If the slumping Bulls are down in the dumps, they’re doing a great job of hiding it.
Yes, they’ve lost six of seven games since the debacle against Tom Thibodeau’s Timberwolves, but they’re still acting and speaking in harmony.
“I want to win, as everyone does in here,” Jimmy Butler said. “But we have to stay high-spirited, man. If it gets gloomy in here, everything will go downhill very quickly. We have to keep our heads up and know brighter days are ahead.
“We’re fine. We’re in this together. We preach that to one another every single day. We’re all we have, these coaches and players. We know what we’re capable of and we have to get back on track.”
They showed enough fight Sunday against the Spurs to rally from an early slaughter. They missed their first six shots. LaMarcus Aldridge made his first 11, mostly on jumpers in front of the 3-point line.
“He is an elite long-two guy,” Butler said. “You continue to challenge shots, and if he makes them, you tip your hat to him.”
Coach Fred Hoiberg said the Bulls changed coverages, using the quicker Taj Gibson to defend Aldridge rather than the taller Robin Lopez.
The Bulls trailed 30-10 after about eight minutes but led 70-67 midway through the third quarter.
Asked about the team vibe, Rajon Rondo replied: “It’s as good as it can be right now. It’s a competitive group of guys. Personally, I hate losing. We have another quick turnaround. We have to wash this one away and figure out how to get a win at home, protect the crib.”
The Bulls are in a rugged stretch: five games in seven days, including Monday night’s meeting with the Pacers at the United Center.
On the brink: Michael Carter-Williams could be cleared to play Monday for the first time since Oct. 31, when he suffered knee and wrist injuries in an on-court fall.
Asked what he can do to add to the team, he said, “Positive energy and be a leader on the floor.”
Carter-Williams shot 4-for-15 in three games before his injury with eight assists and six turnovers, but all were Bulls victories.
Bone to pick: Hoiberg twice protested offensive fouls. He confirmed they were for moving screens but did not want to go public with his specific gripe.
“That’s all I’ll say,” he said.