The Bulls suffered another frustrating defeat on Wednesday night, blowing a 10-point lead in the final three minutes and losing 119-114 to the Hawks. The collapse represented a boiling point for a pair of Bulls stars, as Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler questioned the effort and heart of their teammates in post-game comments, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
“I wish I could say that everyone in here is going to go home and not eat tonight. I can’t say that. I don’t know that they care enough,” Wade said. “Games are supposed to hurt. You’re not supposed to sleep. You’re not supposed to want to talk to anybody. I don’t know if that is in guys in this locker room. Hopefully, they can prove me wrong. But I will challenge them to see if losses like this hurt.
“They have to figure it out as individuals,” Wade added. “Guys have to look at themselves in the mirror and see if you really care enough. Are you putting everything into it for your teammates and for yourself? I would say no.”
Butler echoed Wade’s sentiments, questioning whether their teammates were as upset about the team’s bad losses this season as they should be.
“If you don’t come in this (expletive) pissed off after you lose any game, something is wrong,” Butler said. “This is your job. This is what you’re supposed to love to do, and I don’t think that everybody looks at it that way. I want to play with guys who care, guys who play hard, who want to do well for this organization, who want to do whatever it takes to win.”
Wade and Butler also questioned the Bulls’ shot-attempt decisions down the stretch, with players like Paul Zipser and Nikola Mirotic taking – and missing – key three-pointers late in the game. Butler suggested that the club needs to make a better effort to get the ball into the hands of its best players in key late-game situations, while Wade acknowledged that players should be ready to take open shots, but added that “you better have made that shot a lot of times and you better have put the work in — and I don’t see that enough.”
“Me and Jimmy, Coach puts the ball in our hands a lot to make plays, to make shots. That’s our job,” Wade said. “I think for the majority of the season we’ve done it when (it) counted, when we needed to. I can look at Jimmy and say Jimmy is doing his job. I think Jimmy can look at me and say Dwyane is doing his job. I don’t know if we can keep going down the line and be able to say that.”
The Bulls remain in the playoff picture in the East, as their 23-24 record is good for the No. 8 seed. However, given the frustration in the locker room, and the criticisms coming from team leaders, it would be surprising to see Chicago stand pat over the next few weeks. The club’s front office figures to explore ways to improve – or shake up – the roster prior to the trade deadline, though Butler had no interest in offering suggestions for potential deals.
“That’s not my job,” Butler said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “I don’t give a damn about no trade deadline. I just want to win now. Not later. Now.”