Rose: Bulls need to keep focus on defense
April, 19, 2011
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Derrick Rose, confident in his own abilities to take over a game, says he doesn't need more scoring help. What he does think the Chicago Bulls need -- if they want to reach their postseason potential -- is to play better defense.
"We just need to get things together, that's the only thing," Rose said after Tuesday's practice. "Defensively, that gets us baskets. We're just not getting that yet. And just shutting people down. I think defensively, if we get things together, I think we're going to be very tough in the playoffs."
Rose said that was one of the main focal points of a post-practice film session with coach Tom Thibodeau.
While Thibodeau would like his team to be a little more balanced offensively, he’s confident that if the Bulls start playing better defense, everything will take care of itself.
"[Rose is] playing at a very high level and when you look at who's scoring, Carlos [Boozer] is scoring, Luol [Deng] is scoring. We're scoring fine," Thibodeau said. "We've got to get our defense better."
Getting Boozer going: Carlos Boozer went off for 17 points and 16 rebounds in Monday night's Game 2 win, but there was a 16-minute stretch in which he didn't attempt a field goal. Thibodeau knows his team must do a better job finding the big man in transition.
"Sometimes it's what [his teammates are] doing, too," Thibodeau said. "They're fronting the post, they're digging hard, and he's got to make the right play. It's the same thing with Derrick; when the double teams come, he's got to hit the open man, and then we have to make the right plays from there. I think in transition we have an opportunity to search him out more than we're searching him out right now. We have to try to get it to him before the defense gets set."
Lack of experience?: One of the biggest question marks from critics regarding this Bulls team is their lack of playoff experience as a group. It's a notion that Thibodeau once again tried to dismiss on Tuesday.
"We have experience, we just don't have experience together," he said. "But this is what the playoffs are all about. Even if you have experience, you're still faced with the same challenge. The games are going to be tough, they're all good teams. It's going to be how well you can execute. There's going to be different parts of the game where things are tough on you and you have to be able to get through those periods. You have to minimize your mental mistakes and you have to execute."
Speaking of execution, Rose doesn't think that will be a problem, even on the road in the Bull’s first playoff game away from the United Center in Indianapolis on Thursday.
"Love it," he said of playing away from home. "The crowd, I know it's going to be unbelievable. It seems like you against the world and the best thing to do is just go in there and just play your best and see what's going to happen."
Sizing things up: Rose doesn't think the Pacers’ height, especially up front, has bothered him much at all.
"My whole life… they always have people guard me that was always taller than me," Rose said. "Even when I was in high school, that always happened. I think I know how to play against size."
The last word: Rose on what kind of grade he would give himself so far:
"I really don't know, man," he said with a laugh. "I've always been a B-C student, but I'd have to say a B -- we're winning. As long as we're winning, I'm fine with it."