Bulls star Zach LaVine played in both games of a back-to-back set for the first time this season on Tuesday and Wednesday, suiting up in Brooklyn vs. the Nets and then at home vs. the Hornets. LaVine scored just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting on Wednesday, but said after the win that his surgically repaired knee wasn’t an issue, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes.
“I felt good. My legs were tired. A couple of my shots were short,” LaVine said. “But, you know, it was one of them games.”
Given how carefully the Bulls have managed LaVine so far this season coming off left knee surgery, it’s a cause for optimism that he logged a total of 69 minutes across those two games and came out feeling OK. Still, head coach Billy Donovan said the team will continue to take a day-to-day approach to how it handles LaVine’s workload and availability, according to Schaefer.
“I think the thing for him is it’s the cumulative,” Donovan said on Tuesday, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s really where I think (the medical staff is) concerned, like the cumulative buildup of things. He could be totally fine today, come out of this game totally fine. Then let’s say he plays tomorrow. He can wake up the next day and be in some discomfort.”
Here’s more on the Bulls:
- Ayo Dosunmu, who has emerged as the Bulls’ starting point guard in his second NBA season, has impressed his teammates with his leadership, as Schaefer details in another NBC Sports Chicago story. “He steps up to the challenge all the time. Ayo even in his second year is a vocal leader,” LaVine said on Tuesday. “He helps pick up our energy, offensively, defensively, just the way he carries himself.”
- There have been questions about whether Patrick Williams should keep his spot in the Bulls’ starting lineup, but the former No. 4 overall pick had his best game of the season on Tuesday in Brooklyn. According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Donovan essentially challenged Williams to do it again, and he responded with an even better performance on Wednesday vs. Charlotte, scoring a season-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and posting a positive net rating (+19) for the first time this season.
- Following Wednesday’s game, Donovan praised Williams for starting to produce more consistently and urged fans to be patient with the forward’s ongoing development. “I get everyone wants to see this progression. But in fairness to him, he hasn’t had a normal two-year NBA schedule like a lot of guys have had. It’s taken him some time,” Donovan said, according to Johnson. “And every player develops and evolves at a different rate.”
- Andre Drummond (shoulder) and Coby White (quad) have both missed multiple games due to their respective injuries, but the Bulls don’t view either as a long-term concern, Cowley writes for The Sun-Times. According to Donovan, MRIs on both players came back clean.