Chicago Bulls star guard Zach LaVine is probable for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. LaVine missed the last two games with a strained right patellar tendon and there was talk about shutting him down for the rest of the season if the knee didn’t react well, but the Bulls left Chicago yesterday and LaVine and Otto Porter are scheduled to play tonight.
“Every game you can stamp my work card for you know what you’re going to get from Zach LaVine each and every night,” LaVine told reporters yesterday before the Bulls left for Los Angeles. “You might get a little extra. But bare minimum, you’re going to see what I get every night.”
LaVine, who played one year at UCLA before being drafted, said he wants to keep playing, especially during the team’s last West Coast trip:
“I’m not somebody that’s going to sit out. If I’m hurt, there’s no reason to try to risk anything. But if I’m not, I’m going to play. I’ve already missed enough games (injured), I feel like, for my career. I like being on the floor.
“I feel like I’ve played well all year,” LaVine said. “You can get on rolls and hot streaks and things like that, but I expect myself to do that. I want to continue to do that.”
Bulls Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Clippers
*Notates expected starter
C: Robin Lopez*, Cristiano Felicio
PF: Lauri Markkanen*, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
SF: Otto Porter Jr.*, Antonio Blakeney
SG: *Zach LaVine, Ryan Arcidiacono, Wayne Selden
PG: Kris Dunn*, Shaquille Harrison
LaVine is possibly playing the best basketball of his career. In his last five games, he averaged 29.8 points and shot 48.2 percent from the field in 39.0 minutes. He scored 24 points in last Friday’s 112-104 home loss against the Pistons but he hasn’t played since. The Bulls are 4-5 when LaVine is out.
The talented shooting guard was dominant in February, averaging 24.5 points, 5.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 49.0 percent from 3-point range in 35.1 minutes over 10 games.
Zach LaVine leads the Bulls with 23.8 points, 4.4 assists while shooting 46.8 percent and he also pulls down 4.6 rebounds (all career-highs) in 34.5 minutes over 60 games.
The Clippers are coming off a tough 125-104 home loss against the Trail Blazers but they didn’t have their second leading scorer Danilo Gallinari due to an ankle injury. Gallinari is questionable for this game and this is a talented and deep team that’s fighting for playoff positioning and playing for each other.
If Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen have fun playing, the Bulls have a good chance of being competitive tonight but if LaVine suffers a setback with his injury or if Markkanen can’t make his shots the Clippers will get an easy win.