Chicago Bulls rest 4 starts in regular-season final win as injury concerns continue ahead of playoff – The Mercury News

The final day of each NBA season often features the longest injury report of the year as teams rest their stars to settle for the postseason.

The Bulls followed that trend in Sunday’s 124-120 win in the regular season finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, making four starts for the 82nd game of the season – Demar DeRozan, Zack Lavin, Nikola Vusevic and Alex Caruso.

Patrick Williams (35 points) and Ayo Dosunmu (26) had career-high scoring nights, both playing for more than 40 minutes.

Some of them scratches were expected. Bull Mathematically the number 6 could not move from the seedSo playing a full-power lineup with DeRozan and Vučevi would have been the only two keys to the team’s post-season success, risking fatigue and injury.

But other names on the injury report serve as an emerging question mark for the Bulls in the playoffs – primarily Caruso and Lavin, whose health can determine how far the Bulls can go.

LaVine’s knee became a concern when he missed the last two games before the All-Star break Seek Cure in Los Angeles For pain and stiffness. Almost two months later, the Bulls have no further answers about the guard’s health after the season.

To his credit, LaVine has maintained a nearly identical offensive production—24.4 points and 4.5 assists per game—before and after the All-Star break. But his shooting percentage has declined over the course of several games as an uncharacteristic timidity.

Meanwhile, Caruso is fight back cramps, sat out of a game last week and wore a heat pack during breaks on the sidelines. The guard asked about the third quarter of the Bulls’ loss to the Miami Heat on April 2, when the pain raged between his shoulder blades, resulting in severe pain whenever he collided with other players.

Even when Caruso wasn’t taking care of the injury, coach Billy Donovan said it’s easy to tell the defensive specialist – who has only stolen the ball once in the last three games – playing at a fraction of his normal intensity. Used to be.

“He’s not well,” Donovan said.

For his part, DeRozan isn’t a fan of the rest of the game — and he doesn’t need them this season. The veteran forward understands the need to take care of his body, joking after a midseason game that all he does after the game is “go home and sit down” now that he is in his 30s. But DeRozan isn’t inclined to take breaks, unless he feels his body is in trouble.

“I don’t need a break,” he said after Tuesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. “I hate sitting around for too long. I love playing. … I feel awkward when it comes to this. You shouldn’t feel great. I hate feeling too good. Some of my best games Came when I thought I had jumped 10 media people.”

DeRozan stopped a game last week after feeling trouble in his groin—which he’s always treated with caution after a torn adductor in 2014. He will finish the season after missing only six games, four of them leaguewide in December during the COVID-19 outbreak.

DeRozan’s ability to dodge injuries this season served as a rare bright light for the Bulls, with hopes regularly dashed by injury reports.

Bull Waited until this week for Lonzo Ball to take off For the season after January surgery for a torn meniscus, ending months of hope that the guard could return to the roster for a last-minute boost. Ball injuries were a main part of the revolving door of the starting guard for the Bulls, having replaced four players in the starting point guard role over the past two months.

Due to injuries to Caruso and LaVine, the Bulls may have to continue this trend of adaptable lineups after the season.

“We’ve dealt with all of this for so long,” Donovan said. “You try to have a level of optimism … but that’s been the case for us this year.”

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