Bulls win again in front of sparse crowd, but LaVine to miss another 3-4 weeks

The Bulls finally found a silver lining to the NBA's In-Season Tournament.

They went 0-4 in their actual tournament games, and endured opponents running up the score to try to increase their point differential on two occasions.

On Wednesday, the United Center was maybe half full for an In-Season tourney consolation game, which wasn't on the original schedule and was announced just a week ago. So maybe the emptiness made sense.

Here's the good news: The In-Season Tournament apparatus ended up giving the Bulls an extra game against Charlotte, which was missing LaMelo Ball due to an ankle sprain. The Bulls didn't play especially well, but won their third straight game 111-100.

The In-Season tourney could keep on giving, since the Bulls' second additional game is Friday at San Antonio, which dropped to a 3-17 record and 15-game losing streak with Wednesday's loss to Minnesota. All these tournament games are part of the 82-game regular season, except for the championship tilt in Las Vegas this weekend.

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 29 points, Nikola Vucevic added 20 points and 12 rebounds. After the game, the Bulls announced Zach LaVine will be sidelined an additional 3-4 weeks due to right foot inflammation.

Coby White set a franchise record by hitting at least 3 baskets from 3-point range for the ninth straight game. He finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

After the game White had his right wrist wrapped and said he got X-rays but everything was good.

"I just tweaked it," White said. "Early in the first half, I fell on it weird."

As bad as the season began for the Bulls (8-14), there has been really good news with the improvement of White, Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams. All three have made progress in the important category of doing things that contribute to winning.

Before the game coach Billy Donovan recalled watching White play during his rookie season while Donovan coached Oklahoma City.

"I think Coby back then, his mindset was just totally on scoring," Donovan said. "I think now he's become more of a guy like, 'How do I impact winning?'

"The thing that was so impressive to me in the New Orleans game (Saturday), everybody talks about getting 31 points. The thing that was more impressive to me was taking two charges on Zion Williamson."

Donovan then tried to list White's history of drawing charges. He got the numbers wrong but was correct with the general direction. According to, White has already matched his career-high in offensive fouls taken with 24 in just 21 games. He had 24 all of last season.

"The coaching staff always challenges us to put our body in play," White said. "Before the season started I wanted to lead the team in charges, but it's kind of tough because we've got Alex Caruso. And then DeMar takes a lot of charges. I just try to put my body in play and try to do whatever it is to win."

For the second straight pregame availability, Donovan praised White with a statement that could fit just as well if it were a critique of LaVine.

"Scoring all the time doesn't always lead to winning," Donovan said. "You have to do a lot of other things and I give him (White) credit, when you look at the jump he made defensively. He's looking at the game from a totally different perspective."

This was the Bulls' third straight game without LaVine. The Bulls announced Dec. 1 he would miss a week to rest the foot injury, but this situation was certainly trending toward a longer absence.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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