With uncertainty building, Bulls need guard Coby White to figure it out

The Bulls’ bench will be key in the playoffs, but it also might be needed in the last four regular-season games with players such as Alex Caruso and Zach LaVine limping to the finish line. That starts with White.

SHARE With uncertainty building, Bulls need guard Coby White to figure it out
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With only four games left in the regular season, it would have been nice for the Bulls to come out of their loss Saturday to the Heat with some certainty.

That wasn’t the case.

Guard Alex Caruso’s back issues only worsened, with coach Billy Donovan saying he had ‘‘a problem.’’ That was evident by Caruso playing only 22 minutes.

Guard Zach LaVine half-kidded that it would be nice for him to get a few games off this week, especially with the soreness in his left knee coming and going from day to day.

And then there’s forward DeMar DeRozan, who hasn’t played this many minutes in a season since he was a 24-year-old with the Raptors.

Of course, all that was on top of the Bulls falling to 1-12 against the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, with the playoffs right around the corner.

That’s why getting some consistency from their bench — and specifically from guard Coby White — will be important for the Bulls in the last four games of the regular season and into the playoffs.

White’s latest shooting slump couldn’t have come at a worse time. In his last 10 games, White is averaging 8.4 points and is shooting 23.5% from three-point range. Before the All-Star break, White was making more than 40% of his three-pointers.

His latest rut included an 0-for-7 showing against the Heat, despite getting open look after open look with the Heat double-teaming LaVine and DeRozan frequently.

So what gives? Donovan and White weren’t really sure, but both said only White can get himself out of it.

‘‘I haven’t been shooting the ball well from three,’’ White said. ‘‘For me, it’s just continuing to shoot. It doesn’t matter if I go zero-for-10, if I go zero-for-11. The bad thing would be if I stopped shooting, if I stopped taking the open shot.

‘‘My teammates tell me to keep shooting. I cannot change it. I put in a lot of time and effort to this game. I believe in myself and have confidence, regardless of what other people say or think. I got some clean looks that didn’t fall. Honestly, [Saturday] was one of the more cleaner looks I got all year. I love those shots for me. I know my team loved those shots for me, so I’m going to keep shooting.’’

White didn’t get any resistance about such thinking from LaVine.

‘‘I think Coby shot the right shots; he just missed,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘It’s tough to get in rhythm sometimes when rotations switch up. I think he’ll be OK. He’s tough. He’s dealt with missing shots before, being in a weird situation with rotations. He’ll take it in stride.’’

Donovan wants White to stop carrying his poor shooting to the other aspects of his game. He’s not the only player guilty of that, but he had four assists or fewer in 11 of his 15 games in March.

Yes, he’s no longer playing point guard as often as he once did, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t passes for him to make.

‘‘If he’s not making shots, there are other things in his game that he can do,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘He can get into the teeth of the defense. He can pass. He can make some plays. He can get downhill. . . . There’s more to Coby than him just making the three-point shot.’’

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