By K.C. Johnson, Tribune reporter
12:35 AM CDT, March 14, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For a coach already known for his intensely detailed preparation and mental and physical demands on players, Tom Thibodeau sounded the warning bell after his most lopsided loss as Bulls' coach.
"I'm probably most disappointed in myself," Thibodeau said. "My job is to have them ready. We can't come out like that. That's on me. I have to drive harder. I have to get the intensity up. And I will. Trust me on that."
The Kings' 121-79 dismantling of a Bulls team without Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and Richard Hamilton served up humiliation on multiple levels.
The Kings, topped by Tyreke Evans' 26 points, led by as many as 45. They scored an opponent-season-high 65 first-half points. They broke out the rarely seen 45-10, first-half run to, well, hide.
"It was embarrassing, man," said Carlos Boozer, who scored a team-high 21 points. "It's just hard to put into words. We have a lot of people out. When you have people out, everyone has to play a little harder and do a little more. We know we're capable of doing that because we've done it before.
"But we'll have a quick exit if we're playing like this in the playoffs."
Indeed, the Bulls are just 7-12 since moving to a season-high 11 games above .500 on Jan. 30. And after clanking their way to 38.6 percent against the Kings, they have shot below 39 percent for four straight games.
The previous worst loss under Thibodeau came on Feb. 7 at Denver, a 32-point drubbing.
"We played poorly. I coached poorly," Thibodeau said. "My job is to have them ready. You go on the road and you have to defend, rebound, take care of the ball, play inside out, share the ball, do your job. But the most important thing is you have to be ready to play. "This is a competition. This isn't a show. You have to compete. You have to play with an edge. You have to go after people."
The Bulls, behind Boozer's strong start, played well in taking a 16-15 lead on a Boozer jumper. Then the wheels fell off.
"We're not competing the way we're supposed to be competing," Joakim Noah said. "We have a lot of guys out. Our margin of error is very small. If we don't go into games with the right mindset, then we have no chance.
"Each and every single one of us has to look in the mirror and say, 'You know what? It starts with me. I have to work harder. I have to come more prepared.' We know that we're capable."
But are they with so many injuries? A tough Golden State team awaits them Friday.
"There are two things you have to have to get intensity," Thibodeau said. "You have to have great concentration and you have to give great effort. When you're lacking in intensity, you have to go back to those two things. You have to ask yourself: Are we as well prepared as we need to be? That's my job. I'm going to make sure that happens."
Consider the Bulls warned.
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