Por­tis blames Du­rant for scratch

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - SPORTS - BY JOE COWLEY, STAFF RE­PORTER jcow­[email protected]­times.com | @sun­times_hoops

SALT LAKE CITY — Bobby Por­tis was an­gry with NBA Fi­nals MVP Kevin Du­rant on Fri­day night, and 24 hours later his feel­ings to­ward the Warriors for­ward hadn’t sub­sided.

Not be­cause of the fourthquar­ter melt­down by the Bulls in the 110-102 loss to the Jazz, but be­cause he was un­able to be a part of it.

Dur­ing the blowout loss to Golden State on Fri­day night, Por­tis set a screen for Kris Dunn, and Por­tis felt that Du­rant grabbed his right arm and pulled it back on pur­pose, with an in­tent to in­jure. Por­tis said the el­bow area went numb, and af­ter he sat on the bench for a few sec­onds to col­lect him­self, he ver­bally con­fronted Du­rant.

Coach Jim Boylen tried to squash the in­ci­dent Sat­ur­day, say­ing he didn’t think it was ma­li­cious. Por­tis had his own opin­ion.

“Yeah, that wasn’t in­ad­ver­tent,’’ Por­tis said. “If I would have done that I would have got a foul call on me, de­fen­sive foul. I guess it’s just who you’re play­ing against. Ev­ery­thing is of­fi­ci­ated dif­fer­ent to­ward who­ever it is, but if you look back at the video at the time, it was ob­vi­ous.’’

Por­tis did at­tempt to warm up be­fore the game and wanted to give it a go, but the train­ing staff shut him down.

That seemed to anger Por­tis even more, es­pe­cially when he was asked if Du­rant at­tempted to apol­o­gize.

“Ain’t no apolo­gies in bas­ket­ball,’’ Por­tis said. “No­body feels sorry for no­body. That’s how it goes.’’

Por­tis added that he feels of­fi­cials treat him dif­fer­ently be­cause of his prac­tice al­ter­ca­tion with for­mer team­mate Nikola Mirotic be­fore last sea­son.

“I have that neg­a­tive put on me like I’m a bad guy,’’ Por­tis said. “Ob­vi­ously, ev­ery­thing is of­fi­ci­ated dif­fer­ently to­wards me. You don’t care about that but it’s just what I made it cause of that in­ci­dent last year. Ev­ery­body thinks I’m this bad guy when re­ally I’m a re­ally good dude. Im­age is ev­ery­thing, and I guess that’s what my im­age is.

“I ex­pected it. I al­ways play with an edge, play hard, kind of make these fa­cial ex­pres­sions to make it seem like I was mad all the time on the court, so ob­vi­ously there’s go­ing to be some car­ry­over at one point when I started play­ing a lot, but it’s some­thing I couldn’t con­trol. It’s just who I am, play hard on the court, bring an edge. I re­ally can’t con­trol the fa­cial fea­tures I play with. It just hap­pens. It’s kind of a gift and a curse.’’

That in­ten­sity was missed, es­pe­cially late, as the Bulls’ bench kept them in the game all night, only to see the start­ing group en­ter the game with 7:03 left with a three­p­oint deficit. Utah went on a 13-3 run over the next five min­utes.

Still a va­cancy

Por­tis said the play­ers still have not filled the va­cancy on the lead­er­ship com­mit­tee be­cause they are wait­ing to see who remains.

That spot opened when Justin Hol­i­day was traded to the Griz­zlies last week.

Mem­bers on the com­mit­tee, meant to act as a li­ai­son be­tween Boylen and the play­ers, are Por­tis, Robin Lopez, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markka­nen.

Dunn was con­sid­ered a lead­ing can­di­date, but he doesn’t seem to con­cern him­self with any­thing other than play­ing bas­ket­ball, so it’s still up in the air.

CHRIS NI­COLL/AP

Bulls for­ward Jabari Parker scored 11 points (5-for-10 shoot­ing) in al­most 19 min­utes in the Bulls’ loss to the Jazz.

Bobby Por­tis

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