Known for their composure in past seasons, the Bulls have become an increasingly testy bunch.
Saturday was an example of that, as they accrued four technical fouls Carlos Boozer, Nate Robinson, Luol Deng and head coach Tom Thibodeau were the offenders seemingly due to perceived non-calls by the officiating crew.
Probably so, from the standpoint of frustration, Thibodeau said. If you think youre getting fouled and they miss it, it takes your concentration away from what youre supposed to be doing, so we have to handle that part better and I think just understanding how quickly things can change. You go from winning a game on the road to coming home the next night and youve got to get ready all over again, and youve got to bring that intensity to the game from the start.
Deng joked: People have been thinking Im a superhero, so I had to show them Im human and I get frustrated, too. Seriously, Im disappointed that I let my frustration get the best of me. It happens. Some calls go your way, some dont go your wayIve definitely got to keep my composure. Ive got to do a better job of that. I thought I got fouled a few times, refs didnt see it and Ive got to do a better job of handling it. Just emotion.
Joakim Noah, the teams leader in technicals on the season, added: We lost our composure tonight, but its not just one person. Its all of us as a team. We have to do a better job of that, no question.
Suns' defense shines bright
Thibodeau credited the Suns, specifically hard-nosed forward P.J. Tucker the former NBA draft bust, who played overseas before returning to the league on a non-guaranteed deal this season, helped forced Deng, coming off a season-high 33-point outing in New York, into 5-for-16 shooting night for Phoenixs rugged defense. However, he also criticized his team for a lack of toughness, a rarity with the Bulls.
Tucker was tough. I want to give them credit because I thought they played really hard. They were into us, they were into the ball, so Ill leave it at that and I think the challenge in this league is you have to own your space, and you cant allow somebody to get you back on your heels, the coach explained. When we attack, not only on offense everyone thinks when we say, weve got to attack, its only on offense; its on defense, too when we have that mindset, were tough and when we allow people to get into us, were not as effective and sometimes, if youre looking for the officials to bail you out, thats not going to work. Youve got to take care of that yourself. Its a competition; its not a show. The teams that understand that get ahead and youve got to go after people, and thats the mindset that you have to have.
If you have a good win, you cant think you have it all figured out. Youve got to come back the next day, ask yourself what you can do better, how you can improve and thats got to be our mindset.
Nate Robinson started a mild controversy when he celebrated a pair of baskets with the discount double check gesture, first popularized by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, during the Bulls win Friday.
Knicks sharpshooter Steve Novak, a Wisconsin native and Packers fan, also uses the move after draining three-pointers, and when asked about Robinsons on-court antics, he wasnt too pleased in his postgame remarks to the local media.
Robinson apparently responded to Novak via Twitter, but he also spoke about the drama after the Bulls loss.
Weve got to do our research on that and see who came up with that, he quipped. I just did it jokingly just because he does it, so why not?