Alex Caruso Doubles Down on Zach LaVine Comments

LaVine Caruso

The Bulls are in the midst of a four-game winning streak and they’re doing it without one of their stars, Zach LaVine, but the team isn’t willing to admit the two are linked.

“It’s hard to replace the talent that Zach has on the court with one person,” Chicago guard Alex Caruso said. “We’ve done a good job of playing by committee. It’s also a different look when [LaVine’s] not out there compared to when he is, but I’ve played in plenty of games with him now, nearly 2½ years, and when he’s locked in and playing good, we’re a really good basketball team.”

Caruso said something similar after the Bulls won their first game without LaVine and DeMar DeRozan this season.

“Those two guys are great players,” Caruso said on November 30. “When they’re locked in, we’re a good team.”

Head coach Billy Donovan also refused to admit his team minus LaVine may be one that’s better off.

“When there’s anything of substance or anything Arturas feels like he wants to talk to me about, he’s talked to me about it,” Donovan said. “This is the one point so far this season where we’ve had a high-minute volume guy out for an extended period of time, but I just don’t look at it that way. I look at it as, ‘Here’s the group we have, who we’re going out to play with.’ And it’s kind of like the next guy has to step up and fill in for the guy that’s missing.’’

He also wasn’t open to the idea that the young players have more freedom to take shots while LaVine’s not on the court.

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“I’ve never heard Coby, Patrick, Ayo, Dalen [Terry] or Julian [Phillips] say, ‘I’m always looking for [LaVine, DeMar DeRozan or Nikola Vucevic]. I feel like I have to throw them the ball,’ ’’ Donovan said. “Maybe when one of those [three] guys is out they feel like, ‘I’ve got to step up more; I’ve got to be more aggressive.’ ’’

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