There were two injury issues for the Bulls following Tuesday’s game at Toronto.
Rookie Lauri Markkanen (right quad tendinitis) and center Robin Lopez (sore knee) skipped Wednesday’s practice, according to coach Fred Hoiberg.
Lopez scored 20 points against the Raptors, but Hoiberg said the knee problem was one reason he went with Markkanen and Bobby Portis down the stretch. Another reason was it worked well, with the Bulls outscoring Toronto in the fourth quarter, 33-21.
“It was fun having two guys who can help stretch the floor and they had to change up their lineup also,” Portis said. “They had to take out (center Jonas) Valanciunas to put another four-man in so they could guard both of us. I feel that’s a weapon we can use going forward and it will keep teams’ defenses honest.”
Portis played the entire fourth quarter and scored 14 of the Bulls’ 33 points in his first game following an eight-game suspension. And he’s right about the Raptors’ lineup choices. Toronto sent the more mobile Pascal Siakam in for Valanciunas at one point.
“I liked that lineup we had out there at the end,” Hoiberg said. “We had five skilled players out there on the floor. They could all hit a 3.”
The injured Bulls have another day to heal since the next game is Friday against Indiana at the United Center.
Butler looks ahead:
Former Bulls guard Jimmy Butler talked about his departure from the Bulls in an interview with ESPN and admitted what had been strongly suspected during the past two years.
“I probably did a lot of things that they didn’t like — like maybe the way I would talk to my peers or coaches,” Butler said. “People don’t work as hard as I do. They don’t expect the same things out of the game that I do. And I said from the beginning it was either going to be me or the Fred Hoiberg route. And rightfully so, they took Fred. Good for them.
“But I got that game marked on my calendar. Feb. 9, baby — I’m back. Oh, man, they better hope I go 0-for-30, because every basket I score, I’m looking over at the bench and I got something to say. But I’m so happy to be here. Sometimes you’ve just got to appreciate it, man.”
Butler criticized Hoiberg in December of 2015 for not coaching the team harder, but saying it came down to either keeping Butler or Hoiberg is a stretch. Butler had bigger issues with general manager Gar Forman.
Portis plays games:
Asked if he slept any better after his big game in Toronto, Bobby Portis said no and he passed time by replaying what happened the previous night.
“I got home at like 1 (o’clock) and I woke up like at 7 in the morning, so I’ve been up since 7,” he said. “I played (NBA) 2K by myself this morning. That was fun playing the game, too.”