Bulls get drilled by Raptors for 10th loss in 13
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter December 14, 2013 9:16PM
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, right, shoots against Chicago Bulls guard Marquis Teague during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: December 14, 2013 11:54PM
Joakim Noah is watching.
He made that clear to his teammates after the 99-77 loss Saturday against the Toronto Raptors at the United Center.
The Bulls have lost 10 of their last 13 games, the worst stretch in the Tom Thibodeau era.
“Losing sucks, there’s no question about it, but it also shows people’s true colors,’’ said Noah, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds. “Who is willing to keep fighting through the adversity or who is just going to say, ‘You know what, I don’t want no part of this, and I’m just going to take bad shots and just not care about making winning plays or playing defense.’ Everybody has to stick together, everybody has to jell and keep fighting together.’’
Noah was asked if he had seen anyone go off on his own yet and shot down that scenario.
“That’s the makeup of this team,’’ Noah said. “Everybody is high-character in this locker room. It’s tough to lose, but it’s all about how you deal with adversity.’’
The Bulls (9-13) have had their share of adversity the last few weeks with all the losses and the injuries. They’re still not over the loss of Derrick Rose for the season; they’re 3-9 since Rose went down with a torn meniscus. Noah, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng and now Kirk Hinrich have been in and out of the lineup the last few weeks, which led to the signing of free agent D.J. Augustin.
“Right when we get into a groove, another body goes down, but it’s the NBA,’’ Taj Gibson said. “Guys are going to get hurt. You just have to step up.’’
Carlos Boozer hasn’t. He had eight points and shot 4-for-18 against the Raptors (9-13). He disappeared in crunch time for the third game in a row.
“They’re swarming [Boozer] a lot quicker, and the one thing, as we add shooting, that gives him more space,’’ Thibodeau said. “He’s just got to keep working, got to run the floor more, get some easy ones.’’
The Bulls were outscored 26-11 in the fourth quarter. Four games in five nights could be catching up with them or maybe they can’t achieve any consistency with all the lineup shuffling. But Thibodeau won’t tolerate excuses.
“I don’t want to use four in five nights as an excuse,’’ Thibodeau said. “We’ve got to do better. I mean a 26-11 fourth quarter, that’s got to be your best quarter.’’
It was in Milwaukee on Friday, and there was hope when Augustin made a three-pointer a minute into the fourth to close the deficit to four. But the bottom fell out, and the Raptors stretched their lead back to 10 over the next two-plus minutes, and there were no answers.
“I felt like our effort was good in spurts but not as good as it has to be to win a game, so that was disappointing,’’ Noah said. “I know we’re capable of a lot better than that.’’