Chicago Bulls forward Zach LaVine is frustrated by his late benching during loss to the Orlando Magic as he hits out at coach Billy Donovan, claiming ‘you play a guy like me’
- Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine was benched for the final minutes of Friday’s loss
- Forward had converted just one of his 14 shots before being being benched
- LaVine admitted he was unhappy with coach Billy Donovan’s decision postgame
- But he insisted he would ‘live with it’ and he conceded he needed to make shots
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Chicago Bulls forward Zach LaVine was benched for the final minutes of Friday’s loss to the Orlando Magic after converting just one of his 14 shots.
The Bulls were attempting rally back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter of the 108-107 defeat when coach Billy Donovan benched LaVine for the final 3:43 of the game.
LaVine, who finished with four points, appeared to disagree with the decision postgame but admitted he had to take his shots at the beginning of the game and live with it.
Zach LaVine was benched for final minutes of Friday’s loss after converting just one of 14 shots
‘I got to do a better job at the beginning of the game to make my shots, but you play a guy like me down the stretch,’ said LaVine via ESPN.
‘That’s what I do. Do I like the decision? No. Do I have to live with it? Yeah. Be ready to put my shoes on and play the next game.’
LaVine, who made the All-Star team the last two seasons, was also absent from the floor for a long stretch during the second half, sitting from six minutes remaining in the third quarter to the 8:50 mark in the fourth.
During the spell he sat out, the Bulls managed to cut the Magic’s lead down from 16 points to four.
‘I feel like my job, my responsibility in those moments is to try to make the best decisions for the team,’ Bulls coach Donovan said. ‘And I thought that was the best decision at the time.
‘To me, I don’t look at it as anything else but the one-off game where this is what was going on. I know he wanted to be out there. There’s probably not very many games in his career where [LaVine] hasn’t been out there in those moments, but that group was playing well and it gave us a chance.’
Coach Billy Donovan benched LaVine for the final 3:43 of the game as the Bulls tried to rally
The forward was also absent from the floor for a long stretch during the second half
The Bulls went on a 12-1 run, which DeMar DeRozan started with a 3 and ended with a 21-footer with 12 seconds left, to lead by four points.
But they gave up a pair of free throws to the Magic before Nikola Vucevic missed a pair of his own to set the stage for the game-winning 3-pointer from Magic guard Jalen Suggs with five seconds left.
LaVine added postgame that he was not sure if he would speak with Donovan about the decision.
‘Just ask him what his decision was, what made him think that way,’ LaVine said. ‘Obviously, he wanted to go with some other guys out there, I wasn’t having the best night shooting, but it’s a tough one.’
LaVine has been managing his left knee this season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery
LaVine has been managing his left knee this season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery during the offseason.
The Bulls were minus 19 with him on the floor, the worst of any Chicago player Friday, and finished with his lowest total in a game since March 5, 2018, while shooting 7.1 percent, the worst field goal percentage in a game in his career (minimum 10 shots), according to ESPN.
But LaVine insisted his knee felt fine and hadn’t affected his performance Friday night.
‘I’ve missed a lot of shots, but I’ve had a lot of games where I’ve played terribly and in four, five minutes put up 15, 16 points,’ LaVine said. ‘I just wasn’t able to shoot the next shot.’