Nikola Mirotic explains how making amends with Bobby Portis has sparked the Bulls' resurgence

The Chicago Bulls are one of the hottest teams in the NBA at the moment and it’s fair to say that nobody saw this coming.

After starting the campaign 3-20, the Bulls have turned things around and it has coincided with the return of Nikola Mirotic.

The 26-year-old missed the first 23 games after an altercation with teammate Bobby Portis in the pre-season that left him with a concussion and a facial fracture.

Since recovering, the team is 9-2 with him in the lineup and he has taken a professional approach as he and Portis have moved on from the ugly incident.

The power forward believes their decision to make amends has been the catalyst behind the team’s resurgence.

“I think it was huge,” Mirotic told ESPN. “I think it was huge because people didn’t know how we were going to act because it was a tough moment obviously for all of us, especially for me. But I think [up to now] we’ve handled it well. We’ve tried to be professional.

“That was really important for the guys because we kind of tried to stick together. And being back was a great [thing] for me, for my teammates. Right now we are all looking forward for Zach [LaVine] to be back, and we could be complete again. I think we’re going to be in really good shape.”

Mirotic is playing his best basketball as he’s averaging career highs of 18.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season.

Portis – who was suspended for the first eight games of the year – by the Bulls, is having the best campaign of his young career, averaging 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

Chicago’s turnaround has been made more impressive by the fact that the pair had no communication for weeks as Mirotic failed to reply to text messages from Portis who had reached out and apologized.

They still don’t share much of a relationship off the court but they have developed a camaraderie on it as they’ve been sharing high-fives and fist bumps.

Point guard Kris Dunn – who has also been a huge factor in the franchise’s upturn in fortunes – believes seeing the two players bury the hatchet has allowed them to play their best basketball.

“They hashed it out,” Dunn said. “They brought that positivity back into the team. They’re playing well off each other. They’re playing unbelievable basketball. … It’s special for the team to see. We’re proud to have them both back.”

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