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Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg takes the high road on Jabari Parker’s comments

ATLANTA — There was no sit-down with forward Jabari Parker going into the Bulls’ game Saturday against the Hawks.

Heck, it was like pulling teeth even to get coach Fred Hoiberg to acknowledge what Parker had said less than 24 hours earlier.

‘‘It’s about going out and executing what we’re trying to do out there,’’ Hoiberg said before the Bulls held the Hawks to 32.5 percent shooting in a 97-85 victory. ‘‘We went back and watched some of [the game film Saturday] morning and hopefully made the adjustments.’’

After the Bulls’ embarrassing 135-106 loss Friday to the Hornets, Parker criticized associate coach Jim Boylen, who is in charge of the team’s defensive schemes and decisions, without naming him.

‘‘I really felt like we didn’t adjust,’’ Parker said when he was asked why there looked to be a lack of effort after the first quarter. ‘‘[The Hornets] did a totally different thing [from the game Wednesday at the United Center]. Instead of setting a single-side pick-and-roll, they set a double-drag, and we couldn’t guard it. We didn’t have a scheme for it, so that kind of buried us. . . . They kept on running it, too.’’

Parker was asked whether that fell on coaching or a lack of preparation and responded: ‘‘Nah, don’t set me up like that. . . . We didn’t expect it, that’s all. But along with that, the energy — I could have controlled that, too.’’


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Hoiberg was asked about being unable to adjust to the Hornets’ double-drags and again took the high road, saying: ‘‘We missed a few of them. But in going back and watching that film, it came down to the hustle plays, the 50-50 balls. When we had opportunities to get on the floor, [the Hornets] were the first on it to get the ball, and that’s what sets the tone for the game.’’

Parker, who signed a two-year, $40 million contract during the offseason (the Bulls own the second-year option), remained in his regular role off the bench against the Hawks, and the subject seemed to be closed.

But Hoiberg got a final word in, defending Boylen.

‘‘You look at Jim’s track record in this league,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘He had the No. 1 defense in Indiana. He was on some really good Spurs defensive teams. We had a year where we were fifth, maybe sixth, and third after the All-Star break.

‘‘We took a step in the wrong direction the other night, but I’ve seen growth with our team. We put a lot of effort into it. We have long film sessions. Jim does a great job in those. We have a young team. We have to keep growing, keep working.’’

Staying the course

Despite rookie Chandler Hutchison going scoreless in his first NBA start Friday, Hoiberg kept him in the starting lineup against the Hawks.

The Bulls led 25-23 lead after the first quarter Friday. Hutchison was plus-9 after the first quarter Saturday and finished plus-18 in 18 minutes.

‘‘It wasn’t the start that cost us [Friday],’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘That’s a big reason we’re starting the same way. Chandler did a really good job of going after balls. He had seven rebounds. He didn’t get anything to fall [0-for-4], but his job is to defend and rebound.’’