Former Bulls Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis get last laugh in Wizards’ win
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It wasn’t like the Bulls didn’t know what was coming.
Since being traded to the Wizards on Wednesday, Bobby Portis has been taking social-media shots at his former organization whenever possible, and he even warned Bulls guard Zach LaVine that his new team was coming to the United Center on Saturday for a business trip.
Then, before the game, Jabari Parker blamed Bulls coach Jim Boylen for their souring relationship.
“I’ve been there many times, and you talk about it’s just another game, but it’s not another game,’’ Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We know that. We understand that.’’
Glad to see someone did.
Yes, Bradley Beal was the best player on the floor, scoring a game-high 31 points in the Wizards’ 134-125 victory. But the night was all about the two former Bulls and their homecoming.
Former Simeon star Parker turned the game into a personal dunkfest and totaled 20 points and six assists. Meanwhile, Portis struggled from the field, shooting just 4-for-11, but he grabbed 12 rebounds and gave the Bulls’ bench quite a few glares.
What really seemed to tweak Portis was vice president of basketball operations John Paxson’s explanation for why the deal was made for small forward Otto Porter Jr.
“Is [Porter] making a lot of money? Of course, he is,’’ Paxson said. “A lot of players in our league are making a lot of money, and it does take away some of that cap space, but we also felt that we tried to re-sign Bobby this past offseason. We made him an offer that he turned down, which is his right.
“As we evaluate our team, we looked at having Lauri Markkanen as our starting four, Wendell Carter as our starting five for hopefully many, many years. To invest a lot of money right now at this time, as much as we love Bobby, in a position that was going to be a backup for us, when we knew we could get a starting small forward, that made more sense to us than anything.’’
That prompted Portis to tweet “LOL.’’ After the game, he explained his disappointment with the move.
“Everybody knows how much pride I had playing for the Bulls, pride playing for the city of Chicago,’’ Portis said. “Obviously, I got my first taste of the business side of basketball. You don’t really get your way all the time.
“I was hurt the last 48 hours, but when I got into the game [Friday], those emotions went away. I took it really tough, didn’t see it coming. Never thought I would get traded. I’m with an organization now where they really like me.’’
Meanwhile, Porter scored 17 points against his former team, but it almost felt like an afterthought.
Robin Lopez had a few shoving moments, including one that led to a flagrant-1, but the physicality of the Wizards took center stage, specifically Portis in the paint and Parker taking it to the rim.
That’s what Boylen should have been disappointed about most.
Games in February for a 13-win team usually don’t elicit much emotion. This one should have, and the Bulls barely showed a pulse, losing a franchise-record 10th consecutive home game.
“I would really not like to make it about those two guys coming back,’’ Boylen said. “It’s really about us, and us being consistent.’’