Dosunmu delivers dazzling defense on Young in Bulls' win originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Ayo Dosunmu had already crossed over Trae Young with a dribble move and subsequent jumper similar to ones that Young has unleashed on opponents over the years.
The Chicago Bulls’ rookie had splashed in back-to-back corner 3-pointers during a third-quarter stretch when the Bulls’ offense had grown stagnant.
Still, the Hawks held a one-point advantage and the ball when Young went to work on Dosunmu in the final minutes of the Bulls’ victory on Thursday.
“They kept running the same play where they were trying to get the switch on (Danilo) Gallinari,” Dosunmu said. “I told Javonte (Green), ‘I’m just going to stay with him, try to get a stop.’”
The matter-of-factness with which Dosunmu delivered this postgame tidbit shines a light on his makeup. Not only did he not shrink from the moment, he embraced it, welcomed it and asked for it.
But not before going through a mental checklist first.
“Really just try to focus on, try to remember all his combinations. Because I knew the good player he is, All-Star, they always go to their go-to moves when it’s winning time,” Dosunmu said. “I just wanted to give him length. Of course, not give up a 3. And just try to contest without fouling. And that’s what I did.”
Indeed. Dosunmu navigated the screen, stayed with Young as he drove and not only altered the shot but got a piece of it, recording one of his three blocks. And he did this while playing with five fouls.
Is now the time to mention that Young shot 3-for-17 with four turnovers?
“Once he crossed back, I was just staying solid knowing that I’m not giving up a 3,” Dosunmu said of the critical sequence. “And once he got in the paint, I tried to use my wingspan to disrupt him.”
Yes, Dosunmu still makes the occasional, off-the-ball rookie mistakes. But with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, the rookie continues to deliver.
“He continuously keeps getting better. And that’s what you want to see in a young guy,” DeMar DeRozan said. “His confidence at both ends, how comfortable he’s becoming, understanding how to play these top players in this league. Taking on the challenge every single night, never complaining about it. He watches film. He studies his mistakes. He tries to get better every single day and it shows.”