LaVine, Bulls look to take charge vs. Spurs

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Chicago guard Zach LaVine will look to continue his hot streak when the Bulls host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

LaVine is coming off a game in which he had 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a 118-106 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. He made 16 of 30 shots from the field and 5 of 12 from beyond the arc.

Chicago (18-30) has won two of its past three games and four of seven thanks largely to LaVine’s leadership. He is first on the team in scoring with an average of 25.3 points a game this season, and he has helped the Bulls compete despite the injury absences of several players, such as Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle), Otto Porter Jr. (foot) and Daniel Gafford (thumb).

“I mean, with the team, we’re working every day,” LaVine told reporters recently. “I think we’re disappointed that we haven’t won as many games as we thought, but there’s still a lot of season left.

“I can understand why fans are mad — they want to win every season. We’re building to get to that point, but all you can do is just look forward to the next game and try to win that next game.”

The next game is against San Antonio, which will play on short rest after losing 110-106 at home against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon. The game included an emotional start as both teams drew 24-second violations as a tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash earlier in the day.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich applauded along with his players after both teams’ 24-second violations.

“Everybody is pretty emotional about the tragedy with Kobe,” Popovich told reporters. “All of us know what a great player he was, but he went beyond great playing. He was a competitor that goes unmatched. It’s what made him as a player so attractive to everybody — that focus, that competitiveness, that will to win. And even more importantly than that, we all feel a deep sense of loss for what he meant to all of us in so many ways.”

Popovich, like Bryant, is an intense competitor and a multiple NBA champion. He will make his only trip of the season to Chicago, which is near where he was born (East Chicago, Ind.) and where he attended high school (Merrillville, Ind.).

The Spurs’ top scorer is DeMar DeRozan, who is averaging 22.4 points per game in his second season in San Antonio. He is coming off an up-and-down game in which he shot only 4 of 9 from the field against the Raptors but finished with 14 points, which was tied with Derrick White for the team lead.

–Field Level Media

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