Bulls Postseason Post: Bobby Portis brings the best of both worlds

BOSTON – Mixed feeling are just a way of life for fans of the professional basketball team in Chicago in 2016 and 2017.

Fans were in the middle on whether they wanted the team to make the playoffs. They were torn on whether the team should send Jimmy Butler packing at the trade deadline.

In the end Jimmy stayed and the Bulls squeezed their way into the final playoff spot in a tiebreaker. Some in the fanbase were happy with both while others were not.

After Game 1, everyone should be happy about at least one thing: Bobby Portis. There’s little debate that his play in Game 1 at TD Garden brought a smile to most every Bulls’ fans face.

A No. 1 draft pick in 2015, the 6-foot-10 forward has struggled to see consistent playing time in Fred Hoiberg’s rotation the last two seasons. In December and January there were ten games that Portis didn’t play at all in each month. Only after Taj Gibson was traded did Portis crack the lineup consistently in the final to months of the regular season.

No wonder #FreeBobbyPortis has popped up occasionally on Twitter.

Yet freed on Sunday the forward turned in arguably his best game as a member of the team. In his first playoff game he was near flawless from the floor, hitting 8-of-10 shots and knocking down 3-of-4 three-pointers. He pulled down nine rebounds and also blocked a pair of shots as the Bulls stuck with the Celtics for most of the first and second halves.

Portis put top-seeded Boston away with an 18-foot jumper that sealed a 106-102 victory that caught a number of people in the NBA by surprise. So did the Bulls second-year forward, whose Game 1 story is one all Bulls fans can get behind.