Bulls ready for final regular-season showdown with Heat

Bulls ready for final regular-season showdown with Heat
April 19, 2012, 4:15 am
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CHARLOTTEThats the next day, said Bulls head coachTom Thibodeau, indicating that his focus had finally turned to the Bullsshowdown Thursday in Miami against the rival Heat. Next day, next game.If Thibodeau wants to pretend that he isnt completelyconsumed with, as he often says, the next game on the schedule, and not evena small part of his brain wasnt concerned with the marquee matchup prior toand during his teams dismantling of the lowly Bobcats, thats fine. Hisplayers can do the talking for him.We want to continue to win. We want to go into theplayoffs playing well, so we can have good momentum. Obviously we want to lockup the No. 1 seed throughout, so its a big game. We want to win, acknowledgedCarlos Boozer. Its a war, relatively speaking. Battle, hard-fought, they allcome down to one or two-possession games, usually in the last seconds of thegame, so it should be fun.Both teams are very good. I think both teams put a lotinto it defensively, offensively and its the two best teams in the East, hecontinued. I dont know if the Heat respect the Bulls. If they do, they do.If they dont, they dont. Im not really concerned with that. Im moreconcerned with how were doing, how were progressing, how were getting betterand today was a great step in the right direction.Rip Hamilton, a relatively newcomer to the fairly freshrivalry, but no stranger to playoff battlesor even the Heat, let alone theirtwo superstars, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, both of whom he faced off withwhen he played for the Pistons during their title-contending eraalso admittedthe magnitude of the game, even for regular-season purposes, as Miami is stillchasing the Bulls for the Eastern Conferences top seed.Miamis a great team. Special players with LeBron andD-Wade, and Chris Bosh. Youve to make them play at your pace. Youve got tomake them play a half-court game. They get up and down the court, get on thebreak and make easy plays, then thats where theyre good. When you turn itinto a half-court game, then your chances are a lot better, he said. I feelas though since they were the team that made it to the Finals last year,theyre the team to beat. Youve got to go through them, so the intensitysalways going to be high and in order for you to get to where you want to getto, since they were the team that went to the Finals last year, then you feelas though youve got to go through them. You cant go around them.