Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bulls’

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will be sidelined for a minimum of four-to-six weeks after he undergoes an arthroscopic debridement on his left knee on Sept. 28.

Under the provided timeline, Ball would likely miss the start of the 2022-23 season, set to tip off in just under four weeks’ time on Oct. 18. If he returns in exactly six weeks, he’ll have missed Chicago’s first eight games of the campaign but could possibly play against his younger brother LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 2.

The 2017 second overall pick reportedly felt continued pain in his left knee while rehabbing in Los Angeles over the summer.

Ball has dealt with recurring issues in his left knee throughout his five-year career. As a rookie, he sprained his left MCL before undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in the same joint the following summer. The Bulls shut Ball down last season in mid-January due to a meniscus tear after he played just 35 games – a career low. He underwent arthroscopic surgery following the injury and was initially expected to miss six-to-eight weeks but didn’t play again for the rest of the campaign.

The 24-year-old owns career averages of 11.9 points, 6.2 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals while shooting 36.4% from beyond the arc. Ball has improved from distance in every professional season, culminating with a 42.3% clip on 7.4 attempts from deep per game last campaign.

Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond believes he has already cemented himself as one of the best rebounders the league has ever seen – and there’s more to come.

“I think I’m already there,” Drummond told CT Insider’s Mike Anthony. “I’m on my way. By the time I retire, I’ll go down as the best rebounder ever – if not already.”

Drummond currently ranks 46th all time in career rebounds with 9,519 in 718 games. He sits behind Hall of Famers such as Dave DeBusschere and Bob Lanier and active players such as Denver Nuggets center DeAndre Jordan and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, the latter of whom ranks 38th.

However, Drummond’s per-game average of 13.3 rebounds brings him to 11th, the highest mark for an active player.

The two-time All-Star has led the NBA in rebounding on four occasions, once in 2015-2016 with 14.8 per game, which helped him land a spot on the All-NBA third team. He then led the league for three seasons straight from 2017-2020, including 16 per contest in 2017-2018.

Drummond spent eight seasons with the Detroit Pistons before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2020. Since then, the 29-year-old has spent time with the Cavs, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets.

Chicago signed Drummond to a two-year, $6.6-million deal in the offseason.

Four-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic and the Chicago Bulls have a mutual interest in extending his contract and plan to begin discussions in the fall, sources told The Chicago Sun Times’ Joe Cowley.

Vucevic is entering his final season of a four-year, $100-million deal he signed with the Orlando Magic in 2019 and is set to earn $22 million.

The Montenegrin national spent his first full season in Chicago last year after the Magic traded him midway through the 2020-21 campaign. He averaged just 17.6 points per game – his fewest since 2017-18 – while adding 11 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

Vucevic’s diminished production correlates with the Bulls’ move to add star guard DeMar DeRozan in free agency. The 31-year-old averaged more than four fewer shots per game than the year prior, forced to share looks with DeRozan and fellow All-Star Zach LaVine.

The big man’s three-point shot also dropped significantly from a career-best 40% in 2020-21 to just 31.4% last season.

Known as a player with a versatile offensive skillset, Vucevic’s struggles illuminated his slow-footed defense. The Bulls finished last season with the fifth-highest field goal percentage allowed to their opponents and the third-most points per game allowed in the pick-and-roll.

Vucevic will have slightly more competition at the center spot as well, with Chicago bringing in veteran big Andre Drummond during the offseason.

The Chicago Bulls and Zach LaVine agreed to a five-year, $215.2-million maximum contract, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The deal contains a player option in the fifth year.

LaVine made his second straight All-Star team this past season. He averaged 24.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 67 games for the Bulls, helping the team reach its first postseason since 2016-2017.

The 27-year-old has spent five seasons in Chicago since being dealt to the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler trade in 2017.

Chicago also reportedly added center Andre Drummond on a two-year, 6.6-million deal.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds and the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks routed the Chicago Bulls 116-100 on Wednesday night to finish off the first-round series in five games.

The third-seeded Bucks advanced to face second-seeded Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 on Sunday in Boston. The Celtics swept Brooklyn.

After splitting the first two games, the Bucks won the last three by an average margin of 23.3 points. They won those three games without Khris Middleton, the All-Star who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the fourth quarter of Game 2.

Chicago didn’t handle the loss of key players quite as well. The Bulls played without the starting backcourt they used for the first four games with two-time All-Star Zach LaVine in health and safety protocols and Alex Caruso in concussion protocol.

The absences enabled Milwaukee’s defense to focus much of its attention on containing DeMar DeRozan, who had scored 41 points in the Bulls’ Game 2 victory. DeRozan was held to 11 points Wednesday while shooting 5 of 10.

Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks by shooting 11 of 15 from the floor and 11 of 14 from the free-throw line. Pat Connaughton hit 6 of 9 3-pointers and scored 20 points, and Bobby Portis added 14 points and career-high 17 rebounds. The Bucks’ largest lead was 29.

Patrick Williams scored 23 points, Nikola Vucevic 19 and Coby White 17 for the Bulls. Vucevic also had 16 rebounds and six assists.

DeRozan was scoreless in the first 26 minutes of the game and attempted just one shot in the first quarter as he tried to get his teammates involved.

The problem was Chicago’s other players weren’t hitting open shots, allowing the Bucks to take command early.

Milwaukee pulled ahead for good 3 1/2 minutes into the game and built a double-digit lead by scoring 12 straight points in the first quarter. Late in the first period, the Bucks began a 23-2 run that helped them extend the advantage to 49-20 with 7:25 left in the second period. Antetokounmpo scored nine straight Bucks points during that second spurt.

Chicago outscored the Bucks 22-11 the rest of the second quarter and got the margin down to 11 on Ayo Dosunmu’s 3-point play with 9:32 left in the third quarter, but Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis hit a pair of corner 3-pointers 36 seconds apart to make it 72-55.

TIP-INS

Bulls: The Bulls attempted 52 shots from 3-point range and only 40 from inside the arc. Chicago made just 28.8% of its 3-point shots. … The Bulls haven’t advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2015, when they beat the Bucks before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East semifinals. … With LaVine and Caruso unavailable, Javonte Green and Dosunmu made their first career playoff starts.

Bucks: Reserve guard George Hill still hasn’t played in this postseason due to an abdominal strain. Hill had been listed as questionable the injury report Wednesday before getting ruled out, an indication he’s getting closer to a return. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said before the game that Hill is “making progress” but added that “he needs more time.” … The Bucks have won 20 of their last 22 meetings with the Bulls. … Jrue Holiday had 10 points and nine assists but also committed six turnovers.

Grayson Allen set playoff career highs with 27 points and six 3-pointers, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 119-95 on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round series.

Jrue Holiday scored 26, and the Bucks made it look easy again after beating the Bulls by 30 and handing them the most lopsided home playoff loss in franchise history. The defending NBA champions led by 22 early in the third quarter and steadied themselves after a push by Chicago. They’ll try to wrap up the series in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Allen delivered another huge effort off the bench, surpassing his previous postseason scoring high of 22 points in Game 3. He made 10 of 12 shots and nailed 6 of 7 3s, with Chicago fans booing just about every time he touched the ball.

Antetokounmpo had seven assists.

Holiday made five 3s. Bobby Portis added 14 points and 10 rebounds in his second straight start with Khris Middleton sidelined because of a sprained left knee, and the Bucks beat the Bulls for the 19th time in 21 games.

Zach LaVine led Chicago with 24 points and 13 assists, DeMar DeRozan scored 23 and Patrick Williams finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Allen made 4 of 5 3-pointers and scored 16 as the Bucks grabbed a 56-41 halftime lead.

It was 54-39 with just over two minutes left after he and Holiday nailed back-to-back 3s. Chicago’s Patrick Williams dunked, and Allen missed from up top after making his first four 3s. But he banked in a floater in the final minute to make it a 15-point game.

Portis nailed a 3 and Holiday buried a 30-footer, bumping it to 63-41 in the opening minute of the third. The lead was down to 68-60 midway through the quarter after a 17-3 run by Chicago.

But the Bucks answered by scoring 11 straight. Antetokounmpo had six of those points, including a dunk to make it 79-60, and fed Allen for a 3 after blocking LaVine during that stretch.

TIP-INS

Bucks: Portis and LaVine had to be separated in the closing minutes of the game after they got tangled and had a heated exchange near the Bulls’ basketball. Portis wore goggles again to protect his right eye. Portis suffered an abrasion in Game 2 when he was hit by Chicago’s Tristan Thompson as they went for a rebound. … G George Hill (abdominal strain) missed his fifth game in a row. And coach Mike Budenholzer doesn’t anticipate him returning on Wednesday. “I don’t think I’d put him in the day-to-day category,” he said. “I think he’s gonna need a little more time. Hopefully, it’s shorter rather than longer.” … G Luca Vildoza was unavailable because of a non-COVID illness. The 26-year-old Argentinean played eight minutes in Game 3 in his NBA debut, after signing with the Bucks on April 6.

Bulls: G Alex Caruso left the game with a facial injury. … Chicago has lost six straight home playoff games since beating Cleveland in Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference semifinals. Chicago dropped that series in six games. … Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks was back after missing Game 3 with a non-COVID-19 illness.

UP NEXT

Game 5 is Wednesday at Milwaukee.

Reeling coming off a loss and with one of their best players sidelined, the Milwaukee Bucks delivered just the sort of performance they needed.

The defending NBA champions raced out to a big lead, making quick work of the Chicago Bulls.

Grayson Allen made five 3-pointers and scored 22 points and Milwaukee dominated Chicago 111-81 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series without the injured Khris Middleton.

Giannis Antetokounmpo added 18 points. Bobby Portis started with Middleton out and finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds despite pain in his right eye from a hit in Game 2. And the Bucks made it look easy, handing the Bulls the most lopsided home playoff loss in franchise history.

Coming off two shaky performances in Milwaukee, the Bucks quieted a raucous crowd watching Chicago’s first playoff game at the United Center in five years. They led by 24 in the second quarter and remained in control the rest of the way.

Middleton is expected to miss the rest of the series after spraining his left knee in Wednesday night in a loss. Game 4 is Sunday in Chicago. Without him, Allen said his own mindset didn’t necessarily change, though the rhythm was different.

“Maybe was a little bit quicker to shoot some of those catch-and-shoot shots I got,” said Allen, who hit three straight three 3-pointers soon after entering the game in the first quarter. “But I think it was just being in different spots. Some of those spots that Khris is usually in on offense — top of the key, playing off of post-ups, isolations. I was there and got the ball swung, and they collapsed hard on Giannis and Jrue (Holiday) all game long. I was able to take advantage of that.”

Antetokounmpo scored all but two of his points after the first quarter. The two-time MVP finished with nine assists and seven rebounds.

Holiday added 16 points to help the Bucks beat the Bulls for the 18th time in 20 games.

BULLS STRUGGLE

Nikola Vucevic led Chicago with 19 points. Zach LaVine had 15 and DeMar DeRozan finished with just 11 with the Bucks crowding him after setting a career playoff high with 41 in Game 2.

“We didn’t have that same competitiveness that we had the first two games we had in Milwaukee,” LaVine said. “We took a punch the first game. When we went down 0-9, we responded right away. We didn’t didn’t respond the right way (on Friday). We need to look at the film and figure out how we can do a better job of matching force with force.”

EARLY SURGE

Milwaukee had it going right from the start, racing out to a 60-41 halftime lead even with Middleton sidelined.

Allen helped squash the “Let’s go Bulls!” chants, nailing four 3s and scoring 14 in the half. That had to make it even tougher for fans still upset about his hard foul that resulted in a broken wrist for Alex Caruso during a game in Milwaukee in January. They showered him with boos but couldn’t throw him off his game.

Antetokounmpo started a 13-0 run early in the second quarter with a 19-footer and dunk. And Allen finished it with a driving layup that bumped the lead to 46-22.

TIP-INS

Bucks: Milwaukee’s biggest playoff win was by 50 at home against San Francisco in 1971. And the Bucks’ widest margin on the road was by 36 at Philadelphia in 1970. … Portis wore goggles after missing most of Game 2 with a right eye abrasion. He took a hit to the face from Chicago’s Tristan Thompson late in the first quarter Wednesday as both players were going after a rebound. … G George Hill (abdominal strain) missed his fourth game in a row. And coach Mike Budenholzer said he doesn’t appear close to returning. … Milwaukee has won 12 of 13 at the United Center dating to the 2016-17 season

Bulls: Chicago’s most lopsided playoff loss was 115-78 at Miami in Game 2 of the 2013 conference semis. … The Bulls have not won a home playoff game since beating Cleveland in Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference semifinals. Chicago lost that series in six games. … Assistant coaches Chris Fleming and Damian Cotter were back with the team after missing the first two games because of COVID-19. Assistant Maurice Cheeks, however, was out because of a non-COVID illness, coach Billy Donovan said.

DeMar DeRozan scored a career playoff-high 41 points and the Chicago Bulls outlasted the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Wednesday night in Game 2 to tie their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Zach LaVine had 20 points as the Bulls beat the Bucks for just the second time in their last 19 meetings. The series now heads to Chicago for Game 3 on Friday.

The question facing the defending champion Bucks is whether they’ll be close to full strength when the series resumes. Bobby Portis left Wednesday’s game with a right eye abrasion after the first quarter and Khris Middleton exited with a sore left knee after slipping midway through the fourth quarter.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 33 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, putting him one assist from his second career playoff triple-double. Antetokounmpo increased his career postseason point total to 1,715 to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,692) for the most in Bucks history.

Brook Lopez had 25 points for the Bucks. Middleton scored 18 and Jrue Holiday 15.

DeRozan scored eight points during a 13-0 run that began late in the third quarter and gave the Bulls a 96-80 lead with 9:47 remaining. The Bulls still led by 15 before Milwaukee rallied in the final 7 ½ minutes.

Lopez converted a three-point play to cut Chicago’s lead to 112-109 with 56 seconds left. But after Alex Caruso and Vucevic got offensive rebounds on the Bulls’ ensuing possession, DeRozan’s driving layup made it 114-109 with 18.2 seconds remaining.

After facing an early 16-point deficit in Game 1, the Bulls started much faster this time.

The Bucks committed three turnovers in the game’s first 49 seconds and four in the first two minutes as the Bulls built an early 9-0 lead. The Bulls were ahead 29-28 at the end of a first quarter that featured six lead changes.

Chicago maintained a narrow lead before closing the second quarter on a 15-4 run to extend the margin to 65-49.

The Bulls extended the lead to 18 early in the third quarter, before the Bucks rallied with a small lineup featuring Antetokounmpo, Middleton and reserve guards Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton and Jevon Carter.

Antetokounmpo led the way as the Bucks went on a 15-2 run to cut the Bulls’ lead to three late in the third period. But the Bulls responded with 13 straight points and stayed in front the reset of the way.

TIP-INS

Bulls: After shooting a season-low 32.3% and going 7 of 37 from 3-point range in a 93-86 Game 1 loss, the Bulls shot 49.4% and went 12 of 25 from beyond the arc Wednesday. DeRozan, LaVine and Vucevic shot a combined 21 of 71 overall and 4 of 22 from 3-point range in Game 1. They were a combined 33 of 62 overall and 7 of 14 on 3-point attempts in Game 2. … Caruso had 10 assists to go along with nine points. … Patrick Williams had 10 points and nine rebounds.

Bucks: George Hill missed a third straight game with an abdominal strain. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said before Game 2 that Hill isn’t expected back I the short term and that the team will monitor how the 35-year-old Hill guard progresses over the next “handful of days or more,” … The Bucks had 15 turnovers to increase their season total to 36.

On a night when their usually potent offense was searching for answers, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks had to rely on their defense in their playoff opener.

Fortunately for the Bucks, that’s the one part of their game that was at a championship level.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 16 rebounds, and the third-seeded Bucks recovered after blowing a 16-point lead to beat the sixth-seeded Chicago Bulls 93-86 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series Sunday.

“We’ve got to win the ugly games,” said Jrue Holiday, whose 3-pointer with 5:03 left put the Bucks ahead for good. “I feel like today was ugly. It was a battle and it was tough, but it was an ugly one.”

Holiday’s 3-pointer was part of an 8-0 run that gave the Bucks an 85-78 edge. The Bulls got the margin down to one but could never regain the lead, as Zach LaVine missed a potential tying 3-pointer from nearly 30 feet away with 29 seconds left.

“I thought it was a good shot,” LaVine said. “We were down three. I got a really clean look.”

Milwaukee overcame its struggles on offense by holding the Bulls to the lowest single-game point total of any Bucks opponent all season. The Bulls shot a season-low 32.3% from the floor in their first playoff appearance in five years. They were 7 of 37 on 3-point attempts.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulls were 6 of 28 and 1 of 12 from 3-point range.

“Every shot I took tonight felt good,” said DeMar DeRozan, who scored 18 points but shot 6 of 25. “I guarantee you that me, Zach and Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) aren’t going to miss that many shots again.”

The Bucks, who have won 17 of their last 18 meetings with the Bulls, grabbed an early 32-16 lead and threatened to put this game out of reach early. But they struggled to score the rest of the way.

After shooting 53.8% (14 of 26) in the first quarter, the Bucks made just 34.5% of their attempts (20 of 58) the rest of the way. They had an equal number of turnovers and baskets – 14 – in the second half.

They finished with 21 turnovers. They scored just three points in the first 6 minutes, 57 seconds of the fourth quarter.

“The whole team was kind of out of rhythm,” said Antetokounmpo, who didn’t score in the fourth quarter while dealing with foul trouble. “We weren’t able to find one another as easy as we usually find one another and make shots. We missed a bunch of open shots today. Usually we make those and we get energy.”

Brook Lopez scored 18 points, Holiday had 15, Khris Middleton had 11 and Bobby Portis added 10. Portis also had 12 rebounds.

Vucevic had 24 points and 17 rebounds but shot 9 of 27. LaVine had 18 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 6 of 19.

The Bulls didn’t take their first lead until late in the third quarter. They took their last lead at 78-77 on Vucevic’s inside basket with 5:56 left before the Bucks scored eight straight points.

Alex Caruso’s layup with 1:36 left cut Milwaukee’s advantage to 87-86, but the Bulls wouldn’t score again.

“We showed resiliency tonight,” Lopez said. “Things didn’t go our way offensively for a lot of the game, and we fought through it and did a good job defensively.”

GOING BACK TO CHICAGO

With the two cities separated by only about 90 miles, the Bulls are heading back to Chicago after Game 1 before returning to Milwaukee for Wednesday’s Game 2.

“If we would have had to play Sunday-Tuesday, I think we would have definitely stayed here,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said before the game. “But I think because we have two days, we have a chance to get home at a decent time, those guys can sleep in their own bed, practice tomorrow, practice Tuesday and then come back up.”

TIP-INS

Bulls: Caruso was in the starting lineup. Caruso had started just 18 of the 41 regular-season games he played. … The Bulls were missing assistant coaches Chris Fleming and Damian Cotter, who had tested positive for COVID-19. “They’re still in protocols right now with the league,” Donovan said before the game. Donovan added that “they have never really been in a situation where either one of them has felt bad at all, so that’s been a positive.”

Bucks: Reserve guard George Hill (abdominal strain) and reserve forward Jordan Nwora (back soreness) were unavailable for Sunday’s game. Hill also was held out of the Bucks’ regular-season finale. Jevon Carter essentially filled Hill’s spot in the rotation and scored three points in 9 1/2 minutes. … The Bucks won Game 1 for just the second time in their last seven playoff series.

UP NEXT

Game 2 is Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season due to a left wrist dislocation that will require surgery, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bulls coach Billy Donovan called Williams’ perilunate dislocation a “pretty significant wrist injury” during Friday’s media availability. There are hopes the 20-year-old could recover in time for the playoffs, according to Wojnarowski.

Williams landed awkwardly on his wrist following a mid-air collision with New York Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson during Thursday’s 104-103 defeat in Chicago. Robinson was called for a flagrant foul on the play.

The fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Williams was expected to be a significant contributor this season on the heels of a stellar Summer League showing. He started 71 of the team’s 72 regular-season contests in 2020-21, averaging 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.

Donovan also discussed how the team will address Williams’ void in the starting lineup. “I think Derrick (Jones). I think Javonte (Green). Obviously Alex (Caruso), we’ve played smaller with four guards,” Donovan told NBC Chicago’s K.C. Johnson.

“A lot is going to be teams and matchups. I thought Lonzo (Ball) when we were small did a pretty good (job) on (Julius) Randle, made his post-ups difficult. All those are viable options.”

The new-look Bulls have been on a tear through the opening two weeks of the 2021-22 campaign, boasting a 4-1 record. They are tied for first in the Eastern Conference standings ahead of Saturday’s visit from the unbeaten Utah Jazz.