Consistency a key for the Bulls in Game 5


May 26

Down 3-1 to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and coming off the heels of a heartbreaking overtime loss in Miami, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said prior to Game 5 at the United Center that very little would change in the team’s game plan, and, perhaps more importantly, their day by day mentality.

“Our team has approached everything the right way,” said Thibodeau. “We want to go step by step. After the last game, we did what we’ve done all season long. We studied what happened, we tried to make our corrections, we had a good practice. We want to be ready for tonight’s game and we want to be ready for that first quarter. That’s all we’ve been thinking about, that first quarter.”

Limiting turnovers is also a priority for Chicago. The Bulls averaged 10 turnovers per game through the first three games of the series, but committed 19 in their Game 4 overtime loss in Miami on Tuesday.

“Their defense was excellent,” said Thibodeau of the Heat. “They’re a hard team to throw over because of their size and athleticism. So you have to be smart with your passing and be careful not to overdribble or hold the ball.

“In a game that’s that tight, that’s a big thing,” he added of the turnovers.

With rookie center Omer Asik sidelined for the remainder of the postseason due to a fractured left fibula suffered in Game 3, Brian Scalabrine will be active for Game 5.

Asik actually attempted to play on the injury in Game 4, but had recurrent discomfort and a loss of function. Asik’s injury is expected to have a recovery timeframe of six weeks and will not require surgery.

As for Game 5, if the Bulls are to send the series back to Miami, consistency in their preparation and planning will be among the keys.

“We began the season thinking about how we have to prepare at end of season,” said Thibodeau. “The thing that has worked well for us is going step by step and not to get ahead of selves, not to look back, but to concentrate on what’s ahead of us.”

Audio—Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (05.26.2011):

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