The Bulls’ blame line should be long after latest embarrassment

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DENVER — The line to the mirror started with Kris Dunn.

By the time Thursday’s beatdown by the Nuggets was over, the line could’ve stretched well outside the door to the visiting locker room.

Despite Lauri Markkanen’s 27 points, the Bulls ended their winless five-game trip with a 135-105 loss to the Nuggets. It was their ninth consecutive defeat.

Earlier in the day, Dunn admitted that during a morning film session after the loss to the Lakers, he addressed the team, letting everyone in the room know that he deserved to be held accountable for yet another stumble in the standings.

“This year, they know what I bring to the table,’’ Dunn said. “I bring that energy and defense. I feel like they know I didn’t have it [in Los Angeles]. As a leader, I have to let them know that’s on me. I didn’t bring the best of my abilities. As a professional, you can’t do that. You have to bring it each game. That’s what I’m learning.

“I just feel like I needed to tell my team that.’’

So who’s going to step up and apologize for this latest showing when the film starts playing Friday morning in Chicago?

Dunn again? A case can be made, especially after he shot 3-for-8 and had only six points and three assists.

What about Zach LaVine, who went scoreless in the first half and finished 4-for-15 for eight points?

“I mean, this is the longest losing streak I’ve been a part of,’’ LaVine said. “We have to figure out what’s going on, man, because it’s not going to stop. People licking their chops, looking at us, looking at us on the schedule, marking this game off, so it’s not like it’s going to stop.

“I’m upset with myself, the way I’ve played the last two games. My role on the team is to go out there and provide offense and create for the team, and I didn’t have it at all. I sucked, you know. I have to do a better job. I’m upset with myself and the team.’’


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Specifically, on the defensive end.

The Bulls (10-35) played one of their better first quarters of the trip, actually holding a 30-28 lead. But after being outscored 33-17 in the second quarter, they fell apart in the third, letting Denver (30-14) outscore them 42-26.

The Nuggets went 20-for-39 from three-point range; the Bulls went 10-for-28.

“I thought they had great shot-making over the top of us, and we don’t have that,’’ coach Jim Boylen said. “We don’t have great shot-making over the top of people, so we have to do it a different way right now.

“At times we’re playing real hard. But there were moments where we let their shot-making affect our effort and our energy, and I didn’t like that.’’

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