After it was over, the Bulls didn't look or sound like a group ecstatic to keep its playoff hopes alive. They didn't celebrate as if this was the start of the momentum they've been searching for most of the season. The vibe in the locker room seemed like that of a team that is just ready to get the season over with.
KC Johnson had something similar
That's one of the most subdued postgame locker rooms I've ever covered following GW shot. "Guys are nicked up, hurting," Butler said.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 30, 2016
And indeed, the injuries keep coming. Add Derrick Rose back to the list, as he appeared to hyperextend his left elbow fighting through a screen (no wonder that's so rare!) but no damage was revealed in the x-ray post-game. And Taj Gibson finally succumbed to his lingering rib injury and didn't play all second half.
Somehow the Bulls still won, but it was more an epic choke by the Pacers (who really needed this game), as the Bulls themselves had a dismal 4th quarter scoring drought and didn't look much better than they had been in their 4-game losing streak. Maybe Fred Hoiberg had a big speech that caused the Pacers to miss every wide-open three pointer.
I don't blame the players, here. I think as fans we're all checked out too. If they manage to defy the odds and sneak into the 8th spot it'll be more annoying than anything. For what it's worth, Chris Mannix (new to Woj's The Vertical) reported lingering issues with the Bulls locker room.
Chemistry issues continue to plague the Bulls' locker room, league sources told The Vertical. Grumblings range from Hoiberg's inability to hold players accountable - a complaint registered publicly by Butler last December and one that lingers in the locker room today, a source said - to Butler's shoddy shot selection to the disconnect within the team offensively. Take Tuesday, for instance. Chicago will take the win, but the Bulls scored five points in the final nine minutes, a stretch highlighted by possessions with few passes and forced, contested shots.
While I thought this was more humorous than damning, check out Butler and Rose on that final possession.
::Charlie Brown Music:: https://t.co/RegLXVGxcq— BullsBlogger (@BullsBlogger) March 30, 2016
Mannix goes on to speculate that a full-on rebuild could be on the horizon this summer, with both Butler and Rose deals entertained.