Wendell Carter apologized to Bulls teammates after blowout loss in opener

Rob Schaefer
·3 min read

Carter apologizes to teammates, owns poor effort in loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Wendell Carter Jr. didn't mince words after the Bulls fell to the Atlanta Hawks 124-104 in a season opener that didn't feel as close as the final score.

“We just didn’t come to play as a team," Carter said. "I wouldn’t necessarily call it a wake up call. It’s reality. S--t, we gotta come and play, and we didn’t come to play on both ends.

"Lot of us got inside of our own heads, including myself, worrying about the stuff that happened rather than worrying about the moment. Just kind of speaking for myself, I’ve just got to do better, just doing what I do best. I just talked to my teammates, apologized for my effort that I showed tonight, and I will be better for my team.’’

Carter ended the night with six points, six rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 26 minutes of action. He connected on two of his five shots, but missed both 3-point attempts, bringing his mark in the latter category to 1-for-18 since the start of the preseason.

“That’s something I’ve always struggled with my whole career since I started playing basketball. When I work on a certain craft for a very long time, to see that ball just not fall, bounce around the rim, in and outs, I tend to get down on myself," Carter said. "I told (Bulls head) coach (Billy Donovan) I will better at it, especially with him giving me the green light... I’ve gotta be able to take those shots, make or miss, and still come back and play defense on the other end, no matter what’s going on in the offensive end.’’

The Bulls put forth a crumbly effort on the defensive side, allowing the Hawks to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3 and own the interior, scoring 50 paint points on 25-for-37 shooting (67.6 percent). All of those marks were considerably higher before garbage time took hold early, with Atlanta building as much as a 40-point lead midway through the third quarter.

As someone who's said he expects himself to anchor this team's defense, Carter took ownership over such an effort and responsibility for spurring a bounceback. That's why he apologized to teammates after the contest.

“I just didn’t show effort," Carter said. "I felt myself just being a step slow, I felt myself just worrying about the wrong things. This league is a game of runs. There’s too many good players in this league not to be runs, so I feel like for myself -- and I can only speak for myself -- I’ve got to learn that thing is going to happen.

 

"How we gonna react to it, how we going to come back from them making three or four baskets in a row. Are we going to finally get a stop and go down and get a good shot for ourselves? Or are we going to get internal and worry about our own stuff? That’s something I need to work on, and I feel like that’s something that could be a quick fix in terms of next game.’’

 

It doesn't get easier from here, with the Indiana Pacers coming to town Saturday. The Bulls and Carter hope accountability will be the start of a turnaround.

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