With LaVine out, the Bulls’ struggles continue against the Grizzlies


CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 16: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on April 16, 2021 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – It’s just been one of those stretches for Billy Donovan.

As his team struggles to get through their post-deadline adjustments and try to make a run for the postseason, the Bulls’ head coach got a jolt this week when his best player went in the NBA’s health and safety protocol.

That’s gonna knock Zach LaVine out of the Bulls’ lineup for at least a week-and-a-half, though the team hasn’t confirmed if the guard has the virus. Losing his best players, who was averaging over 27 points per game, only makes a bad siuation worse.

That continued to be the case on Friday where the Bulls were on the losing end of a fifth-straight game, this time to the Grizzlies at the United Center 126-115. It knocked the Bulls out of the tenth spot in the Eastern Conference at the moment, with the Raptors pulling ahead by percentage points with 17 games to go.

The Bulls (22-33) were able to hang in with Memphis into the second half, taking a 57-all tie into the break. But Dillon Brooks, who scored a game-high 32 points, helped the Grizzlies slowly pull away in the second half.

They’d outscore the Bulls by nine in the third quarter and then build as much as a 20-point advantage in the fourth. Coby White’s 27 points in his return to the starting lineup along with Nikola Vucevic’s 24 points along with 14 rebounds weren’t enough for the Bulls to keep up.

It’s another frustrating night for Donovan, who has to turn around Saturday and face the Cavaliers. LaVine won’t be there for that one or anytime in the near future, as a slumping Bulls’ team continues to trudge through their most difficult stretch of the season.

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