Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Deng doesn't feel fortunate 'at all'
By Nick Friedell
The Bulls aren't worried about Indiana throwing big players at Derrick Rose as long as other players make their shots.
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls know they haven't played their best basketball in the playoffs up to this point, but that doesn't mean they feel lucky about being up 2-0 heading into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Thursday night.
"I don't feel fortunate at all," Deng said after Wednesday afternoon's practice. "We won both games. Whether we played good or bad, I know a lot is being said to all that, but at the end of the day we won those games."
That's the attitude Tom Thibodeau has as well. He'd rather his team played a more complete game, but he isn't about to complain about having a lead in a playoff series.
"The thing is, you've just got to focus in on the next game," Thibodeau said. "I like the fact, and it's been a trademark all season, we've never been satisfied. We always think we can do better, and we can. And we will."
That is the kind of confidence he has tried to teach his players.
"We just don't want to relax," Deng said. "Whether we go out [Thursday] and win by 20, or win by one, or win by whatever, I think there's always going to be something that we want to talk about, that we want to get better at. That's just been us all year. Where we're never too high and never too low. We know where we want to get to and we're just going to keep pushing ourselves."
Thibodeau feels as if he's prepared his team for these postseason moments and is confident they will play a much better game on Thursday after a lot of film study over the past couple of days.
"We don't have to change our approach," Thibodeau said. "What we're going through is ... this is the playoffs. This is what it's all about. You look at all the other games, they're very similar. You have to fight through things. You have to execute on both ends. You've got to make shots and you've got to play defense. If we do that, and minimize our mistakes, we'll be fine."
Bringing bigs at Rose: On Tuesday, it was Derrick Rose who said he wasn't bothered by the fact the Pacers have been doubling him with big men a lot over the past two games. On Wednesday, Thibodeau reiterated his point guard's confidence. If players like Kyle Korver continue to hit big shots, the veteran head coach doesn't care what looks the Pacers give Rose over the length of the series.
"It depends on if you're making shots or not," Thibodeau said. "That's why you got to have shooters on the floor. The more they're trying to get the ball out of his hands, I would say that he's handled just about every defense pretty well all year long. So you're not going to rattle him. He'll prepare well and he'll be in an attack mode and he knows how to find shots. And he knows how to make plays and he knows how to read defenses. We have to play well. That's what we have to do."