Williams came under scrutiny, mostly from local sports-talk radio shows, for being at the concert and then having one of his worst games of the season, a five-point, 1-for-12 shooting performance in a 114-111 overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings.
In the locker room after the game, Williams, one of only two players to stick around after a very long period before the media were allowed in, jokingly said that perhaps his poor performance was due to his attending the concert.
"The only reason I brought it up was because I thought it was mentioned before that," Williams said last night. "Other than that, it was nothing to me. We've done worse - late movies, late dinners. That's the only reason I mentioned it. I've heard that I made an excuse, which I've never made excuses for anything I've done, good or bad. I never take credit. I never try to downplay losing a basketball game. The only reason I mentioned it was because I thought it was brought up before."
Other players who attended the concert included Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes.
"We don't have heavy drinkers, we don't have heavy partyers,'' Williams said. "We just went to enjoy the concert. Actually, I was the only one who played badly that was there, so that kills that theory. The concert was over at 10 o'clock. We went to a concert. We weren't crowd surfing or anything. We were sitting comfortably in a suite and sat back and enjoyed the show."
Hawes collected 16 points and 15 rebounds against the Kings, while Holiday had a team-high 28, including 16 in the fourth quarter.
If some people are questioning Williams' dedication, it should be pointed out that after staying behind for a couple of days on a West Coast trip earlier this season to witness his daughter's birth, Williams paid for his own early-morning flight to meet the team in Phoenix; that night he scored 10 points in 23 minutes.
"I don't sleep anyway [with a newborn in the house]," Williams said. "Like I said, if that was made for an excuse for us losing the game, I was the only one who played bad who was there. That's it. I really don't think it's that big of a deal."
Coach's top coaches
One Chicago media member mentioned to Doug Collins that he was a serious candidate for coach of the year, then asked Collins whom he would vote for if he could. Collins said he had two candidates; not surprising, Chicago's Tom Thibodeau was one, along with Portland Trail Blazers head man Nate McMillan.
"Tom has paid his dues," Collins said of the Bulls' coach, in his first NBA head-coaching position after 20 years in the league. "He's a basketball lifer in a lot of ways. From my understanding, he eats, sleeps and drinks basketball. He's had some great basketball teachers."
Collins explained that among the things Thibodeau has done with the offense is incorporate plays from Utah's system for former Jazz player Carlos Boozer and Philadelphia plays for former Sixer Kyle Korver, "and he's mixed those in, and that's what I think you do.
"Nate had a lot of guys out early with injuries and then they made some trades," Collins said. "He's done a great job."
Going into last night's game, the Bulls had won 14 consecutive games at the United Center. That's their second-best run since the 1997-98 team won 17 straight at home. *
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