Bulls Fall to Pelicans In Summer League

Bulls struggle in third game of Vegas Summer League after falling behind early to the Pelicans & never catching up.

Bulls Summer League coach Nate Loenser late Monday night said the team needs a break after a frantic few days in Las Vegas that followed a mini-camp week of two-a-day workouts and scrimmages back in Chicago.

"We've been going hard," said Loenser. "We'll be off tomorrow."

Which kind of would make it two days in a row after the summer Bulls sort of showed up Monday, but didn't hang around for long in a 109-72 loss to the Zion-less New Orleans Pelicans. "New Orleans played very well and had lot of things going," Loenser observed.

Like being over the top of the Bulls figuratively and literally when in the second quarter 6-4 Bulls guard Mychal Mulder slid over on a side pick and roll, which was the right move if the wrong instinct, to get in front of rookie center Jaxson Hayes. In something of a metaphor for the game, Hayes jumped over Mulder, who was in position outside the circle. Though it turns out, and the Bulls did try to appeal, it doesn't count as contact if you jump over a defender.

Hayes dunked, which he did repeatedly on the way to 28 points as the Pelicans led by a dozen points after the first quarter, by 22 at halftime and then into the 30s in the fourth quarter as Williamson with his sore knee watched from the end of the bench.

The Bulls also had some support as veterans Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Denzel Valentine, Cristiano Felicio and Ryan Arcidiacono watched the game from the front row along with new Bull Thaddeus Young.

The latter who did have some encouraging things to say about rookie Coby White, who led the Bulls with 25 points and made a pair of threes after missing his first 13 this week. White shot eight of 19 overall and two of eight on threes with seven of eight from the free throw line, but with five turnovers.

White didn't play particularly well, though showed his natural scoring prowess with 25 points on an erratic night. He's averaging 19 points, among the Summer League leaders, though with 11 assists and 15 turnovers.

"He's a point guard that's very aggressive," Young said. "Sometimes he picks his dribble up a little bit, but just from watching a couple of games I think he's going to be very, very good in this league. He's young, he's still got a lot to learn. But I can tell he's one of those kids who is very smart, very bright and he's going to be able to learn fast. I am just looking forward to playing with him. I watched him at Carolina pretty much the whole season. I am a basketball junkie. I watch all the games, I watch all the guys. I know guys are coming in each and every year to take my job, so I pay attention. I think he has a very high ceiling and a high motor and he wants to win each and every day; you can see that."

The only other Bull to score in double figures was two-way G-league player Adam Mokoka from France with 11 points and two of three on three pointers. He quietly has been perhaps the most efficient Bull. He's averaging nine points and five rebounds on 50 percent shooting with aggressive defense, or however much of that one can do trailing by 25.

Chandler Hutchison made his return after sitting out a game for precautionary reasons and struggled mightily on two of 13 shooting with perhaps a half dozen of his shots blocked on drives. Daniel Gafford fouled out with six points, eight rebounds and six blocks. Walt Lemon Jr. cleared waivers and returned to the team but was scoreless against the Pelicans leaping front line. There has been no decision on the also waived Shaquille Harrison, who is considering his options.

The Bulls fell behind quickly to start the game when White had a pair of turnovers and Hutchison added one, five turnovers in the first four minutes. While Hayes was all over taking lobs for dunks and racing for weak side blocks. It didn't improve much. The Bulls next play Wednesday against Charlotte before the elimination tournament games begin. The Bulls are 1-2. Each team will play at least five total games and up to seven.