10 November 2019 06:43
The pressure on Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen to "figure it out'' won't be going away anytime soon. Not when the Bulls announced on Friday that the left foot contusion suffered by veteran wing Otto Porter Jr. was worse than initially thought. Porter suffered the setback during the first half of the win in Atlanta, left the game, but afterward was walking on it fine. That's where the uncertainty comes in where it's difficult to put a timeframe on it. So, yes, it did not settle down like maybe we had hoped other injuries have.
That means at least missing the Saturday night game with Houston, and then a wait-and-see in the days after. LaVine and Markkanen emerging as a dominant duo. No, actually doing it in a real NBA game, and then doing it over and over again after that. "If I had the answer I'd be able to tell you,'' LaVine said on Friday, when asked why he and Markkanen haven't been working like they should. We've seen it at points in the game sometimes, last year, this year, you know, but we've just got to do it consistently.
I'd like it to be better, but I wish I had an answer for you. The third-year7-footer said that he and LaVine have frequently discussed it, and have a strong enough relationship to sit down after games and break it down. "We talk all the time, so we understand what's going on,'' Markkanen said. "It's not like we need an extra talk.'' Markkanen has one game in which he scored more than 20 points this season, and that was a 35-point, 17-rebound loss in the opener down in Charlotte. LaVine had just 16 in that game, and did so on 7-for-17 from the field with some shaky defense. LaVine's best scoring game came in Memphis, when he put up 37. Markkanen had nine in that win, shooting just 4-for-15. That's kind of summed up the season so far through the first nine games. "Drive, kick – it seems like a match made in heaven,'' LaVine said. Considering the organization built the roster for LaVine and Markkanen to do just that – dominate – the hope is the problem will fix itself. "We've had plays at the rim,'' Boylen said, when asked how he's tried getting the two going this season. We came off in my opinion one of our better wins in a long time [in Atlanta] after a difficult home loss to play well but not well enough to win. That's just our game.'' So far: Rockets 5-3, Bulls 3-6 Lately: The Rockets won their past two games, beating the Grizzlies and Warriors. The Bulls bounced back from blowing a 19-point lead in the loss to the Lakers to top the Hawks in Atlanta the next night. The Rockets' six-game winning streak against the Bulls is tied for the longest between the teams … The Rockets have held double-digit leads in seven of eight games and led by 15 or more in three of those games. They have also trailed by double digits in four of the past six games … The Rockets are 1-3 against Eastern Conference teams, 1-2 on the road … The Rockets have had six players score in double figures in four of eight games. Forward P.J. Tucker's 22 points on Wednesday were his most in three seasons with the Rockets. He has scored at least 15 points four times this season after reaching 15 seven times last season … Center Clint Capela's 19 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots on Wednesday were all season highs … Guard Russell Westbrook's 8.7 assists per game are fourth in the NBA. Bulls opponents have committed at least 15 turnovers all nine games this season. in each of the first nine games of the 2019-20 season. The Bulls are second in the NBA in points scored off turnovers … Guard Zach LaVine, who averaged a career-high 23.7 points last season, leads the Bulls with an average of 20.4 points, making 38.6 percent of his 3s … Guard Tomas Satoransky scored a career-high 27 points and had seven rebounds and eight assists against the Hawks in just 30 minutes on Wednesday … With Otto Porter Jr. out, Chandler Hutchison will start. He is averaging seven points on 50 percent shooting this season. Guard Gerald Green (left foot surgery) and center Nene (strained adductor) are out. (sprained left foot) is out. 16.5 – second chance points scored per game by the Rockets this season to lead the NBA. Looking ahead: Rockets at Pelicans, Monday; Bulls vs.