Boylen, Bulls take time out for frustration

  • Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen calls his team during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Chicago, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

    Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen calls his team during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Chicago, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. Associated Press

Updated 2/23/2020 7:25 PM

After Saturday's loss to Phoenix, Bulls coach Jim Boylen and Zach LaVine had a conversation about things that didn't go right during the game. Then before Sunday's game against Washington, Boylen had a healthy conversation with reporters about the state of player relations.

"I thought we were frustrated," Boylen said Sunday. "He's frustrated. I think our team is frustrated. Nobody likes to lose games. We're competitive people. I coach to the end of games. You guys know that."


When Boylen called his usual late timeout in the final minute against the Suns, LaVine was caught on camera complaining about the decision. It's the second time in the past month LaVine could be seen taking verbal exception to a late time out. After Saturday's game, LaVine laughed off the controversy.

"Could some people judge that timeout as unnecessary? Of course they can," Boylen said. "You can judge it any way you want. He's a fighter. We're going to fight to the end. I'm going to coach our guys to the end. I think there's a misconception that Zach and I only talk when there's something good to talk about or something bad to talk about. We talk all the time. I think it's a healthy, productive relationship."

The Bulls lost their seventh straight game against Phoenix after owning a 17-point lead at one point. They're dealing with an absurd number of injuries right now, so it makes no sense to blame anyone for the skid.

"You can video me on a 2-on-1 when we turn it over and I make an expression," Boylen said. "You can video me on a wide open 3 we miss and then on the other end they make a contested 3 and I make an expression. You can do that on every clip and every situation.

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"We were down 10, I called a timeout to coach my team. We were down 8 with 40 seconds to go and won (on Nov. 23 in Charlotte). So, it does happen. But I can see where people would think it would be unnecessary. That's OK."

Boylen defends timeouts:

Calling late timeouts in a game that's essentially decided is nothing unusual in basketball. Plenty of coaches believe that's how you set the tone for your team to keep fighting until the final buzzer.

Coach Jim Boylen admitted Sunday that sometimes there's a little defiance thrown in too. As in, refusing to accept that a game is over.

"Yeah, I don't like losing. We had a 17-point lead, I thought we played our hearts out -- short-handed -- and we battled," Boylen said. "We're up 1 with seven minutes to go and we didn't play very well the last seven minutes. But yeah I'm hanging onto that.

"We're trying to establish that we're going to play till the end and we're going to compete. We've had some tremendous comeback wins this year where we've kept playing, so I think the guys get that. But I think what we can't do is not expect people to be frustrated with a losing streak or a home loss. It's a healthy thing that you've got competitive people that are upset that we're hurt and we're fighting to win games."

Injury report stagnant:

There was no change in the Bulls' injury report Sunday. Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle), Otto Porter (foot) and Denzel Valentine (hamstring) are essentially day-to-day. Center Luke Kornet was in a walking boot and using crutches Sunday with a left ankle sprain. Lauri Markkanen is still facing an indefinite return from a stress reaction in his pelvis and Kris Dunn (knee) is at least a month away.


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