Basketball: Bulls in crisis mode as players hold meeting with new coach Boylen after record loss

Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen made five-player substitutions in a historic loss against the Boston Celtics.
Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen made five-player substitutions in a historic loss against the Boston Celtics.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

(REUTERS) - The Chicago Bulls are pushing back against head coach Jim Boylen after only three games at the helm, according to multiple published reports.

Bulls players reportedly held a team meeting on Sunday (Dec 9) instead of taking part in a scheduled practice after back-to-back games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics. Chicago held on for a two-point upset win over the Thunder before making history with a franchise worst 56-point 133-77 loss against Boston.

The team is 1-2 under Boylen, who replaced Fred Hoiberg as head coach earlier this week. Hoiberg was considered to be a players' coach, while Boylen has not disguised his plans to be a more confrontational and intense taskmaster on the Bulls' sidelines.

Boylen made five-player substitutions in a historic loss against the Celtics and said he benched his starters because he wanted them to be fresh for a Sunday practice.

Instead, the players stayed off the court to chat with their new head coach.

Boylen had minced no words after the loss, saying: "I think your play is embarrassing... I worked for [San Antonio Spurs head coach] Gregg Popovich. He subbed five guys a ton of times. Nobody says a word to him about it. He felt that was best for the team. I felt that was best for the team where we were at."

"We were very honest with one another; very direct," Bulls rookie forward Wendell Carter Jr. said to ESPN.com.

Zach LaVine said he and his teammates wanted an explanation from Boylen regarding their effort level and their amount of conditioning.

"We understand what he says in the media, and you can take it good or bad,"LaVine said. "But I think the main thing is how we're going to respond to it tomorrow (against the Sacramento Kings)."