Frustration grows after Chicago Bulls' poor performance in Boston

The Chicago Bulls realize the predicament they're in, but results like what happened Sunday in Boston make it painfully obvious.

After trading Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to Oklahoma City on Feb. 23, the Bulls won a few games against short-handed opponents.

Without Gibson, though, they're relying on too many young and unproven players.

Not coincidentally, they suffered their fifth straight loss in Boston, losing 100-80 at TD Garden after a miserable start to the contest.

With their playoff chances slipping away, the team's two stars talked after the game about the task ahead.

“I don't think we're giving up; we're just not playing any type of good basketball right now,” Jimmy Butler told reporters in the locker room. “Nobody likes to lose, so, yeah, I definitely think it's bothering a lot of people.

“We've got to figure it out. Ain't nobody going to come in here and show us a blueprint on how to win. We've got to go out there and make it happen.”

Dwyane Wade responded to questions about the state of the team by asking for management's assistance.

“I don't know. I wish upper management could be answering these questions, because I'm tired of answering the same ones every game,” Wade said. “I wish I had the answers, but I don't.

“I don't want to say too much. I don't want to say the wrong thing. I want to get out there and try to play and try to lead, find a way for me and Jimmy to better help these guys.”

Wade talked about the Bulls' offense being too predictable, but it's not clear whether the Bulls' mix of newcomers, rookies and sophomores are capable of doing much more.

“Right now, just running pick and rolls all game, that ain't it because (opponents) are just watching us, unless somebody's going to shoot step-back 3s all night,” Wade said.

“That's why sometimes I'm glad I'm on this side of the coin. I'm glad I got a jersey on; I don't have to make certain decisions because it is tough. But no one is really going to care too much.

“Fred (coach Fred Hoiberg) gets a nice paycheck, I get a nice paycheck, Jimmy gets a nice paycheck, blah, blah, blah so people don't care when you get paid good.

“So we all have to figure it out together. We're all in this together. This 2016-17 team we all go down together no matter what the story, and it's on us.”

Robin Lopez and Denzel Valentine were the Bulls' top scorers Sunday with 13 points each. Butler hit 2 of 11 shots for 5 points. The Bulls were minus-37 when Wade (8 points) was on the floor.

The first half was literally one of the worst performances in franchise history. Things went badly from the opening tip as the Bulls missed their first 12 shots from the field and were scoreless until Wade finally hit a jumper with 6:05 left in the quarter.

According to ESPN stats, the Bulls' 3-for-22 shooting in the first quarter was their worst since April 10, 1999. And, yes, that was the night they scored 49 points against Miami, at the time a record low for the shot-clock era.

It was a minor miracle the Bulls trailed just 22-9 at the end of the first quarter. Still, it was their lowest point total in a quarter this season. By halftime, things hadn't gotten much better. The Bulls trailed 46-26 while shooting 25.6 percent.

The 26 points were the fewest scored in the first half in the NBA this season. According to ESPN stats, it was the fifth-fewest points in a first half in franchise history.

The highlight of the afternoon for the Bulls was a 17-5 run in the third quarter when they cut a 29-point deficit down to 17.

• Get the latest Bulls news via Twitter by following @McGrawDHBulls.

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Hoiberg appreciates Houston's 3-point heavy style

Bulls still hoping for more than 3-point shots from Valentine

Getting tough to feel optimistic about Bulls' playoff chances

Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center, 6 p.m. Monday

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Radio: WLS 890-AM

Outlook: The last time these teams met on Jan. 2 at the United Center, Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 52 points and the Bulls claimed a 118-111 victory. In the past two weeks, Charlotte has given up 46 points to Anthony Davis and 43 to Blake Griffin. PG Kemba Walker is the Hornets' top scorer at 23.2 ppg, followed by SF Nic Batum at 15.4 and PF Marvin Williams with 11.6. Benet Academy's Frank Kaminsky is still tweeting, but he has missed the last five games with a sprained left shoulder. The Bulls have lost four in a row at Charlotte, including a 103-91 defeat on Dec. 23.

Next: Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center, 7 p.m. Wednesday

— Mike McGraw

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