DeMar DeRozan re-aggravates quad injury in lopsided Bulls' loss

·4 min read

DeRozan re-aggravates quad injury in bad Bulls' loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

DeMar DeRozan re-aggravated a right quad injury in the Chicago Bulls' 116-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night at the United Center, exiting with 7 minutes, 48 seconds left in the third quarter after missing all seven shots and producing the fewest points since he came to Chicago with four.

DeRozan also drew a flagrant-one foul and technical foul on the same play early in the second quarter, unleashing frustration by blasting through a Paul Reed screen and arguing with officials after not getting a call when P.J. Tucker bumped him at the other end on the possession before the Reed play.

DeRozan's situation seemed symbolic for a night where the Bulls trailed 17-0 and 21-1, prompting coach Billy Donovan to burn two early timeouts. Sarcastic cheers greeted the Bulls' first point, a Zach LaVine free throw. The Bulls didn't score a field goal until Nikola Vucevic threw down a dunk with 6:34 left in the first quarter. The Bulls missed their first seven shots.

Joel Embiid rested the entire second half for the 76ers, who also played without James Harden and set the tone for the night on the first two possessions. Tucker rebounded Tobias Harris' missed 3-pointer and fed De'Anthony Melton, who promptly buried a 3-pointer. Patrick Williams then committed a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass, and Harris' layup made it 5-0 just 35 seconds after the opening tipoff.

"The first possession, we turned it over on a made basket. I think we missed a couple loose-ball rebounds that you have to be able to come down with," Donovan said. "I didn't think from a rotation standpoint we were as good or as on point as we were in Philly."

Indeed, the Bulls had snapped the 76ers' eight-game win streak with an inspired effort on Monday night. Donovan said after Wednesday's loss that he equated the opportunity to when the Bulls stole Game 2 from the Milwaukee Bucks in last season's first-round playoff series, reminding his team of how the Bucks responded with three straight victories as a warning for the 76ers' potential response.

Instead, the Bulls dropped to 0-5 in their attempts this season to post their first four-game win streak, trailing by as many as 31. The night served as yet another maddening example of the Bulls coming up flat and taking a step backwards after seemingly turning a corner and making progress.

Their lead for the 10th seed in the play-in race dropped a game to 1-1/2 over the Indiana Pacers.

"Yeah," Vucevic said, when asked if he thought nights like Wednesday were behind the Bulls. "I think it was one of those games where not a whole lot is going your way. They got really hot. It's one of those games you flush and move on. You want to learn from it and you don't want these games to happen. But sometimes they do."

The Bulls begin a three-game trip on Friday in Portland. DeRozan walked without a limp in the postgame locker room but didn't speak to reporters. He missed five games with this injury in January and February. And while Vucevic and LaVine both said DeRozan told them he'd be fine and didn't think the injury was serious, it's another lingering ache and pain that will need to be addressed.

"I'm always concerned because he's been dealing with it, but I haven't gotten anything that's indicated he's going to be out any length of time," Donovan said. "But I think when you have a recurring thing that he's been having to manage and deal with, it's like Alex (Caruso). Listen, most guys aren't totally healthy this time of year. But they're healthy enough to go on the court and perform and work through it. I think for Alex and DeMar, they're at a place right now where they physically can't perform like they want to or need to for us."

Caruso is experiencing a similar lingering situation with his left mid-foot soreness. He warmed up with the intention of playing but experienced some discomfort and sat. The team chose to exercise caution with the upcoming three-game trip.

"We'll have to move past this, but just the pop of it, for whatever reason, wasn't where it needed to be to compete and beat a team like that," Donovan said.

Donovan also drew a technical foul sticking up for Ayo Dosunmu, who appeared to draw contact on a second-quarter drive. The entire night left the Bulls in a foul mood.

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