On Friday night, the Bulls and Pistons played arguably the most entertaining game of the year, a quadruple-overtime thriller that saw the Pistons just squeak by, 147-144. The Bulls had no answer for Reggie Jackson in the last frame, allowing him to go off for 13 of his 31 points. Offensively, the Bulls looked good, with Jimmy Butler scoring a season high 43 points on 14 of 29 shooting. There were some questionable late-game decisions by the Bulls, most notably one that featured Derrick Rose with the ball at the end of regulation (as opposed to Butler).
The grueling, lengthy game left the Bulls winded and shorthanded (Gasol was given the night off) for Saturday night’s affair with the Knicks. Unsurprisingly they lost, 107-91. After the game, a reporter stuck a microphone in Butler’s face and asked him about the lineup. He didn’t hold back in his take about new coach Fred Hoiberg.
“I believe in the guys in this locker room, yeah,” Butler said. “But I also believe that we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times. I’m sorry, I know Fred’s a laid-back guy, and I really respect him for that, but when guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you got to get on guys, myself included. You got to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re out there playing basketball.”
So, just to be clear, Butler made these comments after two frustrating losses. We shouldn’t read too much into it, right?
“We weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing, what we wrote up on that board before the game, and nobody spoke up about it. I did probably not enough times, but I think that he has to hold everybody accountable. From the No. 1 player all the way down to however many guys we got. You got to hold everybody accountable; everybody has to do their job. You win your matchup, you do your job, we win the game.”
The Bulls are 15-10 on the year. They are playing .500 ball against Eastern Conference foes. There’s no need to panic right now but there’s certainly cause for concern. As for Butler’s comments, perhaps he could have kept them in-house. Or perhaps this was a leader taking the (no pun intended) bull by the horns.