Bulls' Lonzo Ball exits protocols, ready to face Orlando Magic

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  • Chicago Bulls
    Chicago Bulls
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Orlando Magic
    Orlando Magic
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  • Lonzo Ball
    Lonzo Ball
    Basketball player
  • DeMar DeRozan
    DeMar DeRozan
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Lonzo Ball exits protocols, ready to return vs. Magic originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Lonzo Ball said he wasn’t aware that his Instagram post went viral — the one in which Ball teased DeMar DeRozan for not knowing how much time remained when DeRozan sank the first of his two improbable game-winners over the weekend.

But Ball, who posted it during his quarantine in the league’s health and safety protocols, does know he’s happy to be back watching DeRozan’s heroics in person for the Chicago Bulls.

“That’s my guy. I was happy for him, happy for the team and I’m just happy to be back,” Ball said following Monday’s morning shootaround. “It was crazy. Those two shots DeMar hit were probably the best shots I’ve ever seen watching TV like that. We got two good wins off those shots and we got a seven-game win streak. So keep going tonight.”

Indeed, Ball returns to face the Orlando Magic after missing five games. Ball had been the only Bull not to miss a game this season before he landed in the protocols.

“I had no symptoms. So I was good,” Ball said. “Sit at the house watching the games. Obviously, you have to stay inside but I’m happy to be back.”

Ball isn’t surprised that the Bulls kept rolling while he sat. They have displayed a next-man-up mentality all season.

“We preach resilience all the time. (Coach) Billy (Donovan) always talks to us about that,” Ball said. “This is a whole team. We’re not just focused on one guy. We all try to contribute to win.”

Donovan also returns from his stint in the protocols. Like Ball, he missed five games but stayed engaged with the team as acting head coach Chris Fleming took the reins.

Ball began working out on Friday. His goals are big ones — an MVP award for DeRozan and a title for the Bulls.

“I think he just believes in himself. DeMar has been a star in this league for a long time. And I think this is probably his best year to me. He’s showing everybody that he should definitely be MVP this year,” Ball said. “We’re just trying to keep getting better until we get to the playoffs and then take it a series at a time. Our goal for this year is a championship obviously.”

RELATED: Lonzo Ball reacts to DeRozan game-winner from quarantine

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