Bobby Portis

Former Bull Bobby Portis apologizes for hit on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

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USA TODAY

Former Bull Bobby Portis apologizes for hit on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Former Chicago Bull Bobby Portis has a reputation as an extremely physical player. Portis plays with a trademark intensity that endeared him to Bulls faithful over his 221 games as a member of the team. That being said, Portis wants to make sure his aggression isn't confused with being a "dirty player".

In Tuesday's Knicks-Lakers game, which the Knicks lost 117-87 at Staples Center, Portis hit Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the back of the head while trying to contest a layup. Portis was promptly ejected and speculation quickly swirled on Twitter as to whether he was truly going for the ball on the play: 

It was announced on Wednesday that Portis was fined $25,000 for the play. That same day Portis took to Twitter to defend himself. 

He made sure to let NBA fans know that he plays hard and despite how bad the replay might look, his intention was never to hit or harm Caldwell-Pope in any way. Though Portis received a hefty fine, he was not suspended and was in the starting lineup for the Knicks' Wednesday night game against the Jazz. 

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Bobby Portis won't call it a revenge game, but Wendell Carter Jr. still says 'I'm not going to have it'

Bobby Portis won't call it a revenge game, but Wendell Carter Jr. still says 'I'm not going to have it'

Bobby Portis made a strong statement against the Bulls on Oct. 28 with 28 points, including 11 in the final seven minutes of a Knicks win.

If Wendell Carter Jr. can back up his words, it won’t happen again.

“We’re not letting that happen,” Carter said on Monday. “Bobby’s going to come on and want to put on a show. I’m not going to have it. I hope he watches this. I ain’t having that.”


Turns out Portis did watch that. Portis talked to reporters Tuesday at the United Center at shootaround and wasn’t getting sucked into a war of words with his former teammate.

“I saw that video,” Portis said with a smile. “It was kind of funny at the same time. But you know that’s my guy. I was with him when he first came into the league last year. We were best of friends. Me, him and Antonio Blakeney, all of us were like a little trio that we all hung out each and every day off the court and all that. I think it’s kind of cool to see his progression this year. He’s been having a monster year, getting double-doubles every game.”

So Portis elected not to take the bait and talk back to Carter. Even Carter admitted the two are still friends after he made his declaration on Monday.

This isn’t turning into a heated personal rivalry by any stretch and Portis wouldn’t call games against the Bulls “revenge games.” That said, he knows exactly how many times he’s faced the Bulls since he was traded away.

Portis played the Bulls three times with the Wizards after being traded in February. The Bulls-Knicks game earlier this season made it four games against the Bulls. He has three double-doubles and is averaging 18.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in those games.

“I don’t look at it as a revenge game,” Portis said. “I look at it as us as a team trying to come in here and just try to steal one on the road. We need it in the worst way.”

As if Portis didn’t get a bit extra attention against his former team as it was, now eyes will be on Carter and Portis to see how they react after talking through the media.

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Otto Porter Jr. will miss 2nd straight game with sprained left foot

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USA Today

Otto Porter Jr. will miss 2nd straight game with sprained left foot

If the Bulls gain revenge against the Knicks, it will be without Otto Porter Jr. The starting small forward didn't practice Monday and will miss his second straight game Tuesday with his sprained left foot.

The Bulls held Lauri Markkanen out of the contact portions of Monday's practice with a sore oblique muscle, but coach Jim Boylen said that Markkanen will play vs. the Knicks. For the second straight game, Chandler Hutchison will start for Porter.

"He’s got positional size. He loves to rebound," Boylen said of Hutchison. "In our system, if you rebound you can bring it. He had that one turnover when he rebounded and took two dribbles and tried to outlet it. That’s one I’d like to see him keep. Bring it up, make a decision and everyone run with him.

"He’s still working his way back. He missed a lot of games last year and he has missed games this year. I’m very happy with his effort and his energy. Athleticism and positional size are what we need and he brings those things."

The Bulls lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 28. After taking a 98-90 lead on a Markkanen 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 33 seconds to play, the Bulls didn't score again. The Knicks closed the game with a 15-0 run highlighted by two 3-pointers from Bobby Portis, who scored 28 points on 10-for-14 shooting and celebrated often against his former team.

"No words need to be said. We're not letting that happen," Wendell Carter Jr. said. "Bobby is going to want to put on a show. I'm not going to have it. I hope he's watching this. I ain't having it."

Carter then smiled and said he and Portis "are cool." But it's clear the loss still stings the Bulls, who are off to a disappointing 3-7 start.

Boylen continued to focus on the positives. The Bulls have blown three double-digit leads this season, including late leads, and struggled in the second halves of multiple games.

"Our defense is 15th in the league. We’re ninth in defense the last five games. Our shot profile is second in the league. We’re getting the shots we want. We’re No. 1 in the league at getting in the paint. I expect us to break through and shoot the ball better, finish better," Boylen said. "We have an improving basketball team. I have a belief in this group of guys. We’re going to keep working at what we do well. The things we need to clean up is our defensive rebounding, our corner contest and our execution in moments where we’re struggling to score. We can’t stop moving, can’t get stagnant."

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