Billy Donovan praised his short-handed Chicago Bulls side for coping with the "defensive pressure" applied by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Monday's narrow 111-110 triumph.
The high-flying Bulls have been faltering in recent matches and had lost six of seven heading into the contest but managed to see it out against the Thunder to improve to 29-17 for the season.
DeMar DeRozan was rested, while Lonzo Ball (bruised knee) and Alex Caruso (fractured wrist) were absent in a match where the Bulls had to withstand heavy fourth-quarter pressure.
"Two of our primary ballhandlers in Lonzo and Alex are not here," said head coach Donovan, a former Thunder coach who had a 243-157 record with Oklahoma.
"And when you get into these situations in the fourth quarter where teams turn up the defensive pressure and pick up full court, you've got to be able to handle it."
Good work, fellas. pic.twitter.com/aJMZVipz5m— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 25, 2022
Nicola Vucevic had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls, while rookie Ayo Dosunmu put 24 for a season high and Zach LaVine contributed 23.
LaVine had not played since January 14 due to a bruised left knee and was happy to be back out on court for a Bulls side that lost by 19 points to the league-worst Orlando Magic last time out.
"It felt good," LaVine said. "I got tired of just sitting at home watching. I'm about as healthy as I can get, but it just sucks sitting at home and not being able to help."