10 Observations Bulls close out 4 2 homestand with victory over

10 Observations: Bulls close out 4-2 homestand with victory over 76ers – NBC Sports Chicago

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The Chicago Bulls completed their season-best six games at home with a 4-2 result after Saturday's win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Here are 10 observations from the 105-92 win:

—The Bulls finished December with a record of 9-5. They began their recent improved play with a Nov. 30 home overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks. But this month saw sustained improvements in ball movement, goal balance and defense. January brings a tough test with 10 away games.

—As for the improved defense, the Bulls limited the 76ers' shooting percentage to 39.1 percent. They forced a 24-second shot clock violation in the fourth quarter that drew a standing ovation from the bench. The only thing the Bulls didn't do well defensively was possession of the ball, which allowed them 20 second chances.

—For the second straight game, Andre Drummond had three fouls before halftime. Although Drummond continued his elite rebounding by scoring in double figures before halftime, finishing with 23, he also deviated from his strengths and repeatedly put the ball on the floor. His live dribbling situations led to three turnovers. It was the third straight first half in which Drummond had double-digit rebounds. And the fact that he grabbed 20 or more rebounds in two of his three starts in place of the injured Nikola Vucevic is huge. Drummond joined Rudy Gobert as the only players this season to record multiple 20-rebound games. Drummond also added 15 points and three blocks.

Drummond's 64 rebounds in his last three games are the most by a Bull in three games since Dennis Rodman in January 1998.

—Drummond's foul trouble led to Terry Taylor playing 11 minutes in the first half and 17 total, playing well with 3-for-3 shooting, six rebounds and two assists. He also ran the floor well in transition and set solid screens. Taylor performs well as a backup center in small-ball lineups with Vucevic sidelined. Vucevic took part in the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast and told broadcasters Mark Schanowski and Stacey King that he “can't lie (and sitting out was pretty boring”).

As for Taylor, he said his opportunity was “a blessing” and that he's just trying to make his teammates' jobs easier by doing “all the little things.” He said his focus is on recovery and trying to be a “good, switchable defender.”

At 6 feet 2 inches tall, Taylor said he's used to being short in the middle. At one point he was guarding the 7-foot, 1-inch Mo Bamba.

“I have the heart and desire to compete against anyone,” Taylor said.

—Coby White recorded his best shooting night since Dec. 21 against the Spurs. He finished the game 7 of 15 for 20 points and added eight rebounds. However, White only sank one of four 3-pointers as his struggles from beyond the arc continued.

—All five starters reached double figures, topped by DeMar DeRozan's 24 points. The Bulls shot 50.6 percent.

—The 76ers played without reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, who has a sprained right ankle. The 76ers went 2-4 in games without Embiid, including a 2-1 record in this four-game trip that ended with Saturday's game.

—The Bulls lead the NBA in fewest turnovers per game and have 10 games with nine or fewer. But they scored six goals in the first quarter alone and finished with 17.

—At the end of the first quarter, the Pistons' game against Toronto ended with Detroit ending its NBA-record 28-game losing streak. This means that the Bulls are no longer the Pistons' last win, which took place on October 28th.

—In his pregame remarks, Donovan said Zach LaVine could practice with the Bulls late next week. “If things continue as they are, I think it’s a very, very big possibility,” Donovan said.

LaVine will not participate in the Bulls' two-game trip to Philadelphia and New York and will remain in Chicago to work with player development coaches, where he is expected to be cleared for contact for the first time. If LaVine passes this test, you can expect him to practice with his teammates after they return from the Knicks game. “He responded well,” Donovan said.

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