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Sources: Bulls to resume playing Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday after NBA warning

Bulls center Robin Lopez (right) shoots against Raptors center Jakob Poeltl. (AP)

After the NBA issued a warning to the Chicago Bulls this week about resting healthy players, the franchise now plans to play veteran starters Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday more extensively the remainder of the season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The dialogue between league officials and the Bulls was cooperative and productive, with the league providing advice and the Bulls open to guidance on the nuances of the new rest rules, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Bulls have lost 14 of their past 17 games and publicly stated in mid-February that they would begin sitting Lopez and Holiday. Lopez has sat out the past six games for Chicago while Holiday has missed five of the past six, leaving the Bulls without two of their most productive players and respected leaders.

The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver formally informed team owners about resting healthy players – perhaps an effort to diminish the league-wide verbiage of “tanking” – after the league moved up the start of this season to spread games out for coaches and players. The Bulls changed course on their plans to continue sitting Lopez and Holiday in the past day, league sources said.

In 57 games this season, Holiday has averaged 13 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals a night. He returned to the Bulls on a two-year contract this season and has emerged as a solid two-way player. Lopez, one of the NBA’s most durable centers, has averaged 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 57 games.

The Bulls started the season 3-20, but won 10 of 12 games in December to reach 13-22 and have shown flashes of a brilliant young core in Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn. Chicago fell to 21-42 after a 105-89 loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday night, when the Bulls scored just 29 points in the first half.

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