Before Tuesday’s 108-94 victory over the Cavaliers, coach Bulls Fred Hoiberg said he “would agree” that, barring injury, it would be an upset if Jerian Grant, Justin Holiday, Paul Zipser, Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez didn’t start the Oct. 19 season opener in Toronto.
Injury happened, but fortunately, it doesn’t appear to be serious.
Mirotic sprained his left ankle while rotating to help defensively on LeBron James and didn’t return.
Justin Holiday posted 28 points and 11 rebounds to continue his impressive preseason. Lauri Markkanen scored 15 of his 18 points in the fourth, shooting 7-for-12 with four 3-pointers in 30 minutes.
Mirotic said afterward he rolled his ankle when he stepped on Dwyane Wade’s foot and would have kept playing if it were a regular season game.
Clean break: One day after Mirotic and Bobby Portis defended Wade’s leadership, Wade confirmed he sent supportive texts to Bulls teammates, coaches and executives after he agreed to a buyout and signed with the Cavaliers.
“It meant a lot for me to be there with those guys and I just wanted them to know that,” Wade said. “In this league, change happens fast. It doesn’t always have to be negative when something happens. I didn’t come to Chicago on a negative note. I came there excited to be there and they were excited to have me. And I wanted to leave the same way.”
Wade, who said he would stay in touch with several Bulls, also downplayed the January incident in which he questioned young players’ commitment. The incident drew a fine from management and prompted a team meeting.
“Everyone knows the truth,” Wade said. “We all sat in the locker room and had a great conversation and I apologized for if what I said came off to those guys as being personal. It’s all about trying to build winning habits. That’s what I told the guys. That’s what my frustration was about.
“That was the only mishap we had as a team. I’ve been on teams where we had way more than that. I’ve been in Coach Spo’s (Heat coach Erik Spoelstra) ear, he has been in my ear, it has been on ESPN and it has been everywhere. … And we won a championship. That stuff like that, that’s nothing.”
Dunn dislocation: Hoiberg said Kris Dunn’s Monday visit to a hand specialist confirmed the guard will be sidelined two to four weeks with the open dislocation of his left index finger.
“There were no fragments in there. The ligament is intact,” Hoiberg said. “So the big thing right now is making sure that wound is healed and closes properly. He’s able to work out.”
No hard feelings: Derrick Rose sat courtside with his son at a Bulls-Celtics game at the United Center. When he got shown on the scoreboard, the crowd cheered.
“It was nothing but love,” Rose said. “I’m not bitter about anything. I’m just happy that I’m still hooping and healthy. I’m from Chicago. I understand the grit and grime Chicagoans have to go through every day. And I tried to show that every time I touched the floor: I’m from here. And this is what the city made.”