Thursday, April 14, 2011
Posted: 2:20 p.m. Updated: 6:00 PM
By Aggrey Sam
For the second consecutive month, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was named the Eastern Conferences coach of the month.
That means we have a good team, so Im excited about that, Thibodeau, who tied Paul Westphals record for most regular-season wins for a first-year NBA head coach with 62 after Wednesday's home victory over New Jersey, said after Thursdays practice at the Berto Center.
Thibodeau is keeping up his usual practice of not being affected by any outside influences, as reflected to his reaction when queried about Pacers' leading scorer Danny Grangers comments about the Bulls not having many options beyond All-Star point guard Derrick Rose. Rose was gone by the time reporters were allowed on the practice floor; another engagement, a campaign rally with President Barack Obama Thursday evening, took precedence.
I dont concern myself with what Danny Granger says, said Thibodeau. If you need something like that to get motivated for the playoffs, somethings wrong with you.
Thibodeau led the Bulls to an 8-0 record in their truncated April slate, part of the teams nine-game season-ending winning streak as they prepare for Saturdays playoff opener against Indiana. Along with the NBA Coach of the Year award favorite, who guided Chicago to the leagues best overall record, resulting in home-court advantage throughout the postseason for the Bulls, Portlands Nate McMillan was honored in the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, Thibodeau revealed that Bulls head trainer Fred Tedeschi cleared Ronnie Brewer to play in Saturday afternoons Game 1 after the swingman sat out Wednesday due to the sprained thumb he suffered Tuesday in New York.
Today was a light day. We just tried to prepare for Indiana, but I came early, got some shots up. I handed the ball a little bit, said Brewer. Its a little sore, but youve got to play through pain and thats what I tend to do.
Its playoff basketball and I wasnt going to miss it for anything, added the Bulls leader in steals. Come Game 1, youll see me diving on the floor, still trying to get in the passing lanes, working the baseline, doing the things that Ive done the entire year and if theres anything I can do this year to help this team, Im willing to do it.
Brewer joked about the amount of detail Thibodeau put into the scouting report for the Pacers, Chicgos first-round opponent.
If you all could see the playbook that we had at the beginning of the year, its the same thickness and thats just for one team, he quipped, adding that he was excited about Thibodeaus intense preparation.
Its like college, all-your-classes thick, so it was pretty funny when I saw it, he continued. I guess were going to be hitting our books tonight.
Turning serious, Brewer discussed how the Bulls would handle being the hunted after virtually floating under the radar for much of the season.
Were going to get everyones best shot. Were going to have a bullseye on our eye and our front, if you want to put it like that, explained Brewer. We won games because of the preparation that we had in practice and leading up to the games.
The fact that the Bulls will be playing the only Central Division team that defeated them all season will be a motivating factoralthough Brewer also insisted Grangers opinion didnt matter to the teamwith the ever-focused squad.
Were trying to make history here and going undefeated in our division would have been huge for us, said Brewer. We still remember that game and were still holding a chip on our shoulder.
Catch the Bulls' playoff opener against the Pacers on Saturday on Comcast SportsNet with coverage starting at 11:30 a.m.