For at least one more game, the open competition didn’t produce a new starting point guard.
After two hard days of practice following Saturday’s noncompetitive loss and a day off Sunday, coach Fred Hoiberg revealed Jerian Grant will remain ahead of Kris Dunn in the rotation against the Heat on Wednesday in Miami.
“I have to play better,” Grant said. “I’m not playing the way I need to play. I want to show these guys I’m the guy who can hold down this spot.”
Grant couldn’t last season, losing the job both, somewhat unfairly, in the regular season and in the playoffs, when his inconsistent play caused the Bulls to turn to seldom-used Isaiah Canaan.
Grant shot 0-for-7 with four assists against the Thunder, missing all six 3-point attempts. He’s 1-for-16 for a .063 3-point percentage.
“I feel like (the coaches) know I can make shots,” Grant said. “I’m getting good looks and they’re going to go in. When they do, they’re going to elevate my game and my team’s game. As far as getting guys involved, defense and trying to rebound a little bit more, I think I’ve been all right.”
Hoiberg said Dunn’s minutes could increase from the 22 he played in his season debut Saturday, depending on the flow of the game. The coach also revealed he tried some dual point-guard lineups featuring Kay Felder, who had played well before getting just mop-up minutes Saturday.
“Right now, with us struggling to get into the paint, having a couple of ball-handlers out there is something we might look at,” Hoiberg said.
Heat is on: The Heat are scoring points in bunches but also allowing them since defensive force Hassan Whiteside has missed the last five games with a bone bruise in his knee.
Guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters are leading the way, averaging 19.8 and 16.5 points respectively.
“They’re both very good at getting downhill and getting into the paint. They’re really good in transition,” Hoiberg said. “Dragic is playing extremely fast. He’s a left-handed guy who is really hard to keep from going left … and he makes plays for his teammates. Waiters was unbelievable in (Monday’s) overtime loss to Minnesota. He’s playing with a high level of confidence.”
Former Bull James Johnson plays power forward in a small lineup, which Hoiberg said poses another intriguing defensive test for rookie Lauri Markkanen.
Center of attention: Whiteside led the NBA in rebounding and finished fourth in blocks last season. Coach Erik Spoelstra offered a vague update on his availability against the Bulls.
“He’s as dominant a center as there is in the game today. He’s just so good at protecting the rim. He erases mistakes,” Hoiberg said. “He’s a great finisher and added a mid-range game to his game. He poses a lot of problems.”