The Chicago Bulls held their first postseason practice today in advance of Sunday’s Game 1 in Milwaukee.
According to the lovely folks in attendance (sidenote: shoutout to all the beat reporters who have been killing it all season long; I know it’s a tiring gig, but it’s appreciated), head coach Billy Donovan said he ran things similar to offseason training camp. Not only did the group scrimmage, but they also ran through contact work.
Bulls had a “training camp” type practice with scrimmaging and contact, per Billy Donovan. Everyone participated but Matt Thomas.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 12, 2022
Donovan also shared that both Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso participated in full. Considering LaVine has been dealing with his nagging knee injury and Caruso has missed recent time with a back problem, it’s encouraging to hear that both were strong enough to participate in the team’s first major step in playoff preparation.
The news about Caruso, in particular, came as a pleasant surprise. The Bulls sat their best defensive-stopper in the final three games of the regular season, and Donovan told NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer that this is now the “best he’s felt” since first experiencing back spasms.
— Mike McGraw (@McGrawDHSports) April 12, 2022
Billy Donovan says Alex Caruso participated in scrimmages today.
Here’s Caruso getting some shots up after practice: pic.twitter.com/sbFJL8WL0k
— Julia Poe (@byjuliapoe) April 12, 2022
Neither LaVine nor Caruso was expected to miss any playoff action, but it’s still good to know both were able to work normally with the rest of the group on the first day of practice.
I also love the fact that Donovan chose to go with a training camp-like atmosphere to start off the week. After quite the dismal end to the regular season, there is no question this group could benefit from a hard practice or two that re-establishes the fundamentals. The team lost almost all semblance of its two-way identity after the All-Star break, and the once-promising offensive chemistry quickly turned to a mind-boggling mess of ISO ball and ice-cold shooting stretches. The extra work put in during the offseason and training camp is what many in this group attributed their early-season success to, so let’s hope the work put in today can help re-ignite that flame.