December 16, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) Chicago forward Nikola Mirotic was fined after he missed the team walkthrough before the Bulls' ugly 95-69 loss to Milwaukee on Friday night, and coach Fred Hoiberg kept him on the bench for the second night.

Mirotic said he forgot about the walkthrough, and he apologized to his teammates and Hoiberg. He said it had nothing to do with not playing Thursday night.

''No, I'm not that kind of guy. Even if things are not like how I would like them to be, I'm very professional,'' he said. ''It's not my first year here. Those guys respect me and I respect them. I would never do that, something like that.''

Hoiberg said Mirotic worked out Friday morning and they had a meeting, but he wasn't excused from the walkthrough. The 6-foot-10 Mirotic is averaging a career-low 8.7 points through 24 games this season. He is shooting 38 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point range, also career lows.

Asked about their meeting, Hoiberg said Mirotic's mindset ''was as good as he can be in a situation like that.''

''Obviously, any competitor isn't going to be happy when you get taken out of a lineup,'' Hoiberg said before the loss to Milwaukee. ''But talking to him about keeping himself ready ... It was good to see him in there this morning getting in extra work and getting up extra shots, keeping himself prepared when his name was called, and that's what we talked about. Obviously he's going to get another chance this year. He's got to keep working, keep himself ready, and when opportunity comes, go out and play well.''

The 25-year-old Mirotic made his NBA debut in 2014 and averaged 10.2 points while playing in all 82 games during his rookie year. He made 38 starts last season and averaged 11.8 points, but he has been plagued by inconsistency throughout his time in Chicago.

''It's been difficult,'' Mirotic said of sitting for consecutive games. ''It's the first time in my career that this is happening, but it's the coach's decision, so I have to respect that.''

Also Friday, guard Michael Carter-Williams got the cast off his injured left wrist and said he is hoping to practice next week. Carter-Williams has been sidelined since Oct. 31 with wrist and left knee injuries.

''I've been doing everything with my cast on,'' he said. ''I've been running and working out, just trying to stay in shape, so when I come back it won't take me long to get back to playing (in games).''

The Bulls acquired Carter-Williams in an October trade with Milwaukee.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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