"That Can't Happen:" Zach LaVine Didn't Mince Words After Ugly Loss to Denver

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“That Can’t Happen:” Zach LaVine Didn’t Mince Words After Ugly Loss to Denver

Chicago Bulls

It may have only been the 13th game of the season, and it may have come against the two-time MVP. But the Chicago Bulls aren’t in a position to make excuses, and their max player knows it.

Zach LaVine didn’t mince words after Sunday night’s brutal 126-103 home loss to the Denver Nuggets. The two-time All-Star quickly deemed the performance “unacceptable,” rightfully placing the blame on … well … everyone.

“They were playing harder than us. And that can’t happen,” LaVine told reporters after the game. “You try to pick it up and against good teams it’s not going to work out that way all the time. So we didn’t look good offensively. We couldn’t stop them defensively, and that’s the result you get.

I think that’s on all of us collectively. You just can’t have a showing like that at home. It’s upsetting.”

You can grab the world’s loudest megaphone and say that again.

The Bulls were borderline unwatchable on Sunday. The defense allowed Denver to shoot 60.0 percent from the field with 33 assists. Meanwhile, on the other end, the Bulls played like one of the least energized units in the league despite having three offensive-minded All-Stars on the floor. For an organization that has made a clear goal of improving on last season’s mark, it was one heck of a discouraging performance.

And, again, this has nothing to do with the opponent and everything to do with the way the team approached the game. The Bulls’ lack of effort was genuinely concerning, especially when we consider this group had three days to prepare. While I can forgive a little early-game rust, in no world should they have looked like the more tired and apathetic team on the court.

The difference between this year’s Bulls team and last year’s Bulls team was supposed to be a sense of familiarity and direction. There shouldn’t be any confusion about how to play with a greater sense of urgency and what can happen when you take your foot off the gas. So while it’s at least encouraging to hear LaVine condemn the poor performance and DeRozan say that the team had a fruitful discussion about it, I have to wonder why this didn’t happen mid-game. Why wasn’t there a greater emphasis to fix things then and there?

Look, I’m willing to forgive a couple of bad performances during an 82-game season. But I can only do just that if the team can prove they learned something from it. Despite some additional rest, the schedule isn’t getting any easier over the next few weeks, as New Orleans, Boston, and Milwaukee make up three of their next four games. If the Bulls want to prove they aren’t just saying the right things, putting up an honest fight in those contests will be key.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.