NBA: Tough Week For Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls' C.J. Watson (Left) and Luol Deng
Chicago Bulls' C.J. Watson (Left) and Luol Deng (right)


It’s been a mixed week for Luol Deng as the Team GB star and his Chicago Bulls have won only one of their three NBA games.

Deng’s best numbers came in the Bulls’ only win in the week, but the 27-year-old continues to be key for Tom Thibodeau’s side.

The former Brixton Topcat led his side with 27 points in 42 minutes, but couldn’t prevent a fourth period collapse as they went down 97-91 at home against Oklahoma City Thunder last Thursday. Each team dominated the game at numerous times and the lead switched hands nine times. The Bulls led by eight points in the first quarter, which ended in a 24-24 tie.

The Thunder led by seven points in the second quarter but were up by just one point at half. Both teams enjoyed six-point leads in the fourth quarter, but it was Thunder who finished strongly to take the win.

Deng had a quieter night offensively two days later, finishing with 16 points in 41 minutes as they defeated Minnesota Timberwolves 87-80. He also added seven rebounds and four assists as Bulls pulled away for the win in the final quarter.

Monday night saw Bulls host Boston Celtics, and although Deng led his side again and they produced another strong final stanza, it wasn’t enough to prevent a 101-95 loss. Deng put up his best numbers of the season – 26 points and 11 rebounds – as the Celtics became the first team to score 100 points against the Bulls since April 8, ending a streak that had reached 15 straight games

Bulls are now joint sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 record and with that run of home games now over they travel to Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, LA Clippers on Saturday and Portland on Sunday when Deng will see GB team-mate Joel Freeland.

It’s still a work in progress for NBA rookie Freeland, and he’s likely to see only sporadic court time this season. He saw two minutes of action in the 103-90 home loss against the high-flying Clippers, finishing with two points and a rebound, but sat out their 112-109 home defeat against San Antonio Spurs.

Monday’s night 95-87 home loss against Atlanta Hawks saw Freeland get his most court time so far – 12 minutes – but he came up without a point despite taking five shots, though he did finish with a rebound, and assist and a block.

The Trailblazers face Sacramento tonight before Freeland will host former GB coach Chris Finch and the Houston Rockets on Friday and Deng’s Bulls two days later.

Portland share bottom spot in the Western Conference with Sacramento Kings having won two of their first seven games.

It’s also been a tough week for Finch as his Rockets team snapped a three game losing streak with a 96-82 home win against strugglers Detroit Pistons before going down 113-110 against Miami Heat to see their record fall to 3-4. They host New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday before starting a three-game road trip against the Freeland and the Trailblazers.