Simmons has shown that he can be one of the key players on this Orlando team, and he should continue to produce as long as Ross is out, which is still indefinite at this time. Since Mirotic's return, he has averaged 20 points, 6.2 rebounds and is hitting 50 percent of shots from the 3-point line. Other than that, though, everything is up, over and through the transom of media, coaches or teammates. He produces enough across the stat sheet to provide value. Through the weekend, having played together for 54 minutes, the two had a plus/minus in combination of plus-6.8 points, plus-5.0 in fourth quarters alone.
In between - especially down the stretch - Mirotic was a man on fire.
Out of a timeout, Dario Saric hit a three to make it a two-point game, 117-115, but the Bulls were able to hold on for the close win.
Looking at the success that has come from Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis on the court in the past five games since returning, it may appear the two have moved past their altercation earlier this season. "The evolution of our guys, where we are right now, what I feel in the locker room, what I feel at the practice facility, I'm proud of our guys, and I'm confident in our team, and the way we're trying to steer the program".
Philadelphia scored the first five points of the third quarter to cut the Chicago lead to three, but the Bulls answered with a 7-0 run to go back up by 10, 74-64, with 9:11 left in the quarter. In 37 minutes, Turner did little on offense, and Minnesota shooting guard Jimmy Butler put up 37 points.
Larry Nance Jr. tried to steal Bryant's thunder by providing some of his own. Mirotic has been a terrific Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire add in his time back, but any of the four could be worth owning going forward based on who has the hot hand. Not that there was much doubt about that beforehand. But far more meaningful than the numbers were both the manner in which Mirotic repeatedly came up extra-large and the palpable effect it had on his teammates in the game and on the bench. They talk and communicate as required when they're in the game, and there have been several situational fist bumps out of habit. This is a team, overall, with a 98.3 offensive rating and 107.1 defensive rating prior to facing Philadelphia. That said, his designation was likely a precaution to help him get through the year. Plumlee still has the ability to add some value across the box score, but the limitations on his minutes are just too much for him to garner a starting role in most fantasy leagues.