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Lauri Markkanen has been slumping and (back) spasming , but may have broken back out against Cavaliers

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‘the streak’ has been mostly without Lauri

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Thoughout the Bulls improbable winning streak, which ended last night in close fashion, one player who’s been relatively left behind is super-rookie Lauri Markkanen.

Here was Darnell Mayberry of the Athletic summing things up before Thursday night’s game in Cleveland:

Markkanen has shot better than 40 percent only three times in his past 13 games. In those 13 contests, Markkanen is averaging 13 points on 13.5 shots per game. He’s shooting 34.9 percent from the field and only 27.8 percent from 3-point range.

When Markkanen initially hit his slump, Hoiberg maintained he wasn't concerned about Markkanen’s shooting woes. But then Markkanen missed three consecutive games due to back spasms, and now we’re left to wonder whether there’s a correlation between Markkanen’s prolonged shooting slump and his bothersome back. Or is it something else? Against the Sixers, Markkanen played only 26 minutes in his return from that three-game absence. Wednesday, he played only 20 minutes. And despite getting off to a good start working out of the post against Mario Hezonja on the Bulls’ first two possessions, Markkanen still didn’t look like himself. You can see it at times when he releases his shot and occasionally when he runs up the floor.

Then in that game in Cleveland he was productive again: 25 points on 11-17 shooting, including some fun dunks.

This was all while he still struggled from beyond the arc, going 0-3 before a clutch 4-point play late in the game. As Mayberry pointed out then after this game, “He’s currently struggling with his 3-point shot but doing so many other things that so many people figured he couldn’t do.”.