Bulls calls for better communication, execution late

CHICAGO -- The Bulls were one stop and one basket away from winning their home opener, but they didn't get either.

Instead, Detroit Pistons guard Ish Smith slid by Zach LaVine and split two Bulls defenders to hit a game-winning layup with five seconds left in a 118-116 win.

LaVine had the ball stolen before his shot at a game-winning 3-pointer, leaving the young Bulls in a glum mood after falling to 0-2. Jabari Parker left the locker room without talking with reporters, and Wendell Carter appeared disappointed that he wasn't in on the deciding sequence.

"[The Pistons] were small," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after the defeat. "So we went with a group that we felt got us back into the game and gave us a chance to win."

The lineup of Cameron Payne, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis, Parker and LaVine had helped lead a fourth-quarter comeback. Trailing 103-97, that lineup outscored Detroit 19-13 in a five-minute stretch, capped by a 3-pointer by LaVine to tie the game. After that shot, though, the Pistons called a timeout, giving the Bulls an opportunity to adjust their lineup for defensive purposes on the final play.

With a timeout remaining, Chicago could have adjusted its lineup again once it regained possession.

"At the end of the game, you don't want to give up a layup," Portis said. "That's the worst thing you want to do. You want to at least make them take a tough shot, and if they hit it, cool. Then you go about your business with five seconds left. But he got a straight line drive to the basket. That hurt. We have been sitting here talking about it the entire time."

While LaVine and Parker couldn't stop Smith, Carter -- one of Chicago's best defensive players -- was on the bench with a towel draped over his head. The rookie big man lamented the Bulls' lack of communication on defense and said he wished he could have been in on the final sequence.

"I respect coach," Carter said after the game, leaning up against his locker. "I respect whatever he wants to do, whatever he believes is right. I am here for my teammates. Whoever is on the court, I feel like they are going to do their job to the best of their ability to win the game.

"We came out on the short end, but there was a lot of things we did wrong. Without me being out there, I feel like we just didn't talk and communicate enough on the defensive end. That's what gave up the easy layup at the end."

There were some glimmers of improvement from the Bulls' season-opening loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

LaVine scored 33 points, becoming just the third Bulls player to score 30 in back-to-back games to open a regular season.

But Smith, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, proved victorious.

"We took adversity a lot better this game, whereas in Philly, they went on their run and we just laid down," LaVine said. "This time, we came back and got right into the game and had a chance to win, a really good chance to win. You've got to see the good with the bad, but it's just really deflating."

Following games, Carter goes back to his apartment and writes down ways he could improve in a notebook. After Saturday night's loss, he said, the bullet points would be to talk more on the defensive end and be better as a team defensively.

"Even though the game was so close out there, we gave up a whole lot of points," Carter said. "I mean, we scored a lot, but we gave up a whole lot of points. We can't win a lot of games doing that."