SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The ongoing criticism of the Bulls’ toughness and discipline isn’t going away anytime soon.
After Monday’s 105-96 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz it shouldn’t.
Too many careless moments with the ball, too many late lapses on defense. And just like that, the good feelings that started this seven-city trip off with a win in Los Angeles on Thursday, were nothing more than distant memories of a team that continues to disconnect from what is being asked of them by their coaching staff.
No wonder the post-game locker room looked like a funeral service. Jimmy Butler spent most of his time with his hands over his eyes, while Taj Gibson sat motionless with a towel draped over his head.
The lack of discipline talk was here to stay.
“We competed,’’ guard Derrick Rose said of the loss. “We didn’t have discipline on a couple of occasions out there, but who knows? It may be something different. We’ll look at film. But we felt like we were supposed to win this game.
“It hurt, but still have a lot of basketball to play of course.’’
Rose was then asked if he was concerned with the direction of a team that was now 26-21 more than halfway through the season, and responded, “Nah. I mean you can throw some flags up on some of the games we played, but I think everybody still has the same goal and that’s to win a championship.’’
There will be some serious hurdles to get over before that. And bigger ones than just scoring three points in the overtime by being loose with the ball, as well as missing key assignments on defense.
It was following the embarrassing loss in Los Angeles on Sunday, that both Butler and Pau Gasol were very outspoken about a lack of discipline by players, especially when it came to the defensive end of the court. And that carryover continued.
Fred Hoiberg talked about those comments on Monday, and thought a good remedy would be for players to first look in the mirror.
“Well, absolutely,’’ Hoiberg said, when asked if it was time for the players to start wearing some of the accountability of their inconsistencies. “Yeah. It’s on everybody. We watch a lot of film. We watch a lot of film going into these games, each coach is responsible for a scouting report. You spend a lot of time and effort putting the game plan together and it’s very important to go out and do the things that you put together to try and win that game or give yourself the best chance to win that game.
“We’ve done it on multiple occasions this year, and we’ve had slippage in certain games. So yeah, you have to have that. It’s gotta be somewhere the guys can look each in the face and hold each other responsible and accountable when they’re not doing it on the floor, and be able to take that.’’
As far as the final numbers, Butler did finish with 26, while Rose scored 14 on 6-for-21 shooting.
The Bulls have an off-day Tuesday, and Rose did hint that a players’ only meeting might be coming.
“Over the next couple days I’ll probably take that into consideration,’’ Rose said.