Boylen confident Bulls can resolve defensive issues

Bulls coach Jim Boylen delivered a message before playing the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

"There's no shame in getting your butt kicked in our league," he said. "There's no shame in having a rough night. The shame is you don't come back and work, and we've done that every time and I expect us to keep doing that."

Boylen wasn't previewing the Lakers game. He was prompted by a question about the Bulls' defensive potential, which didn't look good Sunday against Indiana. The Bulls gave up plenty of "blow-bys," where the ballhandler gets past the defender with relative ease.

"I think we need to improve our defensive rebounding," Boylen said. "Just that alone, we get three or four more defensive rebounds a game, it will change some of those numbers drastically. The blow-bys are things that guys are learning about and we're working on, we're taking about. The emphasis is there.

"This is not a group that isn't willing. This isn't a group that is defiant. It's a group that's learning and growing and playing a lot of NBA games in a short amount of time."

Boylen has pointed out that after the Bulls finish a set of back-to-back games in Atlanta on Wednesday, they will have played the most games and most road games in the league.

Coaches, former co-workers:

Jim Boylen spent two seasons working for Lakers coach Frank Vogel in Indiana. The second year, in 2012-13, the Pacers reached the Eastern Conference finals.

"He's one of the smartest basketball men I've ever worked with," Vogel said before Tuesday's game. "He taught me a lot. The assistants learn from you when they work for you, but you learn from your assistants as well.

"Not just on the defensive end, but he brought a lot of post offensive principles to our Pacers teams as he was with Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich all those years in Houston."

Boylen talked about a tough decision to leave the Pacers in 2013 after two seasons and go to San Antonio.

"Frank and I were very close," Boylen said. "I loved working for him. We spent a lot of time together, our families were close, we lived close to each other. It was very difficult for me to leave there and go to San Antonio. He did not want me to leave and part of me wanted to stay, but I thought the opportunity to go to the Spurs was the thing to do.

"That was a tough moment for us. We didn't maybe talk as much after that for a few months and then we figured out it wasn't that big of a deal, we were both doing OK."

Bull horns:

Lakers star LeBron James, asked to name his favorite United Center memory, chose the EA Sports Roundball Classic, a high school all-star game he played in 2003, shortly before declaring for the NBA draft. … The Bulls announced the next round of fill-in road announcers for Neil Funk. The list begins with Jason Benetti on Wednesday in Atlanta and also includes Lisa Byington, Adam Amin, JB Long and Mark Schanowski.

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