Bulls the latest buzz in Charlotte


Dec 3

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If it’s Charlotte, it must be Wednesday. Short night for the Bulls players arriving in Charlotte about 3 a.m. Wednesday after the double overtime loss to the Mavs Tuesday. No beds in the locker room for pregame naps, though Doug McDermott remained out with his minor knee problem and Taj Gibson would be missing his sixth consecutive game with his sprained ankle. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau pregame was vague—that’s news, eh?—about Gibson playing next. Perhaps Saturday against Golden State?

“Hopefully,” said Thibodeau.

Kirk Hinrich was stretching pregame when reporters told him Dirk Nowitzki said Hinrich’s foul on Monta Ellis which enabled the Mavs to tie the game at the end of regulation was the dumbest he’s seen in 17 years in the NBA.

Cheap shot, sure, as dumb fouls are a part of many NBA game plans. But going after a fellow German like that as Hinrich’s heritage is German on his father’s side? Bad form. Hinrich hadn’t heard of the Nowitzki comment and laughed. He said he agreed with Nowitzki it was a dumb foul.

“I thought Pau said it best,” said Thibodeau about the Hinrich play. “You’re not going to win or lose a game on one particular play. You know there’s a lot of plays that happen in a course of a game, and hopefully we all learn from it. What I said I meant. It’s my responsibility to make sure it’s clear and everyone has an understanding. And then after watching the play, it’s not as easy as it looks. Everyone says, ‘Oh, you’re up three, you’ve got to take the foul.’ There’s time elements that are involved. In most cases, there’s usually a timeout and it’s in a half court setting. That [play] was out of the full court. When you look at the play, when they caught it Kirk got twisted. So now it’s a split second decision, and you learn from those things. It wasn’t an easy play. Obviously, we made a mistake; we’ve learned, we’re all involved with it. We share in the winning, we share in the losing. There were a lot of plays throughout the game, too. And I want our players to look at it analytically. After every game we try to understand why you win and lose. You try and build the right habits, and hopefully as you move forward you learn from each situation, you learn from each team you’ve played against, and hopefully in the end you’ve built the right habits and you have a great understanding of what you need to do.’’

So, Dirk, nyaah, nyaah, nyaah, as I would have said.

Thibodeau said everyone else seemed fine to play against the Hornets.

“They’re pros. They’ve played back-to-back before,’’ said Thibodeau.

In the ongoing Derrick Rose media and fan watch with both a microscope and proctoscope, Thibodeau said: “The thing that he’s going to have to do is find that balance. We had opportunities where we could’ve got into the open floor a little bit more. But offensively, I felt very good about it. I’m not just measuring where Derrick is. When you score 129 points that should be enough to win. We had 38 assists; that was good. The turnovers were a little bit too high. We’re capable of doing better. He’s (Rose) learning the new guys. The more he plays, the better his conditioning will be and more comfortable he’ll be with the ball.”

Thibodeau also defended the Bulls defense despite the Mavs scoring 350 points (132).

“Actually, the defense has been pretty good,” said Thibideau. “The rebounding has been pretty good as of late. We didn’t cover the line yesterday as well as well as we have been, (but) we have covered the line very well. The one area I want us to clean up is we have to improve body position with the fouling. We have some young guys who have to do better in that area.”

A lot of that was thanks to Jimmy Butler, who even was defending Nowitzki at times Tuesday. Butler’s amazing month in which he averaged 22 points, 10th in the league, along with 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists, earned him NBA player of the month, the first Bull to win the award since Derrick Rose in his MVP season.

Following the Charlotte game, the Bulls take a breath with one game in the following six days.

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