Days after his longtime friend and former teammate laid into his team through the media, Dwyane Wade did the same to his Chicago Bulls.
"I don't know if they care enough," Wade said of his teammates after Chicago blew a 10-point lead in the final three minutes to lose to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. "So I can't say it is. I wish I could say that everyone in here is going to go home and not eat tonight. I can't say that. I wish I could, but I don't know that they care enough.
"Games are supposed to hurt. You're not supposed to sleep. You're not supposed to want to talk to anybody. These games are supposed to hurt. I don't know if that is in guys in this locker room. Hopefully they can prove me wrong, but I will challenge them to see if losses like this hurt.
"We can play bad, we can miss shots, but we're having too many of these lapses. We're having too many of these losses. This just can't be acceptable if you want to do something besides have an NBA jersey on and make some money. That's all we're doing around here."
After a 9-5 start to the season that was aided by a friendly schedule—loaded with bad teams and good teams playing on the second night of a back-to-back—the Bulls have gone 14-19 since, clinging to the last slot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 23-24 record.
Jimmy Butler shared similar sentiments to those of Wade, plus some profanity.
"Motherf**kers just got to care if we win or lose," Butler said. "At the end of the day, do whatever it takes to help the team win. You play your role to the tee. Be a star in your role, man. That's how you win in this league, man. You have to embrace what this team, what this organization needs for you to do on either end of the floor.
"On top of everything else, just play every possession like it's your last. We don't play hard all the time. It's very disappointing whenever we don't play hard."
Last season, Butler encouraged head coach Fred Hoiberg to "[coach] harder."
"If you're not pissed off that you lost, man, something is wrong," Butler said on Wednesday. "This is your job. This is what you're supposed to love to do, and I don't think that everybody looks at it that way.
"I want to play with guys that care, guys that play hard, that want to do well for this organization, that want to win games, man. Do whatever it takes, just win. Who cares who is shining? When we're winning, everybody looks great, everybody is doing what they're supposed to do. I don't think that's happening right now, I really don't."
Butler scored 40 points in the loss to Atlanta. Wade dropped 33. Only one other member of the Bulls, Doug McDermott, finished in double figures, with 10.
"I don't know what happened," Wade said. "But we continue to be in these kinds of situations and lose games like this. Everyone don't care enough. You got to care enough, man. It's got to mean that much to you to want to win. And it doesn't. So I don't know what happened.
"I don't know how you fix it. It just doesn't mean enough to guys around here to want to win ballgames. It pisses me off, but I can't be frustrated, and I can't care too much for these guys. They have to care for themselves. You got to do better. You got to do better with knowing where your shot's coming and knock them down. You got to do better with knowing film, knowing personnel. Just as a team, just got to do better, man."