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.

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from a busy Sunday: 

Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Lightning

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Today on CSN: White Sox battle Dodgers in spring training game

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

Joe Maddon doesn’t have any concerns about new Cubs closer Wade Davis

Nick Delmonico takes advantage of fresh start with White Sox

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Owners to consider on and off field changes this week during NFL meetings

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue break down the Bulls' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

TNT Bulls are back this week as the team heads into a crucial stretch. 

Currently, the Bulls sit half a game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with just eight games remaining on the schedule, each contest is essentially a must-win. 

So, yes, Thursday would be a great time for Jimmy Butler and company to summon their TNT alter ego. The Bulls have sealed 18 straight victories when playing on TNT Thursday, an improbable feat considering those games are usually reserved for two of the NBA's best. 

To continue that run, they'll have to down Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also fighting for playoff positioning -- albeit at the top of the conference. Good thing the Bulls have a tendency to get up for big games. 

"The Bulls play up and down to their competition," Bulls Pregame and Postgame analyst Kendall Gill said. "They've been doing that the whole season." 

After Cleveland, the Bulls get set to battle another playoff squad, the Atlanta Hawks. 

Watch the video above to see Schanowski, Gill and Perdue break down the matchups.