The Chicago Bulls cannot string together two victories.
After a comeback victory against the Miami Heat on Saturday, they lost the second straight game of the series Monday night 118-100. The Bulls are 5-10 and have yet to post back-to-back wins as they prepare to embark on a four-game trip beginning Wednesday at Oklahoma City.
Here are five takeaways from Monday’s game.
1. Not a fast start, but not too slow either.
It took the Bulls less than three minutes to fall behind by 10 points, forcing coach Billy Donovan to take a timeout 2 minutes, 29 seconds into the game.
It’s a common theme for the Bulls, one of the worst first quarter teams in the league. After the Heat led 22-1 on Saturday, the Bulls were determined to get off to a faster start on Monday. But even though the deficit wasn’t as dramatic, the Bulls still suffered from a slow start that they couldn’t overcome.
The Bulls never led, closing to within four points in the third quarter before the Heat put their foot on the gas.
2. Bad shooting in the fourth quarter canceled an otherwise sharp night.
The Bulls were 11 of 26 (42.3 percent) from behind the 3-point arc through three quarters, allowing them to keep pace even after falling behind by double digits.
Coby White went 3 for 5 in the first half and Zach LaVine went 2 for 4 in the third quarter to help the Bulls counter Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, who finished with six 3-pointers on nine attempts and scored 22 points.
But in the fourth quarter, the Bulls completely cooled down. They went 0 of 9 from 3 in the quarter, a factor that allowed the Heat — who finished 17 of 35 from behind the arc — to pull away.
3. Coby White led the Bulls in scoring with a record-setting performance this season.
As the Bulls struggled to reach triple digits on another stagnant offensive night, White provided a rare spark. He scored a season-high 20 points, including 4 of 8 on 3-pointers, while dishing out three assists.
It hasn’t been the best shooting season for White, who shot 38 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3-point range in 14 games — both well below his career percentages. White has adapted to his new role as starting point guard, which has allowed him to double his assist average (4.1 per game).
4. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan opted for assists to suit the Heat’s defense.
On Monday, a trend continued for LaVine, who made just four shots in the first half and nine in the game. He finished with 13 points for the second straight game as the Heat deployed a series of traps and double teams to keep the ball out of the guard’s hands.
DeRozan faced a similar defensive challenge, finishing with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. LaVine and DeRozan recorded five assists each, reflecting their intent to take what the defense gave them and pass the ball to their teammates.
“That was obviously the strategy, getting the ball out of our hands,” LaVine said. “I didn’t want to force it. There didn’t seem to be any need to strain to get good shots. It’s just difficult.
5. Another tough night for the Bulls bench.
The Bulls bench was a turning point in Saturday’s win, but couldn’t produce the same results on Monday. The reserves had 21 points, including six in the final 2:28.
Patrick Williams produced effectively in the second quarter after not playing in the first, scoring seven points in less than eight minutes. But he couldn’t keep up that production, finishing with nine points. The rest of the bench only added six points until trash time.