Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Bulls coach Jim Boylen yells at referee to, effectively, help Pacers (video)

Bulls coach Jim Boylen

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 29: Head coach Jim Boylen of the Chicago Bulls reacts against the Indiana Pacers in the second half of a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 29, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Bulls 115-106 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Jim Boylen reportedly remains unpopular among Bulls players.


Because he’s so hard on them? They might not always like his demanding approach, but that’s not a deal-breaker. As Boylen reportedly once pointed out to his team, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is also tough on his players.

As a Chicago player reportedly responded: Boylen is no Popovich. Players tolerate and even embrace Popovich’s methods because he has proven he can help them succeed. Amid all his bluster, Boylen has shown little ability to develop players and win.

The latest issue came in the Bulls’ loss to the Pacers last night. Domantas Sabonis missed a putback amid contact. Then, T.J. Warren made a putback amid contact. Somewhere in the sequence, an official whistled a foul.

The possibilities:

  • No basket, Sabonis (73% this season, 72% career) attempting two free throws
  • Basket good, Warren (82% this season, 78% career) attempting one free throw

Sabonis stepped to the line.

That’s when Boylen started yelling toward referee Mitchell Ervin.

Stephen Noh of The Athletic:

My best attempt transcribing what Boylen said:

Mitch! Mitch! Mitch! Mitch! Mitch! What do you got?! Everybody’s confused! What do you have?!
It’s the wrong shooter!
Nobody knows what the f— is going on! But I do!
That’s what I need to know! That’s important! I’ve got a team I’ve got to talk to!

Charitably, Boylen knew the officials would eventually sort it out and administer the foul as called. They’re not Pac-12 football refs. Maybe Boylen was upset only with the delay, which left him coaching with incomplete information.

But the result of Boylen’s lobbying ensured Chicago faced the more disadvantageous situation.

Boylen should have saved all his ire with the officials for the final play of regulation, when Victor Oladipo seemingly got away with fouling Zach LaVine.

NBC Sports Chicago: