Thibodeau, Mavs' Carlisle express appreciation for each other's teams

741456.png

Thibodeau, Mavs' Carlisle express appreciation for each other's teams

Dont include Rick Carlisle in the sector of observers who believe that after Thursdays loss at Miami, the Bulls are somehow no longer a contender. The Mavericks head coach, who won a championship last season, shared his high opinion of the team that defeated his short-handed squad following Saturdays game.

I dont know whos saying that. I saw a few highlights from that game, said Carlisle. Theres 220 possessions in an NBA game. Its easy for people on TV to sensationalize one or two plays, but over the course of a regular season, theres 15 or 20,000 possessions.

I look at their body of work over two years, I look at the coaching job that Thibodeau has done here and this team brings it every night, he continued. Thats why theyve got the best record.

It seems theres a mutual-admiration society between the two coaches, as Thibodeau waxed poetic about the Maverickswho lost defensive linchpin Tyson Chandler in the offseason, acquired Lamar Odom via trade and dealt with the subsequent drama that led to last seasons Sixth Man of the Year Award winner and reality-show star effectively being sent home on a paid vacation recentlya team that clinched a playoff berth this week, but chose to rest veteran guards Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, despite not being in position to host a first-round series.

When youre dealing with Nowitzki, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense and theyre unique because they invert their offense, said the Bulls head coach. Theyre the defending champion. Youre talking about a team with championship experience, so its a good test for usI dont think they get enough credit for their defense. Theyre very good defensively.

Theyre a well-balanced team. Carlisle does a great job with them, theyre deep, they have a lot of weapons, theyre skilled and they can hurt you in the pick-and-roll, post, catch-and-shoot. They can invert their offense and Nowitzki, because of his skill setyou have a seven-footer with a high releaseits very difficult to get to, and he and Terry are two very big fourth-quarter players for them. I didnt even talk about Kidd, he continued. They were sort of under the radar and I believe they won 57 or 58 games last year, and there was a sequence during that time where, I believe Nowitzki wasnt playing. He missed, I believe, seven or eight games, so if you factor in if he plays during that stretch, theyre probably a 60-win team and they were healthy, and playing well at the right time. which you have to be.

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

update-121.jpg
AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

Phillips DT Chris Elmore commits to Syracuse

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."