Chicago Bulls

Nikola Mirotic has responded to benching with best stretch of season

When Fred Hoiberg benched Nikola Mirotic for the first time in Mirotic’s three-year NBA career, the Bulls coach didn’t know how long it would last.

“It was really by feel,” Hoiberg said.

And he downplays that he did so to light a fire under the then-slumping Mirotic.

“I just felt we needed a change,” Hoiberg said of the two-game trial pairing Bobby Portis with Cristiano Felicio.

Whatever the case, the benching worked. After those two idle games, Mirotic had five straight in which he scored in double figures off the bench before Wednesday night’s 101-99 victory over the Nets in which he had seven points. And he has contributed at both ends of the floor.

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