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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Thibodeau one win away from quickest 100

By Nick Friedell

If the Chicago Bulls win on Monday night against the Orlando Magic, Tom Thibodeau would become the fastest coach to record his 100th career win in NBA history. It's an accomplishment that's not lost on any of his players, although they realize that the veteran coach isn't going to pay much attention to it at the moment.

"I think that that's probably something that Thibs can look back on when his career is over and say, ‘That's big, that's huge.’ That would be huge. But I know how Thibs is," Bulls center Joakim Noah said, before dropping his voice a few octaves and doing his best Thibodeau impersonation. “It's 'the next game,'” Noah continued, rattling off a string of Thibodeau cliches. “'It's all that matters. Don't worry about the past. We're not worried about what's going to happen in two weeks. We're worried about Orlando and that's it.’"

Bulls' forward, and Thibodeau favorite, Luol Deng couldn't help but get in another playful jab at his coach.

"Oh wow. For real? Oh man," Deng said. "When they talk about it in the future, about his fastest win [record], I hope you guys [give] my minutes in those wins."

Then Deng laughed hard.

"No, I'm playing. I'm happy for Thibs, man. It's great."

Thibodeau, who has compiled a record of 99-30 in 129 games, has earned respect in the Bulls locker room because his players understand that no matter how hard they work, nobody will work harder for their success than Thibodeau will. It's one of the biggest reasons why the Bulls are off to such a good start again this season. Thibodeau sets the tone that the rest of his players follow.

"Thibs is always the same," Noah said. "He's always high energy, going crazy on us. He's the most passionate person, when it comes to basketball, that I've ever been around. Whether we're up 20 or we're down 20, it doesn't change."

Should the Bulls lose on Monday, Thibodeau could still set the mark with a win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.