CLEVELAND -- Without Kevin Love (shoulder) for the rest of the season and with J.R. Smith suspended for one more game, the general line of thinking within the basketball world is that the Cleveland Cavaliers are a short-handed group. Tom Thibodeau disagrees. The Chicago Bulls' coach views things a little differently because of the talent the Cavs still have on the roster.
Thibodeau wants his team to continue to focus on the task at hand. As usual, he doesn't want them to worry about who may be on the floor -- just worry about executing the game plan.
Where's Mirotic? Many fans have asked about Nikola Mirotic's role after the rookie played just two minutes in Game 1 on Monday.
"It depends on who they have on the floor," Thibodeau said. "He's going to be situational right now, but we need him."
Role for Noah: Joakim Noah continues to struggle offensively, but Thibodeau doesn't sound outwardly concerned about his big man's production. Noah did not score in Game 1 and is averaging just 5.6 points a game in the postseason.
"I don't want anyone to get lost in his scoring because it's never been a strong suit for him," Thibodeau said before Wednesday's shootaround. "So for him it's all the other stuff that he brings to the team. It's not the emotion, it's the activity. It's what he's doing out there. It's the defense, the multiple effort, the rebounding, moving the ball quickly, setting screens, all those things. When he does that he's very, very effective for us.
"It's more how the team functions when he's on the floor. So he doesn't have to shoot the ball well to play well. We just want him to concentrate -- it will come around for him. All players go through things -- the main thing is don't let it take away from the things you are doing well. Which is the rebounding, the defense, the hustle plays, moving the ball offensively."
The last word: Jimmy Butler, commenting on if he's enjoying the experience right now.
"Of course it's fun. This is what you live for, to go up against the best, be in the playoffs, on the road, backs against the wall. I think we'll be all right."