For Thibodeau and the Bulls, it’s on to the next game


Mar 29

With an 82-game schedule that usually doesn’t provide more than a day or two in between contests, the NBA season rarely allows teams to enjoy any one particular victory for too long.

So it’s easy to understand why neither Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau or his team are spending much time basking in the glow of Wednesday night’s victory over the Heat that saw Miami’s 27-game winning streak come to an end. They’d rather work towards obtaining a fourth consecutive win in Dallas on Saturday afternoon (1:00 p.m. CT | CSN-Chicago | ESPN 1000).

Kirk Hinrich

“We’re not thinking about the Heat game,” Thibodeau said following practice at the Berto Center on Friday. “We’re thinking about the Dallas game. That’s where our focus needs to be. For us, the formula is always the same: Know your opponent well, put everything you have into getting ready, and then give maximum effort.”

Nazr Mohammed, averaging 6.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 19.2 minutes in four starts this season, said he’s not worried about any kind of emotional letdown when it comes to taking on the Mavericks.

“In all honesty, I swear I forgot about the Miami game,” said Mohammed. “A day at home with the family, getting ready and tried to watch some of the Dallas game [last night]. I’ve been focused on Dallas and that pretty much started [Thursday].

“It was a great win, but we have to be real with ourselves,” Mohammed added. “It was a regular season game, a regular season win. It was definitely great for our psyche and our confidence, but at the same time, if we go out to Dallas and look past them, we don’t even want to be talking about the Miami game.”

Thibodeau said Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) and Joakim Noah (right foot) will be game-time decisions for Saturday afternoon’s game in Dallas. Richard Hamilton (lower back) and Derrick Rose (left knee) remain sidelined.

“This is the time of year you want to make sure you’re cleaning things up in terms of health,” said Thibodeau, suggesting a conservative approach. “You don’t want things to linger.”

As for the Mavericks (35-37), they’re trailing the Los Angeles Lakers by a game and a half for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Dallas got off to a slow start with Dirk Nowitzki missing the first 27 games of the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to his right knee. But Nowitzki has returned to form as of late, averaging 20.7 points over his last 10 games.

“They’ve been playing real well and they had a tough game [Thursday] night,” Thibodeau said of the Mavericks, who suffered a 103-78 blowout at home to the Indiana Pacers. “But they’re playing at a very high level and we have to realize they are a team that’s fighting for a playoff spot. If we’re not ready, we’ll be in trouble.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below: