Zach LaVine admitted that he wasn't happy about being benched late in the game versus the Orlando Magic. On Friday night, LaVine was struggling as he shot just 1-of-14 before Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan decided to bench him for the final 3:43.
In the end, benching LaVine didn't really help since the Bulls suffered a 108-107 loss after Magic guard Jalen Suggs hit a game-winning three-pointer. LaVine, who signed a five-year, $215 million deal this summer to stay with the Bulls, suggested that he's paid to play when it matters the most.
"I got to do a better job at the beginning of the game to make my shots, but you play a guy like me down the stretch. That's what I do. Do I like the decision? No. Do I have to live with it? Yeah. Be ready to put my shoes on and play the next game," LaVine said, as quoted on ESPN.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan on benching Zach LaVine
When Donovan was asked about benching LaVine, he simply explained that he did he felt was the best considering the night LaVine was having. "I feel like my job, my responsibility in those moments is to try to make the best decisions for the team.
And I thought that was the best decision at the time. To me, I don't look at it as anything else but the one-off game where this is what was going on. I know he wanted to be out there. There's probably not very many games in his career where [LaVine] hasn't been out there in those moments, but that group was playing well and it gave us a chance," Donovan explained.
When LaVine was asked if he would have a conversation with Donovan, he indicated he was planning to ask his coach a few questions. "Just ask him what his decision was, what made him think that way. Obviously, he wanted to go with some other guys out there, I wasn't having the best night shooting, but it's a tough one," LaVine added.
Also, LaVine noted he is a type of player that can quickly get going. "I've missed a lot of shots, but I've had a lot of games where I've played terribly and in four, five minutes put up 15, 16 points. I just wasn't able to shoot the next shot," LaVine said.