Markkanen stays hot, Bulls win Porter's debut
This was a good night for scoreboard watching.
The one at the Barclays Center showed an impressive result for the Bulls. They beat the Brooklyn Nets 125-106 on Friday, marking a successful debut for Otto Porter Jr.
Two days after arriving in a trade with Washington, Porter started at small forward without the benefit of a practice or shootaround. He scored 18 points in 34 minutes, hitting 4 of 5 shots from 3-point range.
"It was nice to see that first one go in," Porter said after the game. "I got that out of the way and I could just play."
The out-of-town scoreboard told an interesting story as well. The two ex-Bulls played well in Washington's 119-106 win over Cleveland. Bobby Portis started fast and scored 30 points for the Wizards, hitting 12 of 18 shots. Jabari Parker filled the stat sheet as well, with 7 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals.
This should make for a lively Saturday night at the United Center. Ex-teammates will collide when the Bulls host the Wizards.
Porter seemed to fit right in. He has good size for the small forward spot at 6-foot-8 and did a nice job of knocking down jumpers. With Porter and Markkanen serving as 3-point threats, the lane might open up for drives by Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn -- in theory, anyway.
"We kind of ham-and-egged them a little bit," Bulls coach Jim Boylen told reporters after the game. "Dunn has a great third quarter. Zach has his moments in the fourth. We just kind of played together and I felt like we looked like a team out there and played like a team. I'm happy for our guys and I'm proud of our guys."
Markkanen stayed hot, delivering 31 points and 18 rebounds. This was his third-straight 30-point game and he hit 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range in the process. LaVine scored 26 points, attacking the basket late in the game to help the Bulls pull away. Dunn had 14 points and 9 assists.
The Bulls shot 54.1 percent from the field and 14-for-28 from 3-point land. Wayne Selden Jr. contributed to the shooting spree, going 3-for-3 from long range. Only three players scored off the bench, though. Selden had 11, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 8 and Cristiano Felicio 5.
The Bulls (13-42) spent some time using a lineup with Selden as a third guard, with Markkanen at center and Porter at power forward.
"He's smart. He knows if he rebounds, it gets him into the game, so he's trying to get every rebound he can," Boylen said of Markkanen. "Then he's settling less, he's driving the ball more. I thought his aggressiveness was encouraging."
Porter had to catch a commercial flight to New York City on Thursday night after completing his physical. Boylen chose not to hold a shootaround on Friday morning, so Porter was playing on instincts for the most part. He hit a big 3-pointer with 4:25 left in the game after getting an offensive rebound and it put the Bulls up by 12.
"He picks things up quickly," Boylen said of Porter. "To me, that's what a pro is. He's a pro. He can step into a situation, has a comfort level, has a confidence. He has instincts, he's been in big games. He's got a great spirit. I knew that when I first met him, his soul and spirit is good. I thought the guys responded to him well."
Brooklyn (29-28) had been 3-0 against the Bulls this season. D'Angelo Russell led the Nets with 23 points. Caris Levert returned Friday from an ugly ankle injury he suffered back in November and scored 11 points off the bench.
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Bulls vs. Washington Wizards, 7 p.m. Saturday at the United Center
TV: WGN • Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Outlook: As fate would have it, the Bulls' first home game after their trade deadline deal is against Washington. So we might see Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker taking on their old team. ... The Wizards still have mild playoff hopes, even after losing All-Star PG John Wall to a torn Achilles. Heading into Friday's home game against Cleveland, they trailed eighth-place Miami by 4 games. ... SG Bradley Beal is the top scorer at 24.9 ppg, followed by veteran SF Trevor Ariza (14.8) and SF Jeff Green (12.6). ... These teams have played once this season and the Bulls won 101-92 Dec. 28 in Washington.
Next: Milwaukee Bucks, 7 p.m. Monday at the United Center
-- Mike McGraw