MIAMIFor all of his talk about every game being just as important as another, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau sure is particular about all things Heat-related, at least when he feels he has to set the record straight. When given a ballpark number of times his team has faced Miami since his tenure in Chicago began, Thibodeau interjected, Eleven, just for the record, of course.
Well, for his squads 12th clash with its chief rival, Thibodeau will have half of his All-Star duo back in the lineup. After missing two consecutive games due to a rib injury suffered in Sundays overtime win at Detroit, Luol Deng will suit up against the Heat, though reigning league MVP Derrick Rose will miss his third straight game with a sore right foot, his 26th absence of the season.
Lus a go, Thibodeau stated tersely, prior to Thursday evenings showdown at American Airlines Arena. Derricks out.
Rose is feeling a lot better today, but hes still not quite there. Just going to be patient and when hes ready to go, hell go, he continued. I spoke with Deng this morning, he was cleared and said he was feeling a lot better, so thats a good thing.
Thibodeau acknowledged that the Bulls keeping their turnovers down against the high-octane Heatwho will be without their own All-Star, Chris Bosh, whom Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said will miss the contest due to minor bumps and bruisesThursday, as well as the other four core principles he stresses: Unselfish play, inside-out offense, rebounding and strong defense.
Its critical on the road, Thibodeau explained. Youre on the road and theyre a great home team. Theyre a great team period and those are things you have to do on the road to win, so hopefully we can get that done.
Its a great game for us. Theyre a great team, so we can measure ourselves to see exactly where we are and then we want to continue on with what we started a long time ago, which is to improve each and every day, continued the coach. Theyre all very close. Theyre very similar. Theyre all hard-fought, usually comes down to the end. One or two plays is the difference, so you have to be able to persevere, fight through things. There will be times when things are going your way, times where theyre not. You have to stay the course and keep battling. Find a way to win.