Porter, Williams sit out with injuries
Turns out, the Bulls have a decent amount of depth on the roster.
They were without two players due to injury Monday -- Otto Porter missed his second game in eight days because of back spasms and rookie Patrick Williams was a late scratch with a hip injury.
This was in addition to already missing Chandler Hutchison and Tomas Satoransky, both recovering from the coronavirus. It's possible those two players could be ready to return this weekend when the Bulls face Charlotte and the Lakers.
Garrett Temple started at small forward Monday against Houston, while coach Billy Donovan brought Thad Young, Daniel Gafford, Ryan Arcidiacono and Denzel Valentine off the bench in the first quarter.
Before the game, Donovan talked about Porter's health. Since arriving in a trade from Washington on Feb. 6, 2019, he's played in just 38 percent of possible games (41 of 107).
"There's not any flare-up or anything like that," Donovan said. "But we just wanted to be a little cautious with him certainly with the number of minutes he has absorbed on the road trip.
"I think we have to be really, really mindful of keeping him healthy. Back-to-backs could be situations for him that could be really challenging physically until he really gets his legs under him and back into a groove."
The Bulls saw Victor Oladipo in the second game of the season on Dec. 26 when he played for Indiana. He was back at the United Center to make his Houston Rockets debut on Monday.
"I'm blessed and fortunate to be here in Houston," he said. Sunday "There's a purpose and a reason why I'm here. I came here to win, and I came here to win a lot and at an elite level. I'm looking forward to showing everybody that."
How long he'll stay in Houston remains to be seen. He'll be a free agent after the season, which is probably the main reason the Pacers were willing to trade him for Caris Levert as part of the deal sending James Harden to Brooklyn. Levert will be sidelined indefinitely after a kidney issue was discovered during his post-trade physical.
Vets settle Bulls:
Getting more veterans in the lineup has been a vital part of the Bulls' improvement so far this season. Garrett Temple said he, Thad Young and Otto Porter take their roles as mentors seriously.
"No question," he said. "(Coach) Billy (Donovan) actually pulled us three aside during practice and talked about us being able to be the guys who can go on the court and settle down the team. We have such a young starting lineup. But we have so much talent.
"Off the court, whether it being in the huddles or on the plane ride -- I watched film with the guys from the OKC game. Me, Zach (LaVine), Pat (Williams), Wendell (Carter) watching film, talking about different things that we can change. And then in the huddles, Thad is really vocal, myself, Otto. Just continuing to teach as much as we can. Not be overbearing but we let guys know what we see."