Bulls lose to Celtics in familiar fashion, leaving another bad taste


The head chef was moved out of the kitchen.

The sous chef along with two previous maître d’s were all fired.

But maybe it’s time to say, “You know what? This food is just bad.’’

Bulls coach Billy Donovan isn’t about to do that to his players. Even in the wake of the 119-103 loss to the Celtics on Monday, in which the turnovers were rampant and the physicality displayed by the home team once again mushy.

“I thought we were careless in a lot of instances,’’ Donovan said of another night of spitting up the ball. “Give [Boston] credit in some instances in terms of rotating, but I think, again, it’s a trend with us. I shouldn’t say every game, but certainly a good number of games, it’s 18 turnovers. That’s about what we do per game. We’re just not going to win doing that. We don’t sometimes give ourselves a chance when we do that. You’re playing against a good team. It’s hard to just give a team 35 points, 34 points off turnovers.’’

It’s also hard when the starting unit is once again a no-show early in the game, allowing a visiting team to get very comfortable on offense and getting to its spots.

It happened Saturday against the Lakers, and again against the Celtics (10-6), as four of the five Bulls starters finished minus-20 or worse in the plus/minus category and had moments of low energy right out of the gate.

“We just got to change the mindset,’’ forward Lauri Markkanen said of the latest performance by his starting unit. “I think we’ve worked hard across the street [at the Advocate Center] and I think we’ve got keep doing that and bring that over here. I think it’s a mindset, just being tougher on both ends of the floor. Cutting to the rim, stuff like that. Taking better care of the ball. Obviously on defense, being more physical with them when they’re doing their stuff. I think it’s a mindset thing and we need to start doing that right now. Not a month from now. We need to start fixing that right now.’’

But where to begin?

Zach LaVine scored well, finishing with 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting, but his six turnovers were tough to overlook. Then there’s starting point guard Coby White, who scored five points and had one assist. One.

The Bulls’ bench did what they have done in most losses this season — tried to throw life preservers in the direction of the starters — but even their valiant effort wasn’t going to dig out of the hole created by the first unit.

“Yeah we definitely want them to play on one accord, but the first unit and second unit is two completely different units,’’ veteran backup Thad Young said. “It’s a veteran group coming off the bench that understands how to play with lots and lots of experience, lot of playoff experience in that group, and the first unit doesn’t have it. We’re just teaching those guys along the way and trying to get those guys brought up to speed as far as how we need to play and how that group should be playing as far as going out there to kind of get us some victories.’’

The good news is the Bulls won’t play again until Saturday, so they’ll have a lot of practice time to work on their issues. Turnovers should top the list.

“I think just mental lapses,’’ White said. “Not staying focused. Just not staying mentally strong. When we have one, we have them repeatedly.’’



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