Frustrated Thibodeau wants Bulls to stay the course


Frustrated Thibodeau wants Bulls to stay the course

HOUSTONBulls' head coach Tom Thibodeau is between a rock and a hard place. For all of his coaching mastery and motivational ability, Thibs cant simply conjure up a recipe for success for his team right now.
Faced with the first three-game losing streak of his young, brilliant head-coaching career, while the Bulls played at least a semblance of the defense that has made them so successful over the previous two seasons, it broke down late and on top of that, the turnover issues, lack of chemistry and inability to execute in late-game situations plagued them once again in Wednesdays 93-89 loss to Houston, which snapped its own three-game skid. For this group, its not about not wanting it bad enough, but clearly theres a disconnect between the discipline Thibodeau attempts to impart on a daily basis and what occurs on the court.
Hard-fought game, came down the stretch. Couldnt get key stops and had some turnovers late. Hurt us, a frustrated Thibodeau curtly explained afterwards in the bowels of the Toyota Center, his old stomping grounds as a former Rockets assistant coach. I thought we did some good things for most of the game and then, our defensive discipline got us at the end of the game.
Thibodeau didnt single any one player outone of his most admirable qualities is that he refuses to publicly throw any of his players under the busbut a couple of hours before it officially became Thanksgiving, it was obvious that he was most thankful for a flight back to Chicago, so he could retreat to his lair at the Berto Center (in his pregame availability, Thibodeau stated this himself) to study, prepare and devise a way to cure whatevers currently ailing his team.
But then, he listed, in true basketball-purist fashion, the litany of woes that ail his team.
Everyone has a responsibility in your team scheme, pick-and-roll defense, so we have to stay disciplined and we have to stay attached, and we cant make things up and so, the fourth quarters different. Your intensity is higher and we have to stay disciplined on the defensive end, and understand on the offensive end, everythings going to happen quicker, so you cant try to thread the needle in those situations. Youve got to make the first, simple pass. We have to know what our looks are in order, okay? And thats something weve got to work on, he said.
"Right now, Im not as concerned with the streakand obviously, I hate the losing part of itIm more concerned with us doing things the right way and focusing in on our improvement, so theres a lot of things that go into winning and you have to do things the right way, and thats what we have to understand and we have to be able to do that for 48 minutes. We cant pick and choose. We have to be tied together the entire time. We have to be aware, we have to be alert, we have to make multiple effort, we have to stay on bodies, okay? We cant do the easy thing. Weve got to do the tough thing," he added.
When you look at it, these games are hard-fought and theyre going to be one or two possessions down at the end, and youve got to make tough plays. Got to make tough plays and usually, its hard to win on the road and the first thing you have to do is eliminate all the ways in which you beat yourself, so you start right with your defense. The rebounding is okay, its average at best. The turnovers are high. Its difficult to win, particularly when youre short-handed. We have to play real hard, we have to play real smart and weve got to be tied together.
"And I think you have to understand how the game is going, and whats a good three, whats a bad three, okay. The rhythm of the offense. Is it coming off a quick swing, is it coming off inside-out, okay? When is it coming? And I think thats a big part of understanding your teammates, the offense and what youre trying to get accomplished. I think, as the ball moves, you have to understand what your looks are, in order. Everyone has to fulfill their responsibilities, you have to stay disciplined, you have to be able to sustain your spacing through a second or third option, particularly late in the game, okay? So, thats when your decision-making is critical and all those things go into winning, he added.
It doesnt take a basketball mad scientist like Thibodeau to break down things that go into losing, something the Bulls were previously not accustomed to, at least on this recent skid and to be honest, even before the team left for the Circus Trip. Its easy to get seduced into thinking that simply because previous editions of the Bulls gutted out ugly wins and overcame supposed deficiencies, that this seasons squad could do the same.
The aforementioned intricacies Thibodeau mentioned are indeed accurate, but its also simpler than that, as a lack of outside shooting, poor decision-making, less than dominant rebounding and shaky chemistry on both ends of the floor stand out in both Bulls wins and losses. The good news is that like those past teams, this group also has a burning desire to win games.
The bad news is that, at the moment, they havent learned how to transform that into the consistent collective approach that made the Bulls so successful in the past. However, the season is still young and with a returning core of players who have witnessed Thibodeau work his magic, it isnt too late for the buy-in process to startalthough it better happen quicklyand make this current three-game losing streak a distant memory.

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