By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Staff Writer
October 20, 2021
DETROIT -- Ayo Dosunmu’s first two baskets in professional basketball came in a 4-second flurry in the 2021 season-opening win for the Chicago Bulls.
Dosunmu, a former consensus first-team All-America selection at Illinois last season, finished the Bulls’ 94-88 victory at Detroit with seven points on 3 of 8 shooting, two rebounds along with a block in 11 minutes of action where Chicago was a plus-7 when the former Morgan Park High School graduate was on the floor.
Dosunmu was the fifth and last player off the bench for the Bulls (1-0) Wednesday night in the franchise’s first season-opening victory since 2016 and the first time they own a record above the .500 mark at any point in a season since March 3, 2017.
Dosunmu entered in the game for the first time with eight minutes and eight seconds left in the second quarter in place of starter DeMar DeRozan at the small forward/wing position. With backup guard Troy Brown Jr. dealing with a non-COVID illness before the game and early foul trouble limiting him to just four minutes of action, Dosunmu was given an early-season opportunity by Chicago second-year head coach Billy Donovan.
“I think (Dosunmu) did some good things when he was in there and I was excited to see him get out there and experience some things tonight,” Donovan said. “I wanted to give him an opportunity and see what he did with it.”
Dosunmu’s first two buckets came on lay-in field goals in transition and the former Illini leading scorer nailed a fourth-quarter three-pointer with 10 minutes and 23 seconds left to give Chicago a 76-72 lead. Dosunmu, who was active and disruptive on the defensive end, was on the floor for the first five and a half minutes of the final quarter before being replaced by Chicago’s leading scorer Zach Levine. Levine finished with a game-high 34 points on 11 of 17 shooting and was a perfect 11 of 11 from the foul line in 35 minutes.
“The interesting thing is a lot of the times when you see rookies come into a game, it’s frenetic. They’re running all over the place and they lose their head but he seemed to know what he was doing,” Comcast Sportsnet Chicago analyst Will Perdue said in the post-game analysis show. “And I don’t mean to sound surprised by that but a lot of times, rookies are just trying to find their way. I don’t think he forced anything offensively. He knew that to make his impact it would need to be on the defensive end and he created a lot of opportunities for the Bulls by just his effort alone.”
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