CHICAGO • When the United Center went black on Friday and the spotlights started to swirl, Dwyane Wade was not where he was supposed to be.
Instead, for the first time in the 43 games he has played during his first National Basketball Association (NBA) season back home with the Chicago Bulls, he was not in the starting lineup.
There was no pre-game introduction as he took the court.
Wade and Jimmy Butler were being punished for creating an uproar with post-game comments on Wednesday in which they chastised their team-mates for a perceived lack of effort in a 114-119 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
So Wade sat at the start against the Miami Heat, his old team. He did not enter the game until midway through the first quarter, not long after Butler had made his own delayed entry.
Two hours later, Wade came out of the game as it was winding down. By then, the Bulls were on their way to losing again, 88-100.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said it was the worst performance by his team this season, although Wade, kept his own post-game evaluation fairly brief.
"I think we lost to a team who are playing very well lately," said Wade, who finished with 15 points in 28 minutes.
Butler was one of 13 for just three points in 33 minutes.
Wade's unfiltered criticism of his team came as his former Heat co-star LeBron James was publicly targeting the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers for not surrounding him and his team-mates with enough depth as they try to win a second straight title.
But unlike James, whose criticism seemed mostly limited to his club's management, Wade targeted his own team-mates.
Yet as the Bulls went through their Friday morning shootaround before playing the Heat, Wade remained largely unapologetic.
"When you're a leader, certain things you do and say aren't always going to be the popular thing in the locker room.
"I'm probably not liked in this locker room today. I'm OK with that," said Wade.