don’t know how he did it to get the ball inbounds and then down to the Dunkers (spot).The right place.Just the right time. “He’s a player who can win. I was happy with him. He sacrificed a lot for us and it was a big win.”

Dosunmu moved to the reserves earlier this month, joining Patrick Williams in the second unit of Shakeup, which was entrenched by Bulls coach Billy Donovan at the quarter mark of the season. It has dropped from 29 minutes per game to 18.6 minutes per game this month. On the eve of the Bulls’ win in Miami, Dosunmu recorded a season-low five minutes.

But when Caruso collided with a Hawks player trying to secure possession, the impact knocked him out of the game. He was initially ruled out with a right shoulder sprain, but a PR for the Bulls said after the game that Caruso was in the NBA’s concussion protocol. was tasked with delaying Trae Young, the star point guard for .

Dosunmu’s night will be remembered for his only two points in the second half. Equally influential was how Dosunmu helped limit Young to his five points with his 2-for-10 shooting. It was another great performance as Dosunmu excelled in his one-on-one matchup against the cunning Young.

“He knows it’s a fight every time we race,” said Dosunmu. “That’s one thing he knows. I try to make him suffer. He’s a competitor. He’s one of the elite guards in this league. My mindset is just get out there.” It was to race against him and try to slow him down.”

Dosunmu made a point of remaining fully involved despite the reduced playing time. He’s not the type to complain.

“It’s all about your approach, your mental approach,” he said. “Definitely you have to be mentally strong in this league. I am proud to be there for my teammates and to be great teammates. But you can’t bring it up to your teammates, so I’ll keep rooting for them, keep telling them what I’ve seen, and know I’ll be ready whenever my time comes. That was my mentality.”

The team-wide euphoria that followed Dosunmu’s dagger was something rarely seen this season by the struggling Bulls (13-18). Their injury concerns are exacerbated by the absence of Caruso, Goran Dragic, Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr. in addition to Lonzo Ball. That would be the first obstacle to the Bulls’ chances of carrying on Wednesday’s miracle and producing something meaningful. But the glee that erupted at the final buzzer felt like a ball of emotion the Bulls had been holding onto.

Finally, this season the Bulls got their break. It happened all over the place, in the same arena where Chicago lost to Hawks rookie AJ ​​Griffin’s circus game winner on December 11.

“I don’t think it’s crazy,” Dosunmu said. “I think we were due to receive one.”

(Photo of Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu: Brett Davis / USA Today)

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