Bulls loss to 76ers means no All-Star Game for coach Billy Donovan
Coach Billy Donovan’s schedule for All-Star Weekend has just been cleared up.
Thanks to the Heat’s win on Saturday and the Bulls’ 119-108 loss to the 76ers on Sunday, Donovan is no longer in line to coach the Eastern Conference in the Feb. 20 All-Star Game. That honor will now go to Heat coach Erik. Spoelstra.
“It definitely does now,” Donovan said with a laugh after the game when he was reminded he had the weekend off. ”It’s over and over.”
Concerns about this shorthanded Bulls team are far from over, however.
The Bulls were again without Zach LaVine (back) and Coby White (groin), in addition to the four players – Lonzo Ball (knee surgery), Alex Caruso (wrist surgery), Derrick Jones Jr. (broken finger) and Patrick Williams (wrist surgery) – who have been out for a while.
Not that the 76ers were overly impressed with the person the Bulls deployed against them this season. The 76ers are 3-0 in the series this season so far, and this game allowed them to exploit some of the Bulls’ weaknesses.
The 76ers outshot the Bulls from three points, going 12-for-24 (50%) to 7-for-26 (26.9%), and were more physical, especially in the high pick-and-roll game.
To the Bulls’ credit, they handled that set better in the second half. But it still exposed the lack of options they can offer a player like 76ers center Joel Embiid, who finished with 40 points and 10 rebounds.
“I think we have to set the tone rather than letting them strike first,” Bulls forward Javonte Green said of the mentality that was lacking early on. “We made that adjustment at half-time, and I feel like he improved in the second half.”
It wasn’t enough for Donovan and his team to travel to Cleveland for All-Star Weekend, but don’t blame forward DeMar DeRozan for that.
All he did was remind his teammates what was at stake for Donovan before the game, then go out and score a season-high 45 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists.
“I knew about it,” DeRozan said when asked if he knew what might be at stake for his coaches. “I told the guys about it. It would have been special; these guys deserved it.
”I said to Billy [near] the end of the game that I was going to try and do my best to get that game for him because I would have liked to see those guys get that opportunity. These opportunities don’t come around often. We did not succeed. It sucks, but we just have to keep pushing.
And push with this group of players.
DeRozan has made it clear that he doesn’t want the front office to go out and add players at the trade deadline. Even on the day Central Division rival the Cavaliers came out and acquired Caris LeVert from the Pacers, DeRozan sought to remain patient and patient with the Bulls’ injured players.
“We miss Lonzo Ball, one of the best point guards in the league,” DeRozan said. ”Alex Caruso, one of the best defenders in this league. Patrick Williams, one of the young stars of this league. We didn’t have those guys. And they will come back. We don’t need to worry or stress about not having anyone else. Those three, I guarantee every team in this NBA would have liked to have had those three guys. We’ll be fine.”
When asked directly if he wanted the front office to hang out, DeRozan replied, “Yeah. Only [the media] talk about that. We don’t talk about it.”