Zach LaVine Sounds Off on ‘Upsetting’ Loss to Spurs

Zach LaVine

Getty Zach LaVine drives to the basket against Jakob Poeltl in a March 17 game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Just as things started looking up for the Chicago Bulls, they lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the most uninspiring fashion, collapsing late after building a 23-point lead.

This comes after winning two straight over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors.

It’s become somewhat of a tradition for this young Bulls team, blowing games where they appeared early on en route to a blowout win. Chicago was outscored by 20 points in the fourth quarter, which is the most since the infamous 56-point blowout suffered at the hands of the Boston Celtics under Jim Boylen last season.

Despite finishing with a team-high 29 points on the night, Zach LaVine was visibly upset speaking with reporters (via NBC Sports) after the loss to San Antonio:

You’re pissed off. I don’t know how anybody else feels. I know how I feel. It’s upsetting. You feel the momentum shift in the game. Sometimes you can’t do a lot about it.

It was a night to forget for the Chicago Bulls, safe to say.

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An Unhappy All-Star

There’s plenty of blame to go around for this one. Chicago made just 11-of-33 three-point attempts, and their bench scored just 27 points on nine-of-29 shooting from the field.

And as a team, the Bulls unsurprisingly committed 17 turnovers. They lead the league at 15.9 per game.

But for guard Zach LaVine, things started to slip away in the third quarter, when Billy Donovan was forced to call a timeout just over a minute into the second half.

LaVine broke it down when speaking to reporters (via NBC Sports) after Wednesday night’s loss:

We were supposed to come out in the third quarter and play with the right energy. But we messed up the first play call. We came down, let them score. And then on the next possession, we gave them a wide-open 3. They missed but we were all out of sorts. That carried on for the rest of the game. Even though we held some type of lead, it just diminished.

It didn’t help the Bulls that San Antonio, who averages the NBA’s second-least fouls per game at 17.9, were able to keep Chicago’s All-Star away from the charity stripe until there was just 2:24 remaining.

LaVine acknowledged the Spurs prowess on that end of the ball, but indirectly questioned officiating after the game:

I don’t know. I guess San Antonio is the best defensive team in the NBA. They don’t foul a lot. I know I was going to the hole and I drive aggressively. I know Thad drives aggressively. We’ll try to continue to go out there. Obviously, San Antonio was pretty perfect tonight.

Chicago finished the night with just nine free throw attempts to San Antonio’s nine. But LaVine, as all good leaders do, took full responsibility for the team’s collapse after the game:

I think I’ve got to take that responsibility myself as the leader of the team and try to get guys together and try to organize it. But it sucks because we let so many games waste. It’s a great opportunity. We had a really good two quarters. So, yeah, it sucks.

The Road Ahead

It’s not going to get easier anytime soon for the Bulls, who per, still have the league’s eighth-hardest remaining schedule.

Chicago is headed on the road for the next two games, facing a Western Conference contender in the Denver Nuggets and a pesky rebuilding Detroit Pistons team that just beat the Raptors on Wednesday night.

At 18-21, a few more losses could truly make or break the Bulls’ hopes of berthing the play-in tournament as one of the Eastern Conference’s ninth or tenth seeds.

Hopefully, this performance against the San Antonio Spurs is the last of which will warrant apologetic postgame interviews from the team’s All-Star and head coach.

The Chicago Bulls have now dropped three of their last five, and five of their last eight dating back prior to the All-Star break.

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