Bulls had strong exchange at halftime of loss to Wolves

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

MIAMI — Sunday’s blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in which the Chicago Bulls allowed 150 points in regulation for the first time in 40 years featured players engaging in strong exchanges at halftime, sources said, voicing collective frustrations.

The incident drew the attention of the coaching staff, although coach Billy Donovan said he wasn’t made aware of it until after the fact.

“I was not in there. I had heard the same thing you (reporters) did. But we were in our coaches’ room, so I wasn't aware of everything that was said. But I heard that there was some confrontation, which I think, to me, personally, is healthy,” Donovan said before Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat. “That needs to go on, in my opinion. What was said, I have no idea.”

Two sources familiar with the incident said some of the frustration was directed at Zach LaVine, if not directly by name than at least by defensive breakdowns involving him.

A team source indicated the strong words were more collectively focused in nature — as in, “we need to be better.”

After Sunday’s game, LaVine said he is one of the voices in the locker room trying to help lead the Bulls out of their current mess, which featured seven losses in nine games entering Monday night.

“Guys in here are talking. We’re trying to be leaders in our own way, but we’ve got to find a way to get it done,” LaVine said on Sunday. ““I mean, shoot, it ain’t like we’re not trying. We’re going out here talking a lot. We’ve just got to stop talking and go out there and do it. We’ll do it inconsistently, or consistently for one or two plays, but then won’t do it again.


"It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for all of us. I know it’s frustrating for the fans. It’s embarrassing. At the end of the day, you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and be real about it and figure out how to come back and fight back.”

Asked how he sees the state of the locker room currently, Donovan said any frustration is rooted from a place of care.

“I think our chemistry in terms of guys' relationships and guys liking each other is very, very good. I think they've all got very very good relationships. When we're traveling or with each other, shootarounds and stuff, people interact, there's communication. I think people genuinely like each other,” Donovan said.

“But I think it's a totally different situation when you're stepping in between the lines and you've gotta be able to rely on each other. And I think that maybe some of it is them pointing out to each other where they need help, where they need guys to be. And I think the accountability internally, player-wise, is a good thing.

“We've all gotta understand the importance of it. And I said this after (Sunday’s) game, everybody's job is really hard. And you've gotta help each other do your job at a really high level. And I don't know anybody that's been great at anything that hasn't had the help of others. And we all need help from one another. And that's what we've gotta get to. And I think probably some of that frustration probably was guys not helping or being in position or rotating nearly as much as we needed to to be in position to help one another. And we've gotta be better there.”

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