Bulls strive to become tough enough

Toughness has been a popular topic of discussion around the Bulls this season, since they're not very good at it.

Coach Jim Boylen was asked Monday if it's possible to increase a player's level of toughness.

"How I do it is I show them on film the situation," he said. "I show them in practice the situations where I thought they could have a higher level of urgency or physicality or competitiveness or toughness. That's how I do it.

"And in those moments I hope they learn that it's acceptable, it's OK to hit somebody once in awhile within the game. It's OK to be physical. And as they learn and get stronger, and feel more comfortable, they grow into that tougher mindset."

Among the issues for the Bulls this season have been finishing at the rim, getting outrebounded and defense in general, especially in crunchtime.

"Where we have struggled I think is mentally," Boylen said. "At times we've been willing physically, we've been weak mentally. That's also part of our development with this group. And we can make excuses for that. We can say we're young, we can say we're new. A lot of the league is young and a lot of the league is new.

"We can say we're going to have played nine games in 14 days, we've played the most road games in the league. Is that pulling on our toughness, our mental and physical toughness? Is that pulling on this group that's never really been through it before together?

"Maybe it is. That's the growth plate, that's the learning moment."

Porter skips practice:

Otto Porter Jr. injured his ankle during Sunday's loss to Indiana. He kept playing but sat out Monday's practice. Coach Jim Boylen called him probable for Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Chandler Hutchison had another full practice, so it's possible he could make his season debut Tuesday after recovering from a hamstring injury.

"Even with the hamstring injury, I was still in the gym before practice, after practice, doing what I can," Hutchison said. "I probably put up more shots without jumping than jumping this summer. I feel confident and I feel ready to go."

Davis says there's a chance:

Before facing the Bulls on Tuesday, Lakers newcomer Anthony Davis was asked if there's any chance he'll come back to play for his hometown team some day. Davis grew up on Chicago's South Side.

"Obviously, there's nothing like playing at home," he said. "I don't know. I am a free agent next year. We'll see. It's a possibility."

The Bulls will likely have no salary-cap room next summer, so adding Davis will be a challenge. But they can always dream.

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