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Game 2 changes? Thibodeau stays mum

4/21/2014

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls are too far into the season to make any significant lineup changes now in the playoffs, but it's never too late to shuffle around some of the rotations that Tom Thibodeau has used in order to jump start a lackluster offense against the Washington Wizards.

Thibodeau wouldn't divulge Monday whether he will shake up some of his pairings for Game 2 of their first-round series on Tuesday.

"We'll see," he said. "We'll see how it unfolds."

The Bulls' offense could not get into any kind of rhythm late in Sunday's Game 1 loss to the Wizards, going long stretches without putting points on the board. If Thibodeau were to make a change, it would likely mean that veteran Mike Dunleavy would see more action in the final 12 minutes. He started the fourth quarter but only played 3:22 before being replaced by Kirk Hinrich.

Carlos Boozer is another offensive alternative for Thibodeau, but he has rarely played in the fourth quarter this season.

"Well, we've got to make shots," Thibodeau said, when asked why his team's offense stalled late "That's a big part of the game so we're not going to get away from the guys that have gotten us there. But there's certain things that we could do to help each other get open, and we're going to have to do that."

What that also means is the Bulls must do a better job of moving the ball around the floor. They had just 13 assists on Sunday night, a number that frustrated Thibodeau.

"It's deceiving," he said. "Thirteen assists -- that's a very low number. We shot a low percentage. We also shot 26 free throws, they had 35. So you're not going to get assists on things like that. But 13 is a very low number so I am concerned about that."

Defense is 'unacceptable': Thibodeau wasn't the only one frustrated by the Bulls' defense on Sunday night, a game in which the Wizards shot 48 percent from the field. Dunleavy and his teammates know they can do a lot better.

"For us to give up 102 points in a playoff game is unacceptable," he said. "But you give them credit, they played pretty well. They did some good stuff, and they're going to play better on Tuesday so our defense is going to have to play a whole lot better."

The veteran sharpshooter was asked if the Bulls put too much emphasis on John Wall and Bradley Beal and not enough on Nene and Marcin Gortat.

"We definitely didn't underestimate them in any way certainly knowing how well they did the first couple times around with us," Dunleavy said. "I like to think we just did a good job on those perimeter guys and didn't do a good enough job on the other two and hopefully we can flip that."

The last word: "Your will and determination are important. I felt like they got to the loose balls, the 50/50 balls -- they got to. It's going to be how badly do we want it. And are you going to be willing to fight, are you going to allow yourself to be pushed around? Those things all factor into it." -- Thibodeau, on his team having to play with more passion in Game 2.