DEERFIELD — Upon further reflection, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, a notorious perfectionist, wasn’t at all displeased with his team’s effort in Thursday night’s 82-81 home-opening win over the Knicks at the United Center, according to superstar point guard Derrick Rose.
“Thibs, actually, he wasn’t that hard on us [Friday]. He said he looked at the film and saw that everything was running smooth. Offensively, just getting into the backside of that action and making sure that everything is ran correct, making sure everyone is in the right place. Execution just comes with running plays and practicing very hard. It comes with just time. We know that as a team. All we can do, like I said, is get better individually,” said Rose, who hit the game-winning shot with 5.7 seconds left in the contest. “The chemistry part, it can always get better. I think we have a great upside. I think we can be a great team. All of us have been working out individually, like super hard, so when you have that going all it is, it’s timing and rhythm. Then everybody will be going together.”
Rose said he’s still experiencing some soreness in his neck, but is improving by the day and wouldn’t use it as an excuse for his 7-for-23 shooting night.
“Not at all. I was just missing my shots. Explosiveness, I think was there. I was just missing shots,” he said. “It’s getting better every day. Still getting treatment, it’s getting better, but still work on my game.”
Rose wore black tape on the back of his neck called Kinesio-Tape at Friday’s practice after wearing it in Thursday’s game.
“[The tape help keeps his neck] stable. When you have a crick in your neck it keeps it in place, so it’s helped me out a lot,” he explained. “I’ve used it before. Not really on my neck, it was my calves and stuff. It was really the first time we’ve used it on my neck, but it helped out a lot. I was able to still go out there and play the game.”
Thibodeau insisted he wasn’t concerned about Rose’s shooting numbers, although the point guard has gone 11-for-38 from the floor after displaying stellar accuracy from the field in the preseason.
“We do a lot of shooting, but when he was shooting great in the preseason, no one was talking about his shooting. If he doesn’t shoot well for a game or two, that’s fine, but he scores a lot of different ways. He scores in transition, pushing the ball up the floor, he can catch and shoot, he’s very effective in the pick and roll and he can also beat you with the pass. You just stay patient, keep working the game and it will come around. I’ve seen him enough now to know he’s a scorer,” the coach said. “There has been a lot of film on him. The guy has been an MVP. You just have to keep working the game. Right now I’d say the biggest thing it’s not a Derrick problem, it’s more the team being together problem. We have to practice together, we have to work together and the only way you get that is being on the floor. The practice component is very important.
“He missed some shots that he normally makes, but that may have been his best defensive game since he’s been here. His defense was terrific. He wasn’t shooting well but he found other areas to get going and I thought he found a good rhythm to start the third [quarter],” he continued. “I thought Luol made some good plays to get the ball out to him. Then of course, making the big shot at the end. He stayed with it and overall, I think he’s playing very well.”
Rose said his full-court pressure of opposing point guards — he goaded Knicks counterpart Raymond Felton into a 5-for-14 shooting night — will continue.
“For me, I just try to bring that intensity every night. Picking up full-court, that's something I'm getting used to doing and really getting into the ball. It starts with me being the point guard and seeing how everybody feeds off my energy,” he explained. “It really wakes you up, kind of. Gets your legs going. Lets everybody know you came to play tonight. They start the offense a little farther back, and you getting into the ball kind of avoids screens and that's probably one of the reasons why my neck is sore.”
Thibodeau said that all 13 players on the Bulls’ roster participated in Friday afternoon’s light practice at the Berto Center ahead of the team departing for Philadelphia, where they will play the 76ers — who upset the defending-champion Heat in their Wednesday opener — Saturday night.