Thibodeau: Bulls missing their edge defensively


Dec 4

In each of their last five games, the Chicago Bulls have found themselves trailing after the first quarter. Twice, it’s been a double digit deficit that they’ve faced.

While in two of those games, the Bulls came back and won, the slow starts were too much to overcome against premier Eastern Conference opponents such as the Celtics and Magic.

On Saturday prior to the Bulls’ game against the Houston Rockets, Coach Tom Thibodeau addressed his team’s struggles at the beginning of games and offered his thoughts on how to correct that trend.

“Readiness to play and preparation; establishing an inside-out game,” offered Thibodeau. “I think that we’re missing our edge defensively. Early in the year we played with an edge and our defense was a lot better to start the game. I thought that helped us.

“Right now, we don’t have an edge defensively and we’re not rebounding well, so we’re not in the open floor,” Thibodeau continued. “It’s hard for us to play with a pace and high energy offense. We’ve got to get that edge back.”

Thibodeau has stayed away from making any changes to the starting lineup with the exception of inserting Boozer at power forward upon his return from injury on Wednesday.

While Boozer, a two-time All-Star, has gotten off to a slow start through two games, averaging 8.5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals per game in just 21.5 minutes, Thibodeau said that no other changes to the starting five are imminent and he called the shortcoming collective.

“You can’t look at any one particular guy and say that’s the guy that’s not playing well,” said Thibodeau. “As a group, we’re not playing well. I think that we have to make some corrections with what we’re doing defensively first, rebounding-wise. We’ll go from there.”

Breaking down Chicago’s last five games and the first quarter deficits they’ve faced:

Dec. 3: Bulls @ Boston, 31-19 (Loss)
Dec. 1: Bulls vs. Orlando, 28-22 (Loss)
Nov. 27: Bulls @ Sacramento, 28-21 (Win)
Nov. 26: Bulls @ Denver, 25-20 (Loss)
Nov. 24: Bulls @ Phoenix, 36-17 (Win)

Bulls vs. Rockets season notes

Last season, Chicago swept the series with Houston for the first since the 2001-02 campaign … in their first meeting last season, Chicago snapped a three-game road losing streak against the Rockets with a 104-97 victory (01/23/10) … Brad Miller posted 25 points (26 minutes played), and Taj Gibson tallied a double-double with 16 points and 14 boards … Houston has won 15 of its last 24 against Chicago, seven of its last 11 in Chicago … on Feb. 28, 2009, the Bulls snapped a six-game losing streak to the Rockets with a 105-102 win at the UC; Chicago outscored the Rockets 34-14 in the fourth quarter and overcame a 17-point deficit with 5:51 to play (down 99-82), as they outscored Houston 23-3 to close out the win … the Bulls are 39-20 all-time against the Rockets in Chicago and just 20-38 in Houston … last season against the Rockets, Derrick Rose averaged 23.5 ppg, 6.0 apg and 5.0 apg in 41.0 mpg.

Audio—Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (12.04.10):

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