Bulls’ Zach LaVine Drops 23 in Debut

Zach LaVine

Chicago Bulls star guard Zach LaVine made a solid season debut during the Bulls home opener, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, who walked away with the 128-96 loss.

LaVine scored 23 points, grabbed three rebounds and dropped 4 assists in the game, saying that his knee felt fine following the loss.

“I was excited to go out there and help my team again,” LaVine said, according to ESPN’s Jamal Collier. “I just wish we played better. We all could have done better, especially on the home opener. But learn from your mistakes early, get back on to it. Just happy to be back out there.”

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan and LaVine both reiterated that LaVine’s knee is fine, but the team plans to monitor his workload as the season carries on, especially when the Bulls are faced with back-to-back games.

“There’s nothing wrong with him structurally, he’s fine,” Donovan said prior to the game. “It’s just something that we’ll have to manage. We knew we were going to have to manage that going into the season. We just didn’t know when or what it will look like.”

“You saw it the way he came out, he was explosive,” Donovan said following the loss. “He shot it and moved and he looked fine physically. That was my point, I think, the last couple days with his knee. There’s been, obviously, a lot of talk about it, but the reality is that he’s been cleared to play. We just have to manage him.”

LaVine’s debut wasn’t enough to stave off the Cavs, who were paced by Donovan Mitchell.

“They did a good job of putting the ball in their playmakers hands,” LaVine said. “Donovan [Mitchell] had a good game, but I just think overall they were more physical than us on both ends of the floor. And then we were just playing catch-up.”

LaVine stated that he did not know when he would be able to play in back-to-back games during the regular season, but was happy to be back.

“Obviously you guys know me, I like playing all the time,” LaVine said. “But got to think big picture and what’s most important. We’re going to figure that out as it goes along.”