Taj Gibson Says He's 'Embarrassed' by Bulls' Play During Recent Slump

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2016

Mar 21, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) looks to pass the ball against the Sacramento Kings during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson wasn't happy, to say the least, after his team lost two straight games to the bottom-dwelling New York Knicks on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Bulls, who are now 1.5 games behind the Detroit Pistons for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot, saw their deficit in the postseason race increase after losing to a Knicks team that had lost 21 of its previous 27 games. 

Losing to that kind of team didn't sit well with Gibson, who spoke with the media after Thursday's 106-94 loss at Madison Square Garden, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com:

Hell yeah, I'm embarrassed. I take pride in wearing this jersey. I love wearing the Bulls jersey. Especially what we've been through, I take pride in playing for Chicago. When I wear that jersey, I try to go out there and play my heart out. And it's frustrating when we come up short, and we look at ourselves, we're losing to ... I don't want to criticize any[body], [but] trash teams. Everybody's in the NBA for a reason, but we're playing against teams that are not playing for anything, and we're just laying down. It feels like now we're a target. It feels like teams are not taking us serious.

Knicks forward Derrick Williams responded to Gibson's comments:

Gibson noted neither team is playoff bound at the moment:

Chicago lost Wednesday night's game at the United Center, 115-107, and rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis put up a career-high 29 points on the Bulls in the process:

Porzingis followed it up with 19 on Thursday night, while Gibson had 10 points in each game as he watched his team lack a competitive punch:

Teams are more eager to play us. [In years prior,] it was vice versa. They knew we were coming in to punch people in the face and keep playing. It's just, it's hard, man. It really eats me up inside. It's really hard to sleep at night knowing it's coming down to the wire, and our effort isn't there. It's really frustrating.

In fact, Gibson said after Thursday night's game that he had "never been so frustrated and mad before."

With 11 games remaining in the regular season, Gibson has to channel that anger and frustration into something productive for his team.

"At times, I think we lose track of what we're playing for," Gibson said. "We're not just playing for ourselves —we're playing for the city of Chicago, and we're playing to wear that 'Bulls' across our chest."

Out of their final 11 games, seven of them will come against playoff teams, and if the Bulls play the way they played against the Knicks, then their season is going to end earlier than desired.   


Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com