Bulls

Bulls feeling emotionally drained after ninth loss in 13 games

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Bulls feeling emotionally drained after ninth loss in 13 games

SALT LAKE CITY — Taj Gibson sat in his locker, head staring at the floor while Jimmy Butler, two lockers over, rubbed his aching knee, slumped down and nearly slouched over.

For more than 15 minutes after media was allowed into the visitor’s locker room, it was dead silent. Pau Gasol was the first to emerge from the doldrums, tapping both Butler and Gibson on the leg in encouragement on his way to shower after the Bulls’ 105-96 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz Monday.

Derrick Rose slowly got dressed, the first to face the media firing squad, forced to address an unthinkable collapse — especially when one considers 30 minutes prior, Rose’s usually checked emotions got the best of him, taking a bow to the visiting crowd after nailing what could’ve been a game-winning, season-turning triple with 18.5 seconds left.

[RELATED - Bulls collapse in final minutes against Jazz]

Instead of exuberance, the locker room was filled with frustration at best, and at worst…acceptance.

The frustration that was evident in the Staples Center visiting locker room after a blowout loss to the Clippers circled around following gameplans and keeping not only personal discipline but collective discipline when a team makes a run.

In that instance, things snowballed to a predictable result.

In this one, the Bulls picked up the snowball and smashed themselves in the face with it, resulting in nine losses in 13 games, placing them squarely in the middle of the pack of the Eastern Conference.

“It hurt,” Rose confessed. “But we still got a lot of basketball to play. You’re not gonna play your best every night…we thought we had it in regulation.”

They should’ve won it in the first 48 minutes, but their playmakers - the veterans - made key mistakes when they’d been entrusted to finish things off.

“It bothers me. Losing, period,” Butler said. “I gotta play better. That’s why they got me here. I haven’t been doing that lately. But that’s on me. I gotta hit the gym and put in the time.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Butler made a couple mistakes that led to the team’s demise, as well as Gasol and Rose.

“It’s tough in overtime and it’s crunch time and you make certain mistakes,” Gasol said. “But I think we were playing pretty well and had a chance to win. We didn’t make the plays we needed to.”

Just as palpable the emotion was in the visitor’s locker room in Cleveland when they spoiled the Cavaliers’ debut of Tyronn Lue as coach, the pendulum has swung in the other direction.

And whether they realize it or not, the season is on the brink.

Former Bulls guard opens up about having depression

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AP

Former Bulls guard opens up about having depression

During his NBA career, he was known as having a joking, outgoing, clown-type of personality. Now, former NBA point guard Nate Robinson opened up about having depression.

Robinson, an 11-year NBA veteran, told Bleacher Report that he began going to therapy sessions in the 2012-13 season when he played for the Bulls.

He said he would struggle with having an angel and a demon inside of him.

"The NBA gave me my depression," Robinson told Bleacher Report. "I've never been a depressed person in my life."

"The hardest thing in my whole life, of my 34 years in existence on earth, was dealing with 11 years in the NBA of trying to be somebody that [NBA coaches] want me to be," Robinson said.

When Robinson was with the Bulls, he said he would sit in front of the plane so he wouldn’t be tempted to crack jokes. His one year with the Bulls ended up being one of the top seasons statistically in his career. He averaged just over 13 points and four assists per game. He played in all 82 games (starting 23) on a team that finished 45-37 with a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

He thought his behavior was always looked down upon, and Robinson thought he was being punished for his actions.

“It’s like Spider-Man, that Venom. I never wanted that Venom outfit to just consume me,” he says. “I wanted to be Spider-Man. I wanted to be positive. I never wanted that dark side to come out because I know what that dark side could do.” 

This might come as a surprise for NBA fans, knowing how energetic Robinson was on the court, no matter what team he was a part of.

Even though Robinson is just 5-foot-9, he brought a spark of energy when he came into the game.

He hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2015-16 season with the Pelicans and spent last year with the Delaware 87ers in the G League.

Robinson is known for his participation in the NBA Slam Dunk competition. He won three contests, going back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

One highlight was Robinson jumping over Dwight Howard in 2009, which ultimately gave Robinson his third title. Another highlight is welcoming former 1986 Slam Dunk Champion Spud Webb on the floor in 2006 and jumping over him.

Robinson is still vying for a comeback to the NBA.

Bulls Talk Podcast: 2018 NBA Draft primer (and some Kawhi talk)

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AP

Bulls Talk Podcast: 2018 NBA Draft primer (and some Kawhi talk)

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Strotman and Scott Phillips get you set for the 2018 NBA Draft. They put together their own mock draft, analyzing each of the first seven picks, analyze a handful of options the Bulls should look at at No. 22, and answer questions from Twitter. They also discuss the Kawhi Leonard trade rumors and whether the Bulls could put together a package that would entice San Antonio.