Tom Thibodeau will almost always wish Celtics coach Doc Rivers well. That's what happens when two people win a championship together.
Just not tonight.
Thibodeau will face his old mentor tonight at the United Center when the Bulls and Celtics meet up on Comcast SportsNet. And while Thibodeau recently spoke with one of his good friends in the business, things changed around game day.
"I think any time that you win a championship with somebody, that ties you together forever," Thibodeau said at this afternoon's shootaround.
The two spoke recently, but Thibodeau said the two don't talk basketball when they're about to play each other.
"He's been a good friend for a long time, so I know how competitive he is and the make-up of that team. So like I said yesterday, we wish him well but not tonight."
Part of that 2008 NBA Champion Celtics team with Rivers and Thibodeau, Ray Allen, won't be involved in tonight's matchup. The NBA's all-time leading 3-point shooter signed with Miami in the offseason, but Thibodeau said the Celtics' two additions -- starter Courtney Lee and sixth man Jason Terry -- as well as returning proven scorers, have made it a seamless transition from Allen.
"They planned extremely well. I think it didn't work out, they wanted to bring Ray back. They covered themselves by going out and getting Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. So they got highly skilled guys," Thibodeau said. "Their shooting component is still very strong. Their bigs, Garnett is as good a shooter as you're going to find for a big. A 17-foot open jump shot for him is a layup. You can't let him get to that, and power forward Brandon Bass is very good mid-range shooter, they've got a lot of weapons on that team."
While Boston's shooting hasn't dipped, their rebounding has. A frontline of Garnett, Bass, rookie Jared Sullinger and Chris Wilcox isn't the biggest in the league, and the lack of a true center has resulted in the Celtics' being out-rebounded by more than four rebounds per game. Opponents also are scoring 13 more points per game in the paint, an area Thibodeau said the Bulls must play better.
"I think we're capable of doing much more, so we can't rely on one or two guys. We have to be a team rebounding-type team, where we do it collectively," he said. "Our smalls have to get in there and battle, and I think that puts you in the open floor. The better you rebound the more you get into the open floor. So we want to try to get as many easy baskets as we can also."
If the Bulls can rebound and get out on the break, it likely will be led by Nate Robinson, not Kirk Hinrich.
Hinrich, who strained his right hip Saturday against the Timberwolves, is listed as doubtful and did not partake in this morning's shoot around.
Regardless of who starts at point guard, Thibodeau knows the Celtics will be ready.
"They play hard, they play unselfishly, they play together, they're well-coached and they execute," he said. "They keep pressure on you at all times, so we have to be ready."
Rose won't make circus road trip
Tom Thibodeau said Monday that Derrick Rose will not accompany the team on their upcoming six-game road trip.
Rose is rehabbing from surgery on a torn ACL, and Thibodeau prefers Rose not travel to different locations in a short period of time.
"We want him focusing in on his rehab right now," he said. "So sometimes jumping around city to city, I want him in one place so that's the big thing for him right now."