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Steaming into All-Star break
Jerome Williams vented.
"I don't care if you're 14," he said. "If you're able to play and say you're ready for the NBA, then you have to be ready to do your job. Because the checks come, right? You can't blame [not knowing plays] on age. If you want to come into this league early, get ready to do the work."
Rick Brunson responded, offering the following in unsolicited fashion.
"Ask him how many times he has stayed after [practice] to help those guys?" Brunson said. "Look in the mirror."
Anybody ready for an All-Star break?
At least the Bulls entered their three-day hiatus in impressive fashion, looking like world beaters Thursday night in a 107-87 victory over Boston at the United Center.
Kirk Hinrich hit six three-pointers en route to a season-high-tying 23 points and added a season-high 14 assists as the Bulls enjoyed their biggest margin of victory this season.
Jamal Crawford scored a game-high 27 points with seven assists and helped hold Boston's Paul Pierce to four points, 19 below his average.
"I was disappointed in the way I played last game (1-for-7 shooting)," Hinrich said. "That makes you focus and concentrate. It's a great win."
But this being the Bulls, the performance was somewhat overshadowed by the comments of frustration from Williams, who has been offered to Philadelphia in exchange for Aaron McKie and Amal McCaskill. The deal is in Philadelphia's court as the Feb. 19 trade deadline approaches.
Williams unloaded on teammates whom he said he didn't want to name. But his age reference makes it clear that Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry and Crawford are the targets.
"It's getting better, but it's bad," Williams said. "As a professional, I look at it as a player has to take it upon himself. You can't rely on coaches to walk you through plays. You have to take the initiative to want to improve the team and know what's going on on the court as soon as the call is made.
"That's the least fans can expect. Know [your] jobs. That's like a trash man going to work and doesn't know where to pick up the garbage."
Williams said he didn't take offense to Brunson's comment and added he has confronted players who don't know plays.
"But coaches have told me not to pull them [aside] anymore," he said. "You can't keep dragging them along and say, 'Let me help you.' I did that when I first got here. Now you have to allow them to step up. They have to want to get better. The older guys can't be the only ones who want to win. Scottie Pippen running around with two swollen knees and broken cartilage, trying to [help] guys?
"I've been traded. I've had new coaches. I've had new systems. Give me a week and after that, it falls on me. Coach switched my position. I didn't really know [small forward]. But after a week's time, there isn't a call out there that I don't know where to goor at least be in the vicinity."
Curry said he knew all the plays but that broken plays are a part of the NBA. Eddie Robinson, whom coach Scott Skiles has criticized publicly for ruining plays, agreed the problem is widespread. Crawford didn't.
"This isn't young versus old," Crawford said. "We have to stick together. I think our chemistry is good, but then I hear stuff like this. It's like a soap opera. It's always something."
Skiles termed the whole situation nothing, although he did talk to Williams to learn his intent.
"If I factor in that we have a few guys on the team who have run nothing but the triangle, haven't run any basic pro sets or anything unique or creative, I feel they're coming along very well," Skiles said.
"I make statements all the time at practice to certain guys if I feel like guys don't know what we're doing. I say, 'It's going to be hard for you to get on the court.' But the guys have made good effort in that regard."
Talk about good effort. The Bulls shot 51.3 percent and led by double digits for the final 34 minutes 22 seconds.