Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg thinks loss vs. Bucks ‘every bit as bad as we thought’
The Chicago Bulls were thoroughly embarrassed by the Milwaukee Bucks during Wednesday night’s 34-point loss. The team looked out of focus and completely zoned out, failing to get back on defense during transition opportunities and allowing wide-open looks, as well as looking disjointed on offense.
Head coach Fred Hoiberg came into Thursday’s practice with one goal: correct those mistakes and ensure they don’t become engrained in this team’s season DNA.
“Generally, you come out of the game and you think things aren’t as good or bad as they seem,” Hoiberg said, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “But (Wednesday) night was every bit as bad as we thought. I thought their physicality took us out of anything that we wanted to accomplish. We had the wrong guys taking the ball out of bounds. We had no rhythm on the offensive end. Defense was awful all night. Lot to learn from.”
The Bulls’ starting lineup combined for a pathetic 27 points, 10 of them coming from starting point guard Kris Dunn, who shot 3-of-6 from the field, 1-of-1 from deep and 3-of-3 from the foul line. The rest of the starters combined for a ghastly 7-of-37 (18.9 percent) shooting from the field and 1-of-14 (7 percent) from the 3-point line.
The reserves didn’t fare much better, as the Bulls shot a combined 32.4 percent from the floor on 102 shot attempts during this exhibition game.
Despite the plethora of mistakes, Hoiberg insisted his practices haven’t been easygoing by any means, but they will become even harder when there are this many errors to fix.
“We’ve had very demanding practices. There’s no doubt about that. The day before may have been our hardest practice of the year,” Hoiberg said, referencing Tuesday’s practice. “But you can’t use that as an excuse. You still have to lay everything on the line.
“Our defensive transition was very poor. A lot of that resulted from the fact the ball wasn’t going into the hoop. You can’t allow them to come down and expose you when the No. 1 thing in your game plan is getting back and slowing them down when the ball isn’t going in the basket. That was the disappointing thing: Our lack of shot-making affected our overall game — defensively, effort, everything.”
The Bulls are hoping to take a step up after acquiring Jabari Parker and drafting a Rookie of the Year candidate in Wendell Carter Jr., going along with their main cogs in Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Dunn — all more familiar with Hoiberg’s system. But those hopes will hinge on their discipline and desire to correct their mistakes and not get embarrassed like this again.