‘Do or die’ week for the Bulls after a Sunday team meeting

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A team meeting happened on Sunday for the Bulls.


Now, it’s a matter of figuring out if it’s too late.

“It’s a do or die week for us,’’ veteran Mike Dunleavy said after the Easter practice, stating the obvious.

A Monday home game with red-hot Atlanta, road games at Indiana and Houston, and then a huge weekend showdown with Detroit at the United Center? Yeah, do or die is about right with just 10 regular-season games left and the Bulls sitting two games out of a final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

And while a team meeting where players could vent some frustration and throw out opinions has seemingly been needed for months, it finally took place in the wake of getting blown out by Orlando on Saturday night.

“We did get together and talk,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said of the meeting with just players and coaches. “That was a big part of what [Sunday] was about, getting in there and talking about some things and hopefully airing some things out.’’

Asked what was specifically aired out, Hoiberg said, “Oh, I’m not going to talk about that.’’

What the first-year coach would talk about, however, was he came away from the meeting feeling like guys were honest in their concerns and opinions.

“As always happens in those type of meetings, yeah, you talk about things and obviously we have a lot to correct right now,’’ Hoiberg said. “I think it had to be done. And again, I thought it was productive.

“I think [guys were honest]. And that’s what it has to be when you go through those things. You have to have honest communication where things aren’t taken personal. I thought it was productive from that standpoint.’’

One key point that was addressed was actually brought up by Hoiberg on Saturday, when he admitted that, “Obviously what I’m saying right now my message isn’t getting across.’’

He went into further detail on that Sunday.

“That’s the big thing,’’ Hoiberg said. “It starts with us going out there and flat out competing and communicating with each other. The biggest thing is guys battling through the adversity. When we put our heads down, obviously things don’t go well for our group. It’s fighting through those tough times. Adversity will hit us every time we step on that floor. What will define us is how we handle that adversity. It’s pretty simple when it all comes down to it. You have to fight. Instead of splintering and pulling apart, you have to find a way to stick together through those tough times.’’

While Dunleavy said that communication did in fact have to improve between the coaching staff and the players, it’s pretty obvious where the blame falls.

“It’s two-way,’’ Dunleavy said. “It’s what communication is all about. They have to find a way for us to do it, but we as players have to take a collective responsibility and get it done. And that’s what we’re searching for right now.

“I think we’re pretty well prepared going into games, it’s a good game plan. I just think we’ve had some issues with carrying out that game plan. And so maybe we need to be more thorough about it, maybe we need to give guys less freedom in terms of what they’re able to do. But you know, I feel pretty good about going into every game with what we need to do to beat a team and are we doing it right. Yeah I do. It’s just a matter of carrying that out.’’

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