SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It became the “All Bulls Watch,” not merely the never-ending “Derrick Rose Watch,” sometime Wednesday night as Chicago was enduring the embarrassment of a 121-79 loss to the Kings. Maybe it happened while Sacramento was shooting 54.2 percent or maybe while the visitors were hitting 2-for-21 on 3-pointers and getting beat on the boards by one of the worst-rebounding teams in the league.
After the game, the Bulls were put on notice.
Official word came courtesy of coach Tom Thibodeau, whose four-minute session with the media after the debacle at Sleep Train Arena was more like a steam letting. He called out the Bulls for lack of readiness, weak energy and … a bad job by the coach.
Asked what disappointed him most about getting blown out by the 23-43 Kings, Thibodeau said, “Just about everything.”
“Our level of intensity is very poor,” the coach fumed. “Our readiness to play is very poor. I was the most disappointed in myself. My job is to have them ready. We can’t come out like that. That’s on me. I didn’t like our intensity in the Laker game, I didn’t like it tonight. I’ve got to drive harder. And I will. There’s a fine line right now because we’re down people. For us, being shorthanded, we can never forget how hard we have to play. The guys that are there, I’ve got to get that intensity up. And I will. Trust me on that one.”
What can you do?
There was no sign of the Bulls practicing in the parking lot at 10 p.m. or the team walking the 75 miles to Oakland for the next game, Friday against the Warriors. But there’s always Thursday.
“You go on the road, you have to defend, you have to rebound, you have to take care of the ball, you have to play inside out, you have to share the ball, you have to do your job,” Thibodeau said. “But the most important thing is being ready to play. You have to be ready to play. This is a competition. It’s not a show. It’s a competition. You’ve got to compete. You’ve got to play with an edge. You’ve got to go after people.”
Playing Wednesday without Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and, of course, Rose, the Bulls lost for the fourth time in five games and the 11th in the last 17. They have shot 38.6, 37.1, 37 and 36.7 percent, respectively, in the most recent outings — even with the Kings at No. 29 in the league in field-goal defense at the start of the night.
“There’s two things you have to have to have great intensity,” Thibodeau said. “You have to have great concentration and you have to give great effort. That’s what gives you great intensity. When you’re lacking in intensity, you have to go back to those two things. You have to have ask yourself, ‘Are we as prepared as we need to be?’ And that’s my job. I’m going to make sure that happens.”
Have a fun next practice, Bulls.