No one is completely sure when the injury happened, but it appears it may have occurred on this play:
On the next trip down the floor, LaVine fouled Steph Curry so that he could exit the game. He immediately walked up the tunnel to the locker room.
The Bulls were only down 4 when LaVine left the game, and it appeared as though the wheels came off the wagon when he didn’t return to the game in the second quarter. LaVine left the game with 0 points and he did not return. Meanwhile, the Warriors went on to outscore the Bulls 41-19 in the second period to set up the blow out.
The major question is how bad is LaVine’s injury?
Early Updates on Zach LaVine’s Injury
LaVine will have an MRI on Saturday to determine if there is any structural damage to his knee. However, the earliest reports were optimistic.
LaVine reportedly walked out of the arena “walking fine” and “expressing confidence,” per NBC Sports’ KC Johnson.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan says LaVine isn’t traveling with the team to Boston where Chicago will take on the Celtics.
This is the same knee in which he suffered a torn ACL back in 2017 when he was still with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here is the play when LaVine tore his ACL with the Timberwolves.
Believe it or not, LaVine came back in the game and played 6 more minutes after he suffered the torn ACL.
While LaVine was able to walk off the floor under his own power on Friday night, what happened in 2017 might make fans a little more worried about the results of his MRI on Saturday.
A serious injury to LaVine would sink the Bulls’ chances of competing this season. DeMar DeRozan is getting MVP chatter because of his outstanding season, but the Bulls’ winning season is more about the duo than it is about one of them. Together, they are averaging 52 points per game, 10.1 rebounds and 9 assists per game.
Without LaVine, DeRozan simply won’t have enough help offensively to propel the Bulls forward.
What’s Wrong With the Bulls?
Even if LaVine is OK, there is suddenly a question about the Bulls’ fitness for contention after being blown out by the Brooklyn Nets at home on Wednesday and again by the Warriors on Friday.
The biggest issue is on the defensive end of the floor. The Bulls gave up 138 points to both the Nets and the Warriors in those losses. Both the Warriors and Nets shot 56% from the field. The Warriors made 45% from three while Brooklyn sunk 53% of their long-range attempts.
Were the teams shooting the ball well? Yes, but the perimeter defense was horrendous, especially against the pick-and-roll which opened up far too many open looks on the perimeter after initially surrendering dribble penetration. The absence of Alex Caruso is playing a major role in the dip defensively. Getting him back some time next week should help, but there are deeper issues.
Chicago must pray that LaVine’s injury isn’t serious and then they must work to improve their defense.
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