TORONTO — Zach LaVine can’t win for losing.
On a night an expert defense like the Raptors swarmed him and limited his looks, LaVine didn’t force shots and posted seven assists with just 10 field goal attempts.
And then, with 4 minutes, 26 seconds left and the Bulls down 25, coach Jim Boylen substituted his starters with LaVine stuck on 18 points.
It’s a small thing, to be sure, and neither LaVine nor the Bulls are worried about individual statistics. But LaVine’s career-long streak of 20-point outings ended at 17 games on a night he put the team first.
“I was just trying to play the right way,” LaVine said. “When I got in the pick-and-roll or got by the first defender, they were sending two or three [defenders] in the paint. They know how to take away the first option. They’re going to take the ball out of my hand or show gaps to try to make me force shots.
“Try to kick it to the open teammate. It’s a balance. I thought I created some open shots. But throughout the flow of the game, I guess I could’ve been a little more aggressive.”
LaVine wore a glum look as the final minutes ticked away. The proud player always takes losing hard. Did losing the streak also bother him?
“I was just upset man. It gets frustrating when you lose. I’ve been going through it the last three years here,” he said. “I’m like anybody else. We’re human. You have human reactions and feelings. You’re going to get frustrated.”
Sunday also marked an atypical game for Thaddeus Young. He scored a season-high 21 points along with seven rebounds but drew an uncharacteristic technical foul and also fouled out when Raptors coach Nick Nurse won a coach’s challenge to overturn a call on which Young drew a charge.
“I don’t think I should’ve got a tech. It happens,” Young said. “All I told him was I thought it was a bad call. And I don’t really argue calls. And he gave me a tech. It happens. I tried to move past it.
“You get angry when you feel things are not going your way. You get angry when you feel like it was a bad call or you’re not getting something on one end and it’s on the other. That’s one of those things where throughout the course of the game, it’s a feeling. We have to put our emotions aside and continue to play.
“Me personally, yeah, this is probably one of the games where I was more angry or more mad than usual. Nobody’s perfect.”