Hoiberg hoping to get Bulls' Big Three together for summer school

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine, right, sat out Saturday's game vs. Cleveland due to soreness in his knee. Starters Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen also were out with injuries.

    Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine, right, sat out Saturday's game vs. Cleveland due to soreness in his knee. Starters Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen also were out with injuries. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/17/2018 6:51 PM

The Bulls' three main rebuilding blocks -- Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen -- have started together just 12 times all season. On Saturday against Cleveland, all three were out with injuries.

There's still time left in the regular season for that group to work on building some chemistry, but the process needs to continue in the summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We still have such a small sample size with those guys," coach Fred Hoiberg said before Saturday's game. "With Zach coming into the fold as late as he did (after knee surgery), I'm confident we'll get everything in the offseason right with those three guys.

"I'm really excited about that opportunity this offseason, to get those guys ready and get a step ahead going into training camp. They're all dedicated to being here and are incredible workers. I hope to have those guys for a good six weeks heading into training camp."

Markkanen set to finish:

None of the injuries to the Bulls' three starters is thought to be serious, but it also seems likely they will sit out again in New York on Monday. Heading into Saturday's action, a half-game separated the Bulls and Knicks for the league's eighth- and ninth-worst records.

"Kris, it's basically like a turf toe-type injury," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Lauri is significantly better, but he's still got some tightness in that back. With Zach, he's got some soreness in that knee and anytime that happens you've just got to be careful."

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Markkanen has had three bouts with back spasms in the past nine months, but Hoiberg said there's no consideration for shutting the rookie down as a precaution for the rest of the season.

"He wants to be out there with his teammates," Hoiberg said. "I think he'll hopefully be out there again soon, but it's important to get him a full, live contact practice before we do that."

Nwaba talks dunk defense:

The NBA world was still buzzing about LeBron James' monster dunk over Portland's Jusuf Nurkic on Thursday. Bulls forward David Nwaba talked about his personal rules for challenging a dunk, as opposed to getting out of the way.

"It was a crazy dunk, for sure," Nwaba said. "If I'm in the right situation to contest, I can't run off. I don't know, depends on the situation. I wouldn't jump late or anything. You don't want to be on anyone's poster, but you've got to make the right play."

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