For Chicago Bulls, what a Difference a Thibodeau Makes



People like Chicago Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau are a rare breed. Have you ever met anyone who literally made their trade their ENTIRE life? Without exaggeration, their life is actually 100% all vocation; and they choose to have zero personal life.

Thibodeau is one of the people. Basketball is his work/life, he has no distractions of a family, dating etc. (Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is the only other celebrity I can think of also fitting this bill, but I’m sure there are plenty of others).

Bulls players talk about how Coach Thibs doesn’t even go out and have social meals with people on the road. He’s all business, all the time, and last night (and in the series overall) that dedication made all the difference. Just like in game one, also with a narrow margin of victory, the added time in game prep has paid off.

By Paul M. Banks


The Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers 96-90, mostly because of defense and Derrick Rose; (and with some help from the “questionable officiating”).

And how did the Bulls become the #2 team in the NBA on the defensive end? Why did Rose develop into a MVP? Coach Thibodeau is a huge reason. In extending their lead over the Pacers to 2-0, Rose had 36 pts, 6 asts, 8 rebs; Carlos Boozer had 17 & 16. The Bulls committed a season high 22 turnovers, but out-rebounded Indiana 57-33.

Basically, they grinded out an ugly game by playing better defense; and that work ethic on the defensive end was installed by Thibodeau this year.

Last year’s Coach, Vinny Del Negro didn’t really seem to stress the concept a whole lot, and his ’09-’10 team often played like it. Two of the biggest differences between last year’s team and this one are defense and Rose. And neither would have been possible under Del Negro. Vinny of the Black was holding Rose back; this much is clear- especially since Rose has scored 75 points in the series’ first two games. Coach Thibs has helped groom Rose to develop that killer instinct, and develop into a MVP.

Charles Barkley said after the game, “they’ve gotten nothing from Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer.” And Ernie Johnson rightfully corrected Chuckles for his grossly idiotic and clueless statement. Johnson pointed out how Booze had a big double double, improving on his 12 and 6 from game one. But what’s most important is that Tyler Hansbrough didn’t have another 20 point game. In fact, the real life Beeker from “the Muppets” actually struggled in this game going just 2-12 from the floor.


And that my friends, is what Boozer needs to do from here on out- PLAY DEFENSE. He’s been one-dimensional all season, but defense is about heart and effort, and this Bulls team will fall well short of making the Finals if they can’t bring it on the defensive end.

Chuck was right- Deng has done nothing so far. He shot just 3-13 from the floor last night, and Joakim Noah was 2-10. Those two have to start showing up in Indianapolis; otherwise Boozer and Rose will need to play out of their minds on both ends. And Kyle “Hot Sauce” Korver will have to make five more of those clutch threes every game.

I’m guessing though that this series goes at least 6 now. I just can’t see the Bulls sweeping or winning in five, given the effort they’ve showed so far.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of Chicagoland Sports He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Facebook, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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