Late Benching Bugs Bulls Zach LaVine

After converting only 1 of his 14 shots and the team trying to rally from a double-digit deficit, Bulls star Zach LaVine fouled the Orlando Magic for the final 3:43 of Friday’s 108-107 loss to LaVine. fouled for. Defeated, he said he disagreed after the game.

In addition to sitting out at the end of the game, LaVine, who made the All-Star team the past two seasons, was also absent from the floor for long periods during the second half, trailing 8:50. Fourth. There are six minutes left in the third quarter. During that span, the Bulls cut the 16-point Magic lead to four points.

“I had to do a better job setting up my shots early in the game, but you play a player like me,” LaVine said. “That’s what I do. Do I like the decision? No. Do I have to live with it? Yes. Be ready to put on my shoes and play the next game.”

Chicago still trailed by four points when coach Billy Donovan sent LaVine, who signed a five-year, $215 million max contract, to the bench for the final stretch. However, Io Dosunmu helped the Bulls take the lead thanks to a 41-point performance in the final seconds, and Javionte Greenjo had no spark in the first half but went 4-for-4 for eight points and three steals. went away. In 18 second-half minutes.

Bulls coach Billy Donovan said, “I feel like my job is my job, my responsibility in those moments is to try to make the best decision for the team.” “And I thought it was the best decision at the time. For me, I don’t see it as anything more than a one-off game where it was going. I know he wanted to be there.” Many games in his career where [LaVine] wasn’t out there in those moments, but that group was playing well and it gave us an opportunity.

The Bulls took a four-point lead with 20 seconds remaining after Magic missed a pair of free throws. Nikola Vosevic set the stage for a game-winning 3-pointer from Magic guard Jalen Suggs with five seconds remaining.

LaVine said he was not sure whether he would have a conversation with Donovan about his thought process around the decision.

Levin said, “Just ask him what his decision was, what made him think that.” “Obviously he wanted to be there with some of the other guys, I didn’t have the best night shooting, but it’s tough.”

Overall, the Bulls were minus-19 with LaVine on the floor, the worst from any individual player on the team on Friday.

LaVine has been managing his left knee this season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery during the offseason, but said his knee is feeling fine and it didn’t affect his performance on Friday. According to ESPN Stats & Info research, LaVine shot 7.1% from the field, his lowest in a game and his worst field goal percentage (minimum 10 shots) since March 5, 2018.

After being one of the best clutch teams in the NBA last season (25-16 in 2021-22), they have started this season 0-7 in clutch games – scoring within five points with five minutes remaining Is. as defined. Orlando had not won a game on the road all season before winning on Friday.

“I’ve missed a lot of shots, but I’ve had a lot of games where I’ve played really bad and scored 15, 16 points in four, five minutes,” LaVine said. “I wasn’t able to shoot the next shot.”

The Bulls have now fallen from a season-high of four straight games to 6–10 on the season.

“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” Levin said. “We’ve got to get one more game and we’ve got to win. It’s still early in the season, but you don’t want to get used to losing, losing, losing and saying we’re going to move on.”

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