Bulls big man Bobby Portis said Kevin Durant purposely tried to injure him
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SALT LAKE CITY — Bobby Portis was angry with NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant on Friday night, and 24 hours later his feelings toward the Warriors forward hadn’t subsided.
Not because of the fourth-quarter meltdown by the Bulls (10-33) in the 110-102 loss to the Jazz, but because he was unable to be a part of it.
During the blowout loss to Golden State on Friday night, Portis set a screen for Kris Dunn, and Portis felt that Durant grabbed his right arm and pulled it back on purpose, with an intent to injure. Portis said the elbow area went numb, and after he sat on the bench for a few seconds to collect himself, he verbally confronted Durant.
Coach Jim Boylen tried to squash the incident on Saturday, saying he didn’t think it was malicious. Portis had his own opinion.
“Yeah, that wasn’t inadvertent,’’ Portis said. “If I would have done that I would have got a foul call on me, defensive foul. I guess it’s just who you’re playing against. Everything is officiated different toward whoever it is, but if you look back at the video at the time, it was obvious.’’
Portis did attempt to warm up before the game and wanted to give it a go, but the training staff shut him down.
That seemed to anger Portis even more, especially when he was asked if Durant attempted to apologize.
“Ain’t no apologies in basketball,’’ Portis said. “Nobody feels sorry for nobody. That’s how it goes.’’
Portis added that he feels officials treat him differently because of his practice altercation with former teammate Nikola Mirotic before last season.
“I have that negative put on me like I’m a bad guy,’’ Portis said. “Obviously, everything is officiated differently towards me. You don’t care about that but it’s just what I made it cause of that incident last year. Everybody thinks I’m this bad guy when really I’m a really good dude. Image is everything, and I guess that’s what my image is.
“I expected it. I always play with an edge, play hard, kind of make these facial expressions to make it seem like I was mad all the time on the court, so obviously there’s going to be some carryover at one point when I started playing a lot, but it’s something I couldn’t control. It’s just who I am, play hard on the court, bring an edge. I really can’t control the facial features I play with. It just happens. It’s kind of a gift and a curse.’’
That intensity was missed, especially late, as the Bulls’ bench kept them in the game all night, only to see the starting group enter the game with 7:03 left with a three-point deficit. Utah went on a 13-3 run over the next five minutes.
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Still a vacancy
Portis said the players still have not filled the vacancy on the leadership committee because they are waiting to see who remains.
That spot opened when Justin Holiday was traded to the Grizzlies last week.
Members on the committee, meant to act as a liaison between Boylen and the players, are Portis, Robin Lopez, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
Dunn was considered a leading candidate, but he doesn’t seem to concern himself with anything other than playing basketball, so it’s still up in the air.