Hoiberg upset with Bulls' loss of competitive spirit

Updated 10/30/2017 6:07 PM
  • Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Chicago.

    Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Chicago. Associated Press

After the Cleveland Cavaliers lost at home to the Knicks on Sunday, LeBron said something along the lines of, "It's only October, so I'm not going to get too upset right now."

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, on the other hand, wasn't happy at all with his team's effort in a 32-point home loss to Oklahoma City and didn't cheer up by Monday.

"No, I'm still (ticked), because I've had a chance to watch the tape three or four times," Hoiberg said. "It wasn't us. The thing that gives me hope is that this team has not gotten to that very often where we just shut it down.

"Our competitive spirit, we lost it. A lot of that happened when we stopped making shots. Make an impact somewhere else. If you're not making shots, go get a rebound. Go get a loose ball. Take a charge. Do something to impact the game in a positive manner. We didn't have that."

The Bulls finished the game shooting a miserable 28.2 percent from the field. Then again, they were facing a severe talent deficit against a team like the Thunder, which has MVP Russell Westbrook, plus all-stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

"Regardless of who we played, it has nothing to do with the effort we put out there, the focus we put out there, the energy," guard Justin Holiday said. "That's the one thing we expect day in and day out, that didn't happen and we can harp on it.

"Melo's going to make tough shots, Russ is going to get in the paint and do what he does. Paul is going do what he does. Those are things you can't really help. As long as you do your job, whatever outcome comes from that is fine. When we don't, yeah I have to say something about it."

No surgery for Mirotic:

Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson told WBBM Newsradio that Nikola Mirotic has chosen not to have surgery to repair facial fractures, which should heal on their own. Paxson also expects Mirotic to begin light exercise at the Advocate Center on Tuesday.

Mirotic suffered facial fractures and a concussion in an Oct. 17 practice altercation with teammate Bobby Portis. Mirotic is expected to be sidelined 4-6 weeks, while Portis was suspended eight games by the team. So far, there is no evidence of direct contact between the two players since the altercation and they are expected to be in the building at different times on Tuesday.

Starting spots still open:

Coach Fred Hoiberg spoke to reporters before practice on Monday, but he planned to follow through on Saturday's promise to make this practice the toughest of the season.

"It's going to be hard," he said.

Point guard Jerian Grant had a rough night against Oklahoma City, going 0-for-7 from the field. Whether the Bulls stick with Grant or make Kris Dunn the starter depends on the next two days of practice.

"I anticipate Jerian bouncing back," Hoiberg said. "What I saw the other night was we weren't making shots, including Jerian in that group. So, yeah, it's an important 48 hours and we'll see how it plays out."

Euro stars talk shop:

Before Monday's practice, rookie Lauri Markkanen was seen chatting with former Bulls star Toni Kukoc.

Markkanen said they'd met a few times before and while he's too young to remember the Bulls' dynasty years, he has watched video of Kukoc. Like Markkanen, Kukoc was a tall, multiskilled European.

"Yeah, I've seen some tape," Markkanen said. "He was a great player, obviously. But I'm just trying to take any word of advice from him just to get better. We were talking about post-up stuff this time."

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