Boylen believes there's strength in camaraderie

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • As the Bulls returned from a short holiday break on Thursday, coach Jim Boylen talked about how he appreciates how close this group of players appear to be.)

    As the Bulls returned from a short holiday break on Thursday, coach Jim Boylen talked about how he appreciates how close this group of players appear to be.) Associated press

 
 
Updated 12/26/2019 8:28 PM

Bulls coach Jim Boylen believes his team deserves high marks for togetherness. The team returned to practice late Thursday afternoon following a two-day holiday break.

"We came in today everybody was on time, everybody was here, everybody was ready to go," Boylen said at the Advocate Center. "That to me tells me I have a focused group. There's some joy with this group. They like playing together, they like being together, they get along well.

 

"They've had more dinners together and more time together than any team I've been a part of since I've been here, and that says something. We've got a good group of guys that care and they are trying."

Whether that camaraderie helps them win any games remains to be seen. The Bulls are counting on young players to carry the load, which has never been a winning formula in the NBA.

Boylen was asked if any of the other NBA teams he's worked with set standards for their team camaraderie.

"Spurs had the lunch crew, very tight," he said. "When I was in Indiana, we had a group that played one-on-one for hours (after practice). We had to kick them out. They would do the shooting game they called the Angry Birds, back in the day, and then they would play one-on-one. Paul George would play one-on-one for an hour. Lance Stephenson, (Leandro) Barbosa, whoever wanted to play.

"The thing I like about our group is in the meal room on the road there's eight or 10 of them who sit at the same table and they just talk and they laugh. I just sit there and listen to them and watch them. It's awesome. These things are important. We spend as much time together as we do, we have new guys. We still have to work on playing better basketball, but these things are important to me."

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Working the holiday:

Zach Lavine was asked Thursday if playing in one of those nationally-televised Christmas Day games is a personal goal.

"I only played in one of them (with Minnesota in 2016). It was really fun," he said. "I know Chicago in the past played in them all the time. You want to get back to one of those top eight or 10 teams that play on Christmas Day. That's what we look forward to. Still felt good to be at home on Christmas. I watched the Houston game and the Lakers-Clippers game."

Bull horns:

Bulls coach Jim Boylen expressed concern about the team's growing turnover total. They've been third-worst in the league over the past six games with 16.5 per contest. ... Center Cristiano Felicio was sent home from Thursday's practice with an illness. He has yet to play in a game this season, but has recovered from a broken wrist to play for the Windy City Bulls in recent days. ... Chandler Hutchison (shoulder) ran Thursday, but still hasn't seen any contact in practice.

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