Zach LaVine‘s 20-point 4th quarter explosion secured the Bulls a 108-99 win against the Brooklyn Nets on the road. But the unsung hero for Chicago was Ayo Dosunmu, who outplayed Kyrie Irving in his return after missing Saturday’s game with the 76ers with a thoracic contusion.
Dosunmu leads the Bulls’ 2nd unit
The Nets were up by as many as 12 in the third quarter, but a lineup of Dosunmu, Dragic, Caruso, DeRozan, and Jones Jr. kept the game close. They engineered a 12-4 run in the final 3 minutes and the Bulls entered the 4th quarter only down 80-77.
Four unanswered points later, Chicago took the lead, allowing LaVine to close out Chicago’s fourth win of the season — he outscored the Nets 20-19 in the final 12 minutes of the game. But the one who sparked the Bulls’ run was Dosunmu.
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Ayo first made a layup to cut Brooklyn’s lead down to 2 after they went up 88-84. He then assisted a Caruso 3-pointer and drew an offensive foul on Irving before hitting another layup for a 91-88 lead with 7:26 left in the game.
“He was the one guy who helped us get off to a good start. We’ve gotten off to some poor starts. Him getting downhill and getting us some layups really helped,” Donovan said after the game. “I think even late in the second half, he had some good drives and finishes at the basket. We need his penetration going downhill and I thought he made some really good decisions.”
LaVine praises Dosunmu’s defense on Kyrie
Dosunmu finished the game with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in 33 minutes of action. He shot 7-for-11 from the field and had a team-high +/- of +12. However, it was his defense on Kyrie that made the biggest difference for the Bulls, and LaVine praised him for it after the game.
Ayo held Irving to a scoreless first half for the first time since 2018, according to StatMuse. The Nets superstar finished the game with 4 points on 2-12 from the field and 0-for-6 from three; his lowest-scoring game as a Net.