Just when Zach LaVine is heating up, he was shut down.
It's only temporary, but the Bulls decided last month when LaVine returned from ACL surgery, he would sit out the second leg of back-to-back games this weekend.
After scoring a season-high 35 points in Friday's improbable win over Minnesota, LaVine talked about having to sit out Saturday against Washington.
"You can get your rhythm that way, playing back-to-back nights," he said. "It's just something I've got to do for my safety this year. It stinks, but I'm going to be here supporting. I think we have more than enough to win."
LaVine has now played in 12 games since coming back from surgery on Jan. 13. In his last four, he averaged 26.5 points and shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range. Against Minnesota, he scored the Bulls' final 11 points, including a tying 3-pointer with 41.1 seconds left, then 3 free throws to put the Bulls ahead with 18.4 seconds on the clock.
"My legs are just coming up under me now," LaVine said. "Just getting back into the routine for the NBA and the grind and the practices. So I approach every game the same and put the work in, it's going to work out for you regardless."
LaVine took joking offense at a Minnesota reporter's suggestion that last-second shots didn't go well for him during his Timberwolves career.
"I hit some game-winners in Minnesota. Were you there my first two years?" LaVine asked. "Last year, I did miss a couple. It felt good (Friday). I went up there, I was confident I was going to knock those free throws down."
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said the team will reevaluate LaVine's participation in back-to-backs after the all-star break. The next one on the schedule is Feb. 26 and 27.
Hoiberg ready to spread minutes:
When the trade deadline passed, Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said some players on the roster would take on bigger roles so they can be properly evaluated.
Asked which players specifically would be getting more minutes, coach Fred Hoiberg mentioned Paul Zipser, Cristiano Felicio, newcomer Noah Vonleh and point guard Cam Payne, who is coming back from foot surgery.
"Noah Vonleh is a very intriguing player with his size (6-9), a guy that played some really good meaningful minutes for Portland," Hoiberg said before Friday's game. "I'm excited to take a look and see what we have with Cam. As far as minutes are concerned, we haven't discussed that exactly how we're going to do it, but we will get a look at some of these players down the stretch."
Coach denies Rose interest:
Former Bulls guard Derrick Rose was released by Utah on Saturday, freeing him up to find a new home after being traded from Cleveland this week. Washington has been mentioned as an interested team, since point guard John Wall is expected to be out 6-8 weeks with a knee injury. Wall missed his eighth straight game Saturday.
"It must be right if ESPN reported it, right?" Wizards coach Scott Brooks said before the game. "We're happy with what we have. Every team will monitor (available players). If something presents itself that makes sense, we will look into it. But right now we're focused on what we have here."
Besides Wall, Washington played Saturday without forward Markieff Morris due to an illness