Although Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the Chicago Bulls can be very grateful right now, it has been an especially tough week for the team. Just two days after suffering one of their worst losses in years to the Indiana Pacers, the Bulls were struck deeply on Wednesday.
For their last competition, Billy Donovan’s crew was in Houston to score a potential breaker against the Rockets, then at a profit. But instead of straightening the ship after the Pacers debacle, the Bulls allowed Houston to put down 17 three-point shots en route to a 118-113 victory.
A lot of things went wrong with the Bulls, especially during the third quarter when the Rockets beat them by 35:18. “We just got out and kind of messed around with the game and before you know it we went down 10 after we went up 10,” Donovan said later.
However, the Bulls trainer was also taken aback by the referees during the competition. So much so that his post-game comment on the subject left the door open to a hefty fine from the NBA.
With a little more than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, five to 99:94 behind for the Bulls, Lonzo Ball hit the game with a triple but was taken away by the officials who whistled him for an offensive foul. The league is cracking down on players who make unnatural movements to make contact, and this one seems to fit the bill.
However, the ball just seemed to have fallen on the game. Then, while the Bulls general was in the square, Kevin Porter of the Rockets tripped over him.
Donovan contradicted the call but was confirmed after the review and the coach was stunned by what had happened.
“The call made no sense to me,” he said of NBC Sports Chicago. “Well, I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense to me because I disagree with what they said. How they explained it to me and what I could see [on video playback]made no sense. So if I get a different camera view, maybe I can understand what they’re talking about. “
He added, “It seemed so far-fetched what they were telling me, it just didn’t make sense to me. And I don’t sit there and say they were wrong about it, they obviously look at it and check it out. But I really don’t know how to make that call based on what I’ve seen. “
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Although the Bulls’ own defensive weaknesses largely showed up in the game, there is no doubt that the ball foul was a killer. Had his bucket counted, Houston’s lead would have been reduced to two points (or less with one and one) and suddenly it’s everyone’s business.
Instead, the foul happened and Danuel House scored a three the next time the Rockets had possession to gain an eight-point advantage.
“It was such a big chunk that I challenged it,” said Donovan. “I lost time out, but I thought it would be three points, possibly four if they checked, and he [Ball] would have been tarnished. If it had been a four-point game, it would have reduced the lead to one. “