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Bulls trying to find their early season rhythm
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Nov 4
While there is a lot of basketball left to be played this season – 79 more games to be exact – it’s safe to say the Bulls didn’t envision themselves opening with a record of 1-2.
And while many of the storylines, whether they are positive or negative, seem to be magnified because it’s so early in the season, that doesn’t mean Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is taking anything lightly.
“I worry about it all the time,” said Thibodeau following Monday’s practice of the team’s early struggles. “You’ve got to change it. You’ve got to put the work into changing it. Your mindset has to change. I want to get away from the notion that, ‘We’ll be OK. We’ll be OK. We’ve got a lot of time.’ That’s not the mentality that you have to have if you want to be a good team.
“You’ve got to correct things immediately; you got to put the work into it,” said Thibodeau. “You can’t hope it to happen; you have to make it happen. And we need everybody doing it. We can’t rely on a certain two or three guys to do everything. Our entire team is needed. This isn’t a Derrick [Rose] issue, this is a team issue and we have to correct it.”
After a remarkable preseason, Rose hasn’t shot the ball well so far in the regular season, making only 28.8 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from long range. Not only is he looking to get himself on track, but he understands Thibodeau’s urgency of righting the ship from a team perspective.
“He’s been doing that the whole season, even in preseason,” said Rose of Thibodeau. “It’s up to us to go out there and play the games the way that he wants us to play. That’s to be aggressive and play with an edge and we’ve got to work on it every day. That’s something we’ve got to work on as a team, not individually. Individually you can work on your game, but as a team, as a whole, we’ve got to put out a better effort.
“It’s only three games; everybody is looking at it like it’s 30 games because of the expectations of this year,” added Rose. “I think that we’re going to be fine but we’ve just got to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball.”
Though Thibodeau at first declined to answer a question about Rose not getting calls from the officials when he attacks the basket — through three games he’s attempted just 10 free throws, making nine of them — he did share a few relevant thoughts about his point guard’s style of play as well as his demeanor.
“I’ll say this – I don’t know anyone who drives as hard as he does, nor as fast as he does,” said Thibodeau of Rose. “I think sometimes he’s penalized for being a nice guy. I’ll leave it at that.”
As for Rose, he also took the high road when asked about the officials.
“I can’t complain about it,” he said. “It’s just the way the game is going. All I can do is continue to drive and I guess try to get fouled.”
In other words, don’t expect any changes from Rose when it comes to playing aggressively.
Meanwhile, with a visit to Indiana on Wednesday to face the Pacers up next, Thibodeau knows a high level effort will be necessary to come away with a victory, citing once again the need for a 48-minute effort with great intensity.
“If you don’t play this game with an edge, you’re going to have a problem,” said Thibodeau. “And you have to do it for an entire game. You can’t feel good about yourself when you get a big lead.”
Thibodeau constantly preaches preparation as a vital element to the team’s success. Judging by a three-hour practice on Monday, part of which was a film session, Chicago will be ready to face their Central Division rival.
“It was good,” said Rose. “We really got up and down, scrimmaged a little bit, and worked on executing all our plays. [Scrimmaging] is something we rarely do, especially in Thibs’ practices. But we got after it today and I think everybody felt good about themselves and how they performed in practice.”
Thibodeau said he’s pleased with how the Bulls have shared the ball and gotten into the paint thus far. He acknowledges they haven’t shot the 3-pointer well, but remains confident that will come around. And he insists that a multiple effort mentality will be necessary for success on the defensive end of the floor.
“As I said in the preseason, you want to build the right habits,” said Thibodeau. “You know what you’re going to need in the end and I think it’s important to strive to do that each and every day of the season. I think if you start with the mindset of I’m going to pace myself, we’ll be there in the end; I haven’t seen that work yet. I know that teams that get after if every day, those are the ones that are successful in the end. I think when you study all the championship teams you won’t find any of them were pacing themselves.”
Audio—Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau meets the media following practice (11.04.2013):
Audio—Bulls guard Derrick Rose meets the media following practice (11.04.2013):