After Friday's brutal home loss to Milwaukee, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg talked about having the best practice of the season on Sunday.
Well, was it?
Bulls game dayBulls vs. Detroit Pistons at the United Center, 7 p.m. Monday
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WLS 890-AM
Outlook: Most every team in the East is mediocre, so the Bulls and Pistons (14-15) are in the same boat right now. Detroit has lost two in a row by double digits. SF Tobias Harris is the Pistons' leading scorer at 16.1 ppg, followed closely by SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (14.8), PG Reggie Jackson (14.3) and C Andre Drummond (14.2). The Bulls usually have trouble containing Drummond, No. 2 in the league in rebounds, but he managed a middling 15 points and 10 boards when the Pistons beat the Bulls 102-91 on Dec. 6 in Auburn Hills. Jimmy Butler scored 32 points for the Bulls that night. Detroit has won three in a row at the UC.
Next: Washington Wizards at the United Center on Wednesday, 7 p.m.
-- Mike McGraw
"It was a good practice," Hoiberg said after a lengthy session at the Advocate Center.
What really matters is whether the Bulls can find a way out of their 10-game slump. At the start of the season, they were ready to play, but after a 10-6 start, they've gone 3-7 since the end of the circus road trip.
"The big thing we had early was just the swagger we were playing with, the confidence we were going out and playing with, getting down the floor and throwing lobs," Hoiberg said. "It was fun. I talked to them about this -- right now, it's a drag.
"You look out there, our body language, our inability to fight through adversity these last couple games. Going back to what made us successful early in the season, that was a confident basketball team that was having fun out there."
So maybe the Bulls should have focused on having the most fun practice of the season. There was some sort of holiday party going on after the session ended.
It was a brutal week for the Bulls, first squandering a 21-point lead to Minnesota, then getting thumped on consecutive nights by Milwaukee.
"This game is hard to play when it's a drag," Hoiberg said. "You wake up this morning and it was 25 below, you get your butts handed to you a couple days in a row, you've got to come in here and find a way to reverse that. Again, hopefully today we made some steps in the right direction."
Doug McDermott described some details from Sunday's practice, which began with a long, vocal film session.
"I'd say it started negative and then got into positive," McDermott said. "Everyone was getting after each other a little bit. I think our leaders really stepped up today in the meeting, D-Wade especially, really bringing us together. I think that's going to carry over this next week and hopefully we go on a little streak here."
McDermott said Wade served as a voice of reason. Not only are the Bulls still early in the season, the Eastern Conference standings are bunched up after Cleveland and Toronto at the top.
"He's been there. He's been through tough seasons, he's been through championship seasons," McDermott said. "He basically reminded us that it's Game 26. There's still a lot of basketball to be played. You can't hang your head. Nobody's going to feel sorry for us in this league. You have to continue to work and good things can happen."
As far as practice itself, Hoiberg said the Bulls got back to basics. Against the Bucks, simple things like getting back on defense and protecting the lane went haywire.
"It felt like training camp out there from the get-go," McDermott said. "We did a lot of the same drills. We got up and down quite a bit, scrimmaged more than we have all year. I think it was really good for us."
Hoiberg said Taj Gibson was fine after leaving Friday's game early with a hip contusion. Michael Carter-Williams practiced, but still isn't ready for full contact. The Bulls will face Detroit and Washington at home in the next three days.
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