Porter scores career-high 37, Bulls snap home losing streak
There has been an odd storyline trailing Otto Porter Jr. since he arrived in Chicago.
Before playing his first game as a Bull at the United Center last weekend, his old coach in Washington, Scott Brooks, told reporters he always wanted Porter to shoot more when he played for the Wizards. Brooks also said he finally found an idea that worked, but refused to share.
Twice, Porter has been asked about Brooks' comment, and both times his response was virtual silence, as if he refused to acknowledge such an issue ever existed.
It's irrelevant now, since Porter has happily accepted his green light to shoot at will for the Bulls. So far, he's been incredibly accurate in a new uniform.
Porter scored a career-high 37 points while hitting 16 of 20 shots from the field Wednesday in the Bulls' 122-110 victory over Memphis at the United Center.
The Bulls finally snapped a franchise-record 11-game home losing streak. This was their first victory at the United Center since Dec. 21 against Orlando.
"Practice yesterday helped a lot," Porter said. "I got a better feel for everybody. Coming into this game, we knew what type of team we wanted to be and how aggressive we want to be. I wanted to be very aggressive early, getting to my spots, taking my time."
Porter took a variety of shots, 5 from 3-point range, and just 2 free throws. He scored on the break, scored off the dribble. In Washington, he was essentially the third option after Bradley Beal and John Wall. With the Bulls, the options are up for grabs.
"It's totally different," Porter said. "I'm still figuring everything out. Playing with two all-stars is definitely different because they get so much attention from defenses. When I bring my talent here, I'm just trying to help as much as I can."
Lauri Markkanen finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth straight double-double. Robin Lopez scored a season-high 25 points and Zach LaVine had an efficient night with 15 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
The Bulls played without point guard Kris Dunn, who sat out with a sore back, the result of a hard foul Monday against Milwaukee. Ryan Arcidiacono started in Dunn's place and produced a career-high 11 assists.
"I liked our vibe," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. "Had guys talk on the bench about, 'Let's run this for this guy. Let's run that for that guy. Let's get him going.' We're starting to get a little bit of that looking out for each other, trying to help each other, trying to get each other going.
"Obviously, Otto had a big night, thought he took good shots, got in a nice rhythm, had the ball in his hands. His versatility I thought really showed."
Since joining the Bulls in the trade for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker, Porter has knocked down 11 of 19 attempts from 3-point range.
He's quiet in front of reporters, but Boylen likes how Porter has been vocal around the team, whether it's on the court, in the locker room or during time outs.
"He can guard one through five, he communicates early and often, loud and clear. He sees things coming, he talks in the huddle," Boylen said. "He's obviously been a big addition in a lot of ways and a lot of areas."