Zach LaVine was livid on Friday night during the Chicago Bulls’ late 108-107 loss to the Orlando Magic.
After his tough outing, and having to watch the final minutes of that contest from the bench, it’s easy to see why.
Yet LaVine insisted that any feud between him and coach Billy Donovan over the decision to keep him out of the game is behind them.
"I just told him I feel like I've earned the right to go out there and try to play through a bad game," LaVine said Sunday, . "His decision was to try to do the best thing for the team, which I respect. If we won, obviously, I would've been ecstatic. We lost, I wasn't. I had a terrible game.
"But it's one game, man. I don't want to get this blown out of proportion to the point we're talking about a loss, where we've had multiple losses this year. We got a lot of games left this year. We're all good. I think he understands where I'm coming from and I understand his decision as a coach that he has to make are tough, even if your players don't agree with it."
LaVine finished with just four points and shot a brutal 1-of-14 in Friday’s loss at the United Center. He went 0-of-5 from behind the arc, too. It marked his lowest scoring game since March 2018.
So, when the Bulls rallied out of a near-20 point hole late in the game, Donovan opted to keep LaVine on the bench. His second unit was working, clearly, and LaVine was having one of the worst games of his career.
That led to a heated conversation between the two after the game. LaVine made it clear where he was at when speaking to reporters that night, too, saying that “you play a guy like me down the stretch.”
"Anytime you're in a very, very competitive environment, there's always going to be frustrations or disappointments or people are going to get upset," Donovan said, . "But I always feel like I can say anything to Zach and I think he can say anything to me."
The Bulls have lost four straight heading into Monday’s matchup with the Boston Celtics, and are now 6-10 on the season. LaVine, who agreed to a five-year, $215 million extension this summer, is averaging 20.7 points and four assists so far this season.
While it led to a tense moment between the two, LaVine will be back out on the court on Monday. And, if anything, Donovan said he was happy with LaVine’s eagerness to play through his awful night.
"I totally get his competitiveness and his wanting to win and be out there," Donovan said, . "He should. I think all great players want to be able to do that.
"I felt in that moment in time it was best for the team. And I think he knows that I'll always try to put the team first and do what's best for the team. I also respect him from the standpoint, his opinion, he thought he needed to be out there, that was best for the team."