Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg questions toughness after loss to Warriors: ‘They hit us in the mouth, we did not respond well’
If it wasn’t already known through the first six games of the season, the Chicago Bulls have plenty of problems on defense. The problem was never more evident than on Monday night, allowing 149 points to the defending champion Golden State Warriors — something head coach Fred Hoiberg wouldn’t let go lightly.
The Bulls allowed Warriors marksman Klay Thompson to break out of his shooting slump, torching the team for a record-tying 10 3-pointers in the first half, only to finish the job in the second half, snatching the record for most 3-pointers in a game from his own teammate Stephen Curry by making 14-of-24 on the night.
“It’s pretty simple, Sam, we got our ass kicked,” Hoiberg told Bulls.com writer Sam Smith. “That’s the bottom line.”
Asked of how Thompson was allowed to take 24 3s in a game (one of them partially blocked by Justin Holiday), Hoiberg knew where his team had failed.
“He got them in transition. He got them coming off screens. We missed some matchups coming down in the flow,” said Hoiberg, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “And obviously once he got it going we couldn’t stop him.”
Hoiberg is perhaps most worried about his team’s lack of grit and all-around toughness, clearly not having the fight it requires to keep from being buried under the avalanche.
“That’s the grit and the edge that I’m talking about. You’ve got to find a way to dig in,” said Hoiberg. “This (Warriors) team has had huge leads and teams have kept playing and come back. (Sunday) night was an example of that. When they got up 19 on Brooklyn, (the Nets) came all the way back and had a chance to win the game. We didn’t do that. That’s why you saw the score down 40 at half.
“The disappointing thing is the lack of edge that we played with tonight to allow them to get comfortable and get confidence and get going. And then when they hit us in the mouth, we did not respond well. That’s what we’ve been talking about here these last few weeks. When we’ve done that and we’ve played through adversity, we’ve won a couple of games. When we haven’t, this is the theme. This is what’s happened.”
The Bulls are 2-5 on the season, and the 149-124 result was not a fair reflection of the 40-plus-point spanking the Warriors put on them before taking out their starters midway through the third quarter. Chicago is sorely missing the grit of the injured Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis, two players with the fire necessary to entice this roster to storm back from deficits.