Bulls’ Patrick Williams has breakout playoff showing in Game 4 loss
Watching Williams put up 20 points and 10 rebounds was one of the few positives for the Bulls on Sunday, but coach Billy Donovan knows better than to count on the same in Game 5.
It wasn’t ‘‘Minnesota Pat.’’
The Bulls don’t need forward Patrick Williams to be the player who scored a career-high 35 points in the regular-season finale April 10 against the Timberwolves, but they need him to be more than the one who scored only one point in Game 3 on Friday against the Bucks.
That’s why they had to take some comfort in his performance in Game 4 on Sunday. He finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Bulls’ 119-95 loss.
‘‘When you have [teammates] telling you that you work too hard to hang your head or stop shooting, it just means the world to know that those guys have your back,’’ Williams said of the turnaround.
Does that mean he can be counted on for Game 5? Not exactly. Coach Billy Donovan said Williams, 20, is a player the Bulls have to stay on about being aggressive when it comes to his shot.
‘‘[This is] probably in a lot of ways a lot different than he’s played his whole entire life,’’ Donovan said of Williams. ‘‘That’s not to sit there and say that at certain points and times in his life that he wasn’t physical and dominant, a really good player. But he wasn’t a guy that, as a freshman at Florida State, was getting 25 every night and the ball was being just directed to him and he was doing all that stuff.
‘‘This is part of his evolution. This is part of his development. And it’s something that’s probably new for him. So does he need constant encouragement, dialogue, film? All the time. But I’m fine with it because he’s a great guy and he wants to get better; he wants to improve.
‘‘I think the hardest part for him [is] finding when and where all those opportunities are and how [he attacks]. And he sees it more after the moment than in the moment.’’
The best example of how effective Williams can be offensively came in the third quarter, when the Bulls started to make a run. Williams was aggressive both with his pull-up jumper and from three-point range, a shot the Bucks have given him the entire series.
Williams’ eight third-quarter points helped the Bulls cut a 22-point deficit to eight at one point.
And while it would make life easier for the Bulls if Williams’ latest performance would carry forward into Game 5, that’s just not his makeup. Donovan said the Bulls knew that when they drafted him fourth overall in 2020.
‘‘The size, the physicality, the athleticism, we all understood there would be a process for him,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘He wasn’t just going to come onto the scene and take over. This was going to be a development thing for him.
‘‘I don’t think that from the information that I had gotten before the draft even took place . . . that there is anything at all that’s surprised me. From all the intel and the work, we knew exactly what we were getting.’’
Guard Alex Caruso left the game after taking an unintentional blow to the face from Bucks guard Jevon Carter in the second quarter and didn’t return.
Donovan said Caruso still was being tested in the concussion protocol after the game. But because Caruso was begging to try to get back on the court, Donovan said he is hoping the injury isn’t too serious.