The nice-guy role ended Wednesday for Dwyane Wade.
Tired of losing but even more upset about players who don’t seem to care, Wade scorched at least a handful of teammates after the Bulls’ 119-114 loss to the Hawks.
Wade didn’t name names, but he said the players better know who they are.
“It just doesn’t mean enough for guys around here to want to win ballgames,’’ Wade said. “It [ticks] me off, but I can’t be frustrated, and I can’t care too much for these guys. They have to care for themselves.
“I wish I could say that everyone in here is going to go home and not eat tonight. I can’t say that. I wish I could, but I don’t know that they care enough. Games are supposed to hurt. You’re not supposed to sleep; you’re not supposed to want to talk to anybody. These games are supposed to hurt. I don’t know if that is in guys in this locker room. Hopefully, they can prove me wrong, but I will challenge them to see if losses like this hurt.’’
The Bulls had a 10-point lead with 3:02 left, then suddenly stopped playing defense and went away from Wade and Jimmy Butler on offense. Butler had 40 points and Wade 33, but Paul Zipser and Nikola Mirotic were the ones launching shots in the final 1:25.
“I’m 35,’’ Wade said. “I have three championships. It shouldn’t hurt me more than it hurts these young guys. They have to want it. If they don’t want it, then we’ll show up and play Friday. Hopefully, we’ll win. If we don’t, then we go to dinner again and keep it going until the season is over. It has to change. It has to hurt inside to lose games like this. This [expletive] should [expletive] hurt.’’
It’s a sentiment Butler shared.
“I heard what Wade was saying,’’ Butler said. “[Expletive] just have to care if we win or lose. Do whatever it takes to help the team win. You play your role to the tee. Be a star in your role, man.
“On top of everything else, just play every possession like it’s your last. We don’t play hard all the time.’’
Butler is in favor of his teammates taking open shots but not during crunch time, especially when he and Wade are red-hot.
“At a point in the game like that, no offense, but you gotta get the ball to your best players,’’ Butler said. “That’s just how the game goes. Let it come down on my shoulders or D-Wade’s. Let us be the reason why. I understand if you’re open, yeah, shoot it, but [not] at a time when a guy is making shots like he was and like I was. . . . I felt like everything was going in that I put up there.’’
Butler and Wade had no plans to call a team meeting, but that was obviously subject to change.
“If you’re going to shoot those shots, you’d better have made that shot a lot of times, and you’d better have put the work in,’’ Wade said. “And I don’t see that enough.’’