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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Thibodeau gets a rare treat -- practice

By Nick Friedell

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Tom Thibodeau might have been the happiest man at the Berto Center on Thursday afternoon. That's because the Chicago Bulls coach and his team finally got to do something they hadn't done in a long time -- practice. Because of the condensed 66-game schedule, this was just the Bulls' third full practice of the season.

"You can’t beat it," he said with a smile. "You can’t beat it. Our guys were great. They came in with a great spirit to them coming off a day off. They were really good today."

The always hard-charging Thibodeau admitted that he didn't have as tough of a practice as usual because of their crazy schedule. Instead of running up and down the floor, the Bulls spent a lot of time going through certain plays and plans for Friday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"The hardest thing is, you can’t go too long," Thibodeau said. "There’s a lot of things you want to work on, that need to be worked on, but you don’t have the time. So you have to prioritize the things you want to get done. The things that may need the most work. You start there and [Friday] maybe we’ll address one of the other areas. But it’s constant."

It's a constant that some players didn't actually miss.

"I don’t think so," Bulls point guard C.J. Watson said, when asked if he had missed practicing. "I’d rather play in games than practice."

Watson's opinion wasn't shared by all his teammates. Some seemed to enjoy being able to get some extra work in, instead of going through a walkthrough in a hotel ballroom somewhere as the Bulls have been doing lately.

"It felt good to be at the Berto today," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I think practices are good. They help us get better, but obviously the games are more fun."

But it was Thibodeau who had the most fun on Thursday. He's confident the Bulls can still succeed without the extra time in the gym, but he'll take it when he can get it.

"It’s unusual. It’s different," he said of the schedule. "But I think our guys have done a good job with the shootarounds. the film sessions, and getting themselves ready. And you’re faced with another challenge of back to back [games] right off the bat so … the schedule’s been what it’s been. It’s been a challenge. We just got to keep moving forward."