Boylen slows the pace in debut, but Chicago Bulls lose to Indiana

 
 
Updated 12/4/2018 10:14 PM
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  • Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen questions a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Indianapolis.

    Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen questions a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Indianapolis.

Things were bound to be different for the Chicago Bulls in the first game with Jim Boylen as head coach.

The Bulls lost at Indiana 96-90 on Tuesday night and Zach LaVine felt like this one went a little slower.

"That was the first thing I noticed, just the score of the game," LaVine told reporters after the game. "I was like, 'Oh, wow, that's low.' It reminds me of the 90s."

The low score was not by accident. Boylen said after the game he brought the philosophy he learned during two years as an assistant coach in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich.

"That's my mentality, my road-dog mentality," Boylen said. "We run when we can, but we're going to set up and make people guard us through the clock. That's a Coach Pop thing, and I believe in it. You've got to play a little smarter on the road, maybe a little slower, stay in the game, make your run. I thought we did that."

Of course, the Bulls didn't make their run at the end. They got within 3 points a couple of times in the final three minutes but couldn't get a defensive stop when they needed one. Boylen agreed with the notion the Bulls got tired at the end.

"I did. I talked to my coaches after the game, I talked to John (Paxson) and Gar (Forman)," Boylen said. "I'm really disappointed in our conditioning. That's going to change."

So there's two things that were different under Boylen, who moved over from the lead assistant seat after the Bulls fired Fred Hoiberg on Monday.

Another big difference was just the presence of Lauri Markkanen, who played his second game after recovering from a right-elbow sprain.

Markkanen took a whopping 24 shots and led the Bulls with 21 points. He went 5-for-13 from 3-point range and added 10 rebounds. Justin Holiday added 15 points and played 41 minutes. LaVine finished with 13 points and 9 assists, while Wendell Carter Jr. had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

"I don't know if it was the plan (for Markkanen to shoot so much)," Boylen said. "I'm going to talk to him about it. You take 24, you've got to take 24 good ones. I thought there were times when he maybe could have put his head down on a hard close out (and drive). We'll work on that."

Inside the locker room, Markkanen endorsed slowing down the game.

"I think it's better just to kind of have time to think about it a little bit and now just go 100 miles an hour," he said. "I felt good. First quarter, I got a little bump on my quad. I think that slowed me down a little bit, but it's nothing serious."

Boylen also spent some time during Tuesday's game giving LaVine some private instruction.

"He's a great kid and he's very coachable," Boylen said. "I think my job is to turn him into an efficient, talented player. He's got to become more efficient in everything he does. He knows it. He gets it and he's good about it. I like his spirit. He looks me in the eye when I talk to him. He cares about getting better."

LaVine sent some praise back to Boylen after the contest.

"He's a fighter," LaVine said. "That's what we respect about him. We know how much he cares. He brings an intensity to the game. He fights for you and he's going to be straight up with you."

The Pacers played without all-star Victor Oladipo, out with knee soreness. Point guard Darren Collison led Indiana with 23 points.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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