Bulls fail to get Markkanen started in loss to Washington
The Bulls managed to correct one recent criticism on Saturday, getting rookie Lauri Markkanen a team-high 19 shot attempts in a 101-90 loss to Washington at the United Center.
The timing of those shots could have been a little better.
Not including a play where he was called for a charge against Marcin Gortat, Markkanen's first field-goal attempt of this game came with 4:25 left in the first quarter.
That's more than 7 minutes of not being able to find a sweet-shooting 7-footer. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg seemed a bit frustrated after the game by the process.
"Of course, we're running plays for him," Hoiberg said. "They're doing a great job. He's the No. 1 guy on the scouting report. They're staying close to him.
"We tried to get it in there a couple times in the post and we couldn't deliver it, but we were running plays for him."
The Bulls (19-36) probably weren't going to win this game anyway, the day after a big win over Minnesota and playing without Zach LaVine, who sat out the second leg of back-to-back games as a precautionary measure. Kris Dunn missed his 10th game since suffering a concussion.
It turned out to be a rough night for the Wizards (32-24), who lost two players in collisions with Bobby Portis. The Bulls forward was ejected with 2:35 left and assessed a grade 2 flagrant foul for a hit that sent Tomas Satoransky tumbling to the floor. Earlier in the game, guard Tim Frazier dove for a loose ball and hit his head on Portis' knee. Frazier did not return and both players stayed on the ground for a few minutes before walking to the locker room.
Satoransky scored a career-high 25 points on Saturday. He made an aggressive baseline drive and appeared to be rising for a dunk when he was met by Portis. Portis got a piece of the ball, but also hit Satoransky on the arm, knocked him off balance and caused a hard fall.
"I went for the ball, tried to block it," Portis said. "It was a tight game, tried to make a basketball play. I was surprised. I don't think it was contact near the head. I went for the basketball. They called what they called and you have to live with the result."
"I don't think it was a dirty play," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "I think he was going over to try to make a play to prevent a layup."
The Bulls finished the game with seven players scoring in double figures, led by Justin Holiday with 15 points. Getting back to Markkanen, he finished the night 5-for-19 from the field for 12 points and it took him a while to recover from the slow start.
Some of the blame could go to not having Dunn in the lineup.
In the first six games Markkanen has played while Dunn has been out with a concussion, the Finland native averaged 14.2 points and 11.3 field-goal attempts.
When Dunn was at his best, from Dec. 8 to Jan. 17, Markkanen averaged 16.8 points and 13 field-goal attempts. Markkanen is also getting used to having Zach LaVine back from knee surgery.
"I thought we did a much better job of looking for him and getting him attempts tonight," Hoiberg said. "When teams do take that away, somebody else has to make them pay for it. If they're hugging him, then somebody should be open.
"When we get Kris back, We're going to have a lot of options out there to make plays. I'm really looking forward, whenever that is, to getting those three out there together."