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Bulls’ Zach LaVine set to miss Game 5 due to covid-19 protocols

With elimination seemingly imminent, the Bulls definitely didn’t need lose their star as they head to Milwaukee for Game 5.

Paul Rudder
Bulls’ Zach LaVine set to miss Game 5 against Bucks due to covid-19 protocols
Icon SportswireGetty

If things weren’t already going bad for the Bulls, they are unfortunately about to get worse.

Bulls’ Zach LaVine to miss Game 5 due to covid-19

The Bulls just have just come from two brutal back to back losses against the Milwaukee Bucks and in reality are more than likely on their way out of the playoffs. Unfortunately, as we often see when it rains it pours. According to an announcement from the Bulls on Tuesday, the team is now set to face what could be their final game in the playoffs i.e. elimination without their star player Zach LaVine, who has now entered the league’s covid-19 health and safety protocols. With that, it’s all but certain that LaVine will be absent when Game 5 in Milwaukee tips off. As if for good measure, the Bulls will also likely be without Alex Caruso - another key player - who is currently in concussion protocol.

At 3-1 down in the series, the chances of the Bulls advancing were already slim but with LaVine now set to be sidelined, things look extremely bleak as they take on the defending NBA champions. Incidentally, LaVine’s diagnosis comes just after two Bulls assistant coaches entered covid-19 protocols at the start of the series. It is understood that neither coach traveled with the team to Milwaukee, and were actually cleared from protocols ahead of Game 3 back in Chicago, however, here we are.

Zach LaVine had problems with covid-19 before

While unfortunate, this is actually LaVine’s third time in covid-19 protocols. The first was back in April 2021 and then came his second bout with the virus in December, when there was in fact a league-wide outbreak. The Bulls for their part are still maintaining a small degree of hope that LaVine can play in Game 5, which indeed he could if his follow up tests come back negative. That being said if their star guard is unable to do so and they go on to be eliminated by the Bucks, it will bring a close to what appeared to be a promising first foray into the post season for LaVine.

What were Zach LaVine’s numbers like?

With an average of 19.3 ppg across the series, the star guard was certainly turning in credible performances, but when you consider that he average five more points per game during the regular season, questions are raised. Truth be told LaVine was simply not as effective against the Bucks. Some will argue that he has struggled at varying times with a knee injury that wouldn’t seem to go away, which might explain the lack of aggression that has been witnessed in the playoffs. On the other hand the Milwaukee - the reigning NBA champions - must be given credit. As he now approaches free agency, could this disappointing end to his team’s post season be his last outing with them?

Where do the Chicago Bulls go from here?

Though the Bulls have their backs against the wall and with or without LaVine - barring a significant turning of the tables - will likely be eliminated by the Bucks, it should be said that this is a sign of progress for the franchise. Indeed, 2017 was the last time Chicago made it to the post season and quite frankly, looked the part in the earlier stages of the regular season. It was only when injuries were sustained by key players like Lonzo Ball - still absent - along with the previously mentioned Caruso and Patrick Williams, that the Bulls saw the standard of their performances drop. In fairness the Bulls have actually faced a number of problems this season such that this latest one can perhaps be considered a testament to their character rather simply another hindrance.


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