To no surprise, Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen was welcomed with a chorus of boos from Chicago Bulls fans during Friday night’s matchup at the United Center. Allen was suspended for one game in late January after his flagrant 2 foul sent Bulls guard Alex Caruso crashing to the floor. Caruso suffered a broken right wrist, and has not returned to the court since the incident.
Allen started Friday’s game, and was the subject of the Bulls fans’ ire every time he touched the ball. He was later serenaded by boos when he checked back into the game with just over six minutes left in the second quarter.
Allen is no stranger to accusations of dirty play. He was suspended during his senior season at Duke in 2017 after his third incident of tripping an opponent. The one-game suspension he received from the NBA after the hard foul on Caruso was met with much criticism, and Bulls center Tristan Thompson, who was not a member of the team at the time of the foul, voiced his opinion heading into Friday night’s matchup.
“S–t. Take one of my dogs out like that, we’re gonna have issues,” Thompson said on Thursday. “You gotta set the tone. That’s what Bulls basketball is about, setting the tone. What he did affected one of our guys, and I don’t think anyone should forget about that.”
Thompson’s words came to mind in the third quarter, when Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. was issued a flagrant foul after elbowing Allen in the head on a baseline drive.
“Y’all trying to make it something it ain’t. It’s basketball,” Jones said of his foul on Allen after the game. “I’m not a dirty player. What happened in Milwaukee, we didn’t like it. But I’m not going to go out there and try to take a man out.”
Caruso practiced last week, at which time Bulls coach Billy Donovan said he expected the guard to need at least a couple more weeks to build up his strength. Entering Friday night, Chicago had gone 11-8 since Allen’s flagrant foul sidelined Caruso, with the league’s 26th-ranked defensive rating. Prior to the injury, the Bulls were 28-17, and their defense was ranked 17th.