Bulls

Frustrated Thibodeau wants Bulls to stay the course

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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.

The Celtics tied MJ's and the '96 Bulls' record for consecutive home playoff wins

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USA TODAY

The Celtics tied MJ's and the '96 Bulls' record for consecutive home playoff wins

The Boston Celtics have been the surprise of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and after last night's Game 5 win against LeBron James and the Cavs are one game away from a trip to the NBA Finals.

They've done it with some of the most interesting splits in league history for a team that's advanced this far: they're 10-0 at home and  1-6 on the road.

The six road losses are something else, but with the convincing 96-83 victory over Cleveland, the Celtics tied a record held by the 1996 Bulls for the most consecutive postseason home wins in a season.

Boston earned home wins against the Bucks in Round 1 in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7. They crushed the heavily favored Sixers in five games, earning home wins in Games 1, 2 and 5 (and their only road win in Game 3). They took the first two games of the series from the Cavaliers at home and then again in Game 5. If they can't close the series in Cleveland they'll have a chance to break the record Sunday in a potential Game 7. If they do close the series in Cleveland their next chance will be in Game 3 of the NBA Finals; Boston will be on the road regardless of whether Houston or Golden State comes out of the West.

Jordan's Bulls won 10 consecutive games during their historic 72-10 season. They swept the Heat in Round 1, winning at home by 17 and 31 points. In the second round they knocked off the Knicks in Games 1 and 2 at the United Center, winning by 7 and 11 points. After the Knicks earned a Game 3 win at Madison Square Garden the Bulls won the final two games of that series, including a 13-point win at home to clinch the series and a fifth straight home win.

The conference finals were no problem for the Bulls at home or on the road. They began their eventual sweep of Orlando with a 38-point shellacking in Game 1 at home. A five-point win in Game 2 gave them their seventh consecutive home win and they wouldn't be back at the United Center until Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

They smoked the Sonics by 17 in Game a 1 and held on for a four-point win in Game 2. Seattle took Games 4 and 5 at their place to avoid being swept, but when the series returned to Chicago the Bulls were back to their winning ways, earning a 12-point win - their 10th consecutive in the postseason - and their fourth NBA title.

And if you're wondering, Steph Curry and the Warriors have simply been too good to get to 10 wins. Last year they swept all three rounds of the West playoffs, giving them six straight home wins. Then they only needed five games to beat the Cavaliers in the Finals, with three of those coming at home. So they went 9-0 at Oracle Arena before winning it all. They recently had their streak of 16 consecutive postseason home wins, regardless of year, snapped when the Rockets earned a Game 4 win on Tuesday.

Trubisky believes Bears will stand for national anthem

Trubisky believes Bears will stand for national anthem

Mitch Trubisky met with reporters after OTAs on Wednesday and addressed the NFL owners' unanimous approval of a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field while it's performed. If they don't want to stand, they can remain in the locker room or teams will be subject to fines.

The Bears avoided the media firestorm around the national anthem last season. No one on the roster kneeled. Instead, teammates locked arms and Trubisky believes it will be more of the same in 2018.

"I’m just proud of how our team handled last year. It's in the past and I believe we’ll all stand on the field together this year," Trubisky told reporters at Halas Hall. "It is what it is. I think it’s all about eliminating distractions for the team and for the audience. Just represent yourself and the organization in the right manner.”

STANKEVITZ: NFL Anthem policy won’t keep Sam Acho, others from standing up for what they believe in

Trubisky is the unquestioned leader of the Bears, only one year removed from Mike Glennon's proclamation that this was his team. Now, with a new coach and elevated expectations, Trubisky must weather the off-field issues that naturally come with a leadership role.

No off-field issue is bigger than a comment by the President of the United States, which happened Thursday in response to the national anthem policy during in an interview on "Fox and Friends".

“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. But still, I think it’s good," Trump said. "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.” 

This is an issue that isn't going away anytime soon. Fortunately, Trubisky appears ready to shoulder the heavy burden and potential strain a social issue like this can bring to a locker room.