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Bulls bemoan lack of a 'killer instinct' following another close loss

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Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Common theme last night after the bad loss.

Fred Hoiberg:

You have that have that killer instinct. We have yet to find it this year.

Jimmy Butler:

I think you’ve either got (killer instinct) or you don’t. Right now, we don’t have it.

(sounds like it was asked of the players more than brought up on their own volition, but still...)

I'm not sure this makes sense. The Bulls have compiled a great early-season record (greater until this week, of course) because they were closing out teams in the final minutes.

By my totally-subjective criteria:

Games in hand they won comfortably: Nets, Nuggets, Sixers
Out-of-hand losses: @Hornets, @Pacers, Warriors (sorta)

Close wins: Cavs, Magic, Thunder, Hornets, Pacers, @Suns, Blazers, Spurs
Close Losses: Pistons, TWolves, Hornets (this week), Suns

So even after these past two games, they're still 8-4 in ‘close' (by my very subjective measurement) outcomes. Didn't they show that 'killer instinct' in some of their big wins, like over the Thunder or Cavs?

I think they did, and as such they're not really lacking in it. The issue is more that they are finding themselves in too many close games in the first place. I think, especially looking at Butler's full comments, that's more what he means: stepping on a bad team when they can.

Because if it's about the final stretches of games, the Bulls have actually been good. Or lucky. The issue of needing to grind out so many contests means they're just good enough to win more comfortably.