Bulls coach Jim Boylen defends his timeouts and his standing with players
Boylen isn’t going to apologize for coaching his team until the final horn and said he will continue to do so, even if it borders on defiance in the face of an obvious loss.
Bulls coach Jim Boylen isn’t going to apologize for coaching his team until the final horn and said he will continue to do so, even if it borders on defiance in the face of an obvious loss.
He made that clear Sunday, like it or not.
‘‘Yeah, that’s all I’ve been trying to do,’’ Boylen said, referring to the idea that he is trying to establish a mindset with his young team. ‘‘I did it last year; I did it this year. We’re trying to establish that we’re going to play till the end.
‘‘But I think what we can’t do is not expect people to be frustrated with a losing streak or a home loss. That’s a healthy thing that there’s frustration. It’s a healthy thing that you’ve got competitive people that are upset that we’re hurt and we’re fighting to win games.’’
‘‘Frustration’’ was a word Boylen threw around freely, especially when it was pointed out to him that cameras have caught guard Zach LaVine questioning late-game timeouts twice in the last month.
The latest came in the Bulls’ loss Saturday to the Suns, in which Boylen called a timeout with 30 seconds left and the team trailing by 10 points.
LaVine appeared to say: ‘‘Why are we calling a timeout when we’re down [bleeping] 10?’’
Boylen refused to admit his timeouts were agitating LaVine, but he also made it a point to beat the media back to the locker room, where he pulled LaVine into a lounge area before he met with reporters.
LaVine called it a normal player-coach talk, but he also said he was getting frustrated with the losing.
Boylen ran with that storyline Sunday.
‘‘I thought we were frustrated,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘He’s frustrated.
‘‘I coach to the end of games. Could some people judge, look at that timeout as unnecessary? Of course, they can. You can judge it any way you want. I’m going to coach our guys to the end.
‘‘I think there’s a misconception that Zach and I only talk when there’s something good to talk about or something bad to talk about. We talk all the time. I think it’s a healthy, productive relationship.’’
Boylen also said he spoke with vice president of basketball operations John Paxson early Sunday and was told to continue coaching how he has been coaching.
‘‘We talk every day,’’ Boylen said of his relationship with Paxson. ‘‘ ‘I’m gonna coach these guys hard, John.’ ‘Keep doing what you’re doing.’ You know, it’s what we have to do. Is there an opportunity where maybe I’m more competitive in those situations? I think I have to own that.’’
That was the one thing Boylen admitted to. He said he’s so competitive that when a game is out of hand and the Bulls are headed for a loss, he becomes almost defiant.
‘‘I don’t like losing,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘We had a 17-point lead [against the Suns]. I thought we played our hearts out — short-handed — and we battled, got the game back under control. We’re up one with seven minutes to go, and we didn’t play very well the last seven minutes. But, yeah, I’m hanging on to that.’’
He won’t, however, hang on to the idea that any of his players is upset with his coaching.
‘‘You can video me on a wide-open three we miss and then . . . they make a contested three, and I make an expression,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘You can do that on every clip and every situation.’’