Shellshocked Bulls look to move forward with visit from Kings
CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls are less than a week out from firing their coach and already it seems players have issues with the new one.
Fresh off the worst loss in franchise history — a 56-point drubbing at the hands of the Boston Celtics — the Bulls held a players-only meeting that lasted two hours before Jim Boylen, the former assistant coach who replaced Fred Hoiberg after he was fired last week, joined the meeting.
The Bulls (6-21) host the Sacramento Kings on Monday at the United Center.
According to an ESPN report, rookie Wendell Carter, Jr., said players came to Boylen and his staff “as men and (talked) to them about how we felt.”
Boylen pulled all five starters on Saturday after the Celtics jumped out to a 13-0 lead. The Bulls were booed off the court following the loss, which established a record for the worst loss in club history. The previous mark was a 53-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2001.
Now, as the Bulls attempt to rebound from Saturday’s loss, they will attempt to move forward after players cleared the air with Boylen during Sunday’s meeting.
“We were very, very honest with one another, very direct,” Carter said, according to ESPN.com.
Boylen, who has been very public in his concerns with the team’s lack energy and conditioning this season, told reporters on Sunday that he felt that the meeting was needed.
“We’re still learning about each other,” Boylen said. “I’ve moved over the 18 inches (on the bench). They’re still learning how I want it. There’s a little shock and awe here in the last seven days. And there’s an adjustment to that.”
The Kings (13-12) enter Monday’s game having won five of their past 10 games and will attempt to bounce back from a 107-97 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. The Kings will be wrapping up a four-game road trip on Monday against the Bulls.
Sacramento jumped out to a quick start on Saturday against the Pacers but were outscored in each of the final three quarters in the 10-point loss. The Kings were playing the back end of a back-to-back and used Sunday as an off-day to make the short trip to Chicago.
The rest was something the Kings were looking forward to.
“I think it had a little bit to do with the back-to-back, but it was mental,” Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “We prepared our bodies for the back-to-back, but I think a lot of it was mental.”
Buddy Hield sparked Sacramento’s fast start by hitting five of his first eight shots in the first quarter, but then went cold as he missed nine of his final 12 shots and finished with 20 points. Several of his teammates struggled in the loss, which was Sacramento’s third game in five days.
“We just sucked,” Hield said, according to the Bee. “The second half, we didn’t get back on defense, (and) turnovers killed us; turnovers and not making shots. We’re supposed to make shots.”
He added: “All off days are good. We just have to take advantage of that and rest up.”