Bulls’ Zach LaVine OK after ‘scary one’
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Zach LaVine said he felt fine after a slight groin injury sent him to the bench late in the third quarter Sunday.
LaVine stretched his right leg on the sideline and spoke with trainers before returning to the court with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter. He said afterward that the injury was not serious.
“I’m all good,” LaVine said. “I just wanted to be careful.”
Boylen spoke with LaVine as he grimaced near the front of the Bulls’ bench. LaVine, 23, has been saddled with injuries throughout his career but has played in 34 of 40 games this season.
“He wasn’t sure if he got hit in the groin or if maybe he strained his groin,” Boylen said. “It was a strange play for him. He wasn’t sure, he was still fearful of pulled things and he was in pain and wasn’t sure. He shook it off, and he seemed to be OK after that. It was a scary one.”
LaVine’s 23.6 points per game lead the Bulls. He is averaging 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
Wayne Selden Jr. was active and made his Bulls debut three days after the team acquired him from the Grizzlies as part of a deal that sent Justin Holiday to Memphis.
The third-year guard out of Kansas entered late in the fourth quarter and scored one point in 3:19. He missed his lone three-point shot and made one of two free throws.
Selden averaged 5.4 points in 32 games off the bench for the Grizzlies.
“I like his size,” Boylen said. “I like his ability to shoot the ball. I just like a big, tough wing, and I think he can be that for us.
“I talked to him about making sure his conditioning is where it needs to be. It’s something he’s going to focus on and we’re going to focus on. In the trade, in the transition, in the limited minutes he has there, that’s something that we’re both concerned about and that I could talk with him about.”
Speaking of fitness
Boylen has made conditioning a priority since taking over for Fred Hoiberg in early December. He said he has noticed a difference in his players’ strength and stamina during the last month.
“I have,” Boylen said. “Our downhill drives are up; our paint drives are up; we’re getting to the paint more. To me, that’s conditioning, that’s playing with force.
“I think we’ve had some terrific second-half defensive efforts, which to me is conditioning. I also feel sometimes when you make shots, is that fresh legs or is that just making shots? Who knows? But I think when you’re stronger, the game is easier for you. When you’re not worried about breathing, the game is easier for you.”
By the numbers
The Bulls scored 62 points in the paint, which matched their second-highest total this season.
† Lauri Markkanen made a three-pointer for the 26th game in a row.
† Shaq Harrison grabbed a career-high eight rebounds.