Bulls' Portis knocks down shots in return from ankle injury

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis (5) is defended by Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Chicago.

    Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis (5) is defended by Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Chicago.

 
 
Updated 1/6/2019 7:47 PM

Bobby Portis made up for lost time in a hurry. In his return from seven games off with a right ankle sprain, the Chicago Bulls forward scored 17 points in 20 minutes on Sunday.

"He's aggressive, he loves to play, he's got a nose for the ball," coach Jim Boylen said after the loss to Brooklyn. "He's a versatile guy. He's a matchup nightmare."

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Between the ankle issue and a right knee sprain, Portis has played in just 10 games this season. He was shooting 25 percent from 3-point range heading into this one and he didn't want to make a big deal about knocking down 3 of 4 attempts on Sunday.

"I take the shots that come to me," Portis said. "I don't count missed shots as struggling. That helps the offense, that's the flow of the game. That's the way coach Fred (Hoiberg) had the games going when I played for him. Just because I wasn't making them doesn't mean I was struggling."

Football season continues:

The Bulls finished Friday's game against Indiana with both Kris Dunn and Shaq Harrison on the floor. They haven't played together much this season, but both played high school football and coach Jim Boylen has said he appreciates that.

"I love tough guys that compete," Boylen said. "I love guys that embrace collision and contact. Wendell didn't play football, but he's got that mentality of 'I'm going to lay it out there for you.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I think in any sport, if you're not afraid of collision and contact, you're going to have a lot of success. So that's something we talk about."

Harrison was a wide receiver at Lee's Summit West High School outside of Kansas City and said he was recruited for football by schools like Northern Illinois, Kansas and Wyoming.

"I didn't do much hitting. I received the hits," Harrison said. "It was a great experience. I considered playing football in college. I definitely miss those days."

Bulls catch breath:

When Jim Boylen talked about making sure newcomer Wayne Selden is in shape, the Bulls coach was asked if the team's conditioning has improved since he made it a priority when taking the job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I think our downhill drives are up, our paint drives are up. I think we're getting into the paint more," he said. "To me, that's conditioning, playing with force. We've had some terrific second-half defensive efforts, which to me is conditioning.

"I also feel sometimes when you make shots, is that fresh legs or is that just making shots? Who knows? I think when you're stronger, the game's easier for you. When you're not worried about breathing, the game's easier for you."

Selden, by the way, made his Bulls debut by playing the final 3:19 on Sunday and hit 1 of 2 free throws. Selden arrived from Memphis this week in the Justin Holiday trade.

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