Eddy Curry rode a stationary bicycle, warming up for a game in which he didn't play, when his cell phone rang inside the Bulls' locker room Wednesday night.
That's taboo, per team rules. Ten seconds later, it rang again.
"Turn it off," Kendall Gill snapped. "Be a pro."
Curry, clearly embarrassed, complied. But Curry couldn't help stifling a laugh when he discovered who claimed to be callingEddie Robinson, from the other side of the room.
Want an explanation for the Bulls' 98-65 blowout loss to Detroit at the Palace of Auburn Hills besides, of course, a large disparity in talent and effort?
It can be found in three simple words from Gill. Be a pro.
Pregame hijinks are OK for the league's best team, which the Bulls once were. They look unprofessional for the league's worst team, which the Bulls became when Orlando beat Washington earlier in the night.
"We've been harping on [professionalism] all season," Gill said. "If they're not going to change, there's only one thing to do. The future of the franchise is dependent on the young players. They have to be pros and want to get better. That's the bottom line.
"I didn't want to be out there playing because it was so embarrassing. The only reason I finished is because I'm a pro."
And Gill, who led the Bulls with 12 points, played with a swollen and discolored right eye that has a scratched cornea.
The pregame silliness extended once the game began, even though Curry's bruised right thigh and unprepared wardrobehe had only a T-shirt and jeanskept him from joining his teammates on the bench.
The Bulls missed their first eight shotsfour of them air ballsgave up four fast-break dunks and fell behind 9-0 en route to their ninth straight loss in this series.
Detroit also extended its NBA record by holding its fourth straight opponent to fewer than 70 points. The Bulls shot 30.9 percent in suffering their greatest margin of defeat this season.
Book your reservations to Secaucus, N.J., for the draft lottery. This free fall could get even uglier.
"I'm trying to find a group of guys who are going to follow what we're doing every night no matter what," coach Scott Skiles said. "Right now, I'm having difficulty doing that."
Which is why Jamal Crawford played only 16 minutes.
Curry said he suffered the injury late in Tuesday night's loss to Philadelphia, in which he grabbed one defensive rebound in 34 minutes.
"On the plane, I tried to ice it and keep it bent," Curry said. "But it tightened up."
Linton Johnson, one of the few Bulls with a pulse against Detroit, started in place of Curry and had 10 points and his second straight 14-rebound game.
Bits: Robinson was the only dressed Bull not to play and has played 34.9 seconds in six games. There's another connection to Paul Shirley signing a 10-day contract with the Bulls besides director of player personnel Gar Forman, whom Shirley knew from Iowa State. Shirley's agent is Keith Glass, Skiles' longtime adviser. New hire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scouted the game for the Knicks.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times