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Fred Hoiberg clears up a perceived slam on Jimmy Butler

Saturday offered another example about just how sensitive things are for the Bulls these days when a comment coach Fred Hoiberg made in his pregame media session took on a life of its own on social media.

The hubbub began when Hoiberg was asked a question about having to be more vocal with his players next season. His response was interpreted by some as a criticism of guard Jimmy Butler.

‘‘We went out and got off to a pretty solid start with this thing, then some things happened,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘I think most of that comes from the one comment that was made after the New York game by Jimmy, and, yeah, we have had some pretty heated moments with our group in the locker room, the film session.

‘‘Would I change it? Would I be more vocal, more direct? Maybe. We’ll evaluate that as we go into the offseason, so we’ll see what happens.’’

Some interpreted Hoiberg’s comments to mean things were going along fine until Butler spoke out in New York. But when Hoiberg’s response was evaluated in the context of the question, the words ‘‘most of that comes from’’ actually referred to the perception of him needing to be more vocal.

Hoiberg came out to clear up the misunderstanding after the locker room was closed to the media.

‘‘I was answering the question,’’ he said. ‘‘The question was, would I change the way I get on people? Do I need to air people out more? The response to that was that I think most of . . . the perception that I hadn’t gotten on people as much was because of the comment made after the New York game. That’s it. It wasn’t a shot at Jimmy.’’

Getting defensive

The Bulls watched their defensive efficiency drop from third in the league on Jan. 1 to 14th entering their game Saturday against the Cavaliers.

So how did that happen?

‘‘I think at times we just think we can outscore guys,’’ Butler said. ‘‘We do have guys that can put it in the basket, don’t get us wrong, but I think defense is what we can hang our hat on. So when we get that edge back, we’ll start winning some games.’’

Getting that defense back will be an emphasis this summer.

‘‘You have to be consistent with it,’’ Hoiberg said of the defense. ‘‘It obviously has to be there every time you step on the floor.

‘‘Yeah, it’s a commitment. Everybody has to look at themselves, starting with me, and we’ve got to be better.’’

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.