By Rich Dubroff
WASHINGTON – Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau knows his team may face the Washington Wizards again in the first round of the playoffs. He’s just not focusing on it or any other possible matchup yet.
“The teams are so jumbled up right now. I think you lock into each opponent. I think this is the time of the year where everything is very interesting because you’ve got a lot of teams going head to head,” Thibodeau said.
“There’s meaning to every game that’s being played. It’s important to take it step-by-step. Then, once you get there, you prepare for that opponent. Just take it game-by-game, day-by-day. The same things go into winning each and every day. Try and concentrate on your improvement and understand what’s necessary to win.”
The Wizards have beaten the Bulls in each of their two meetings.
WHO GIVES THE BULLS TROUBLE?
Thibodeau isn’t admitting that certain teams give his teams trouble.
“I think that’s the way you guys look at it,” Thibodeau said. “You’ve got to be ready for everybody. Every team has strengths and weaknesses.”
The Bulls faced Washington On Jan. 13 and 17, and lost to the Wizards, just after the Luol Deng trade.
“There’s a lot of things that go into a season. You take things as they come. I think sometimes during the course of a regular season, you never know what’s going on, where you are in the schedule, where they are in the schedule: Who’s healthy? Who’s not healthy? That’s why it’s so important to have the right approach to each and every game,” Thibodeau said.
Thibodeau doesn’t like a certain phrase that’s popular in NBA circles.
“I know you guys get caught up in ‘this is a statement game’ or ‘that’s a statement game.’ They’re all statement games. They all count the same…You guys are already jumping to the playoffs, but there are still games to be played, and that’s what we have to focus in on. It’s easy to get distracted this time of year, and we can’t allow that to happen,” Thibodeau said.