A potentially detrimental injury to the Chicago Bulls offensive firepower could involve a banged up shoulder for shooting guard Zach LaVine.
Two near wins for the Chicago Bulls in back-to-back games made it really difficult to swallow a final play by shooting guard Zach LaVine in a one-point loss at home to the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 9. The Bulls moved to a record of 8-17 on the season after that loss to the Raptors. They quickly squandered a nice two-game winning streak that happened last week.
LaVine had a teammate open down low on a drive he had in the dying seconds of the game. Instead of dishing the ball to an open Daniel Gafford for what could’ve only been a guaranteed game-winning basket, LaVine drove into a double-team and missed the game-winning shot over Marc Gasol of the Raptors.
That missed shot from LaVine handed the Bulls yet another defeat, that came by the final score of 93-92 at home to the Raptors last night. That was the second heartbreaking loss for the Bulls in a matter of two days.
The loss to the Raptors prompted K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago to publish a piece on the problem for the Bulls starters in closing late in games. In that piece from Johnson, he dove into LaVine and his near-make against the Raptors. Along with that, he discussed the struggles of the Bulls starters and their lack of closing ability of late.
The Bulls also fell short against the Miami Heat in overtime at home on Dec. 8. That loss to the Heat came in the first leg of this recent back-to-back. This narrative is getting a bit old for the Bulls of late.
Here’s what Bulls head coach Jim Boylen had to say in that piece from NBC Sports Chicago and K.C.
I coach by faith. I coach and teach every day on where I think we’re going to be. When that’s going to happen, when that’s going to break through, I’m not sure. But I’m going to keep coaching that way. We’ll watch from this, learn from it and grow.
That was a quote from Boylen after the loss to the Raptors and on the issue of the Bulls starters struggling to close out games.
But there was one other big nugget that came out of that piece from Johnson. Apparently LaVine is dealing with a “banged up” shoulder of late. Considering how much LaVine relies on his length, athleticism, and quick driving ability to get his points, this could be a significant injury to watch moving forward.
The shoulder injury to LaVine apparently isn’t enough to land him on the injury report. But with how much the Bulls rely on his scoring ability game in and game out, hopefully it recovers soon so they can get on the right side of the win column more often.
After the latest loss to the Raptors, the Bulls next have a meeting with the Atlanta Hawks at home at the United Center on Dec. 11. At least there is a two day break in store for the Bulls before trying to get their ninth win of the season against the Hawks.