DEERFIELD, Ill. -- After two games against teams with seasoned veterans, the Chicago Bulls will have to change gears Saturday when they play at Philadelphia.
A young roster has the Sixers bouncing off the walls with youthful energy, a feeling that was only amplified by their season-opening victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
Philadelphia's Evan Turner led all scorers in the victory over the Heat with 25 points, while Spencer Hawes added 24 points. In addition to that, rookie Michael Carter-Williams set an NBA record for players in their NBA debut by recording nine steals. That was in addition to his 22 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.
"They're very fast, they're quick, they get the ball up the floor quickly," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Michael Carter-Williams has great size and quickness and vision, but their speed makes them unique. Turner is a guy who can rebound and bust out with it. Thaddeus Young can out-quick people at (forward). Hawes is highly skilled. They're tough."
But if the Sixers want to get out and run, there is at least one member of the Bulls who will welcome that approach. Derrick Rose knows that strategy plays into his game, even as he continues to get into game shape after a long layoff.
"It really does, but at the same time we still have a game plan and I can't lose sight of that," Rose said. "We have to play defense if anything."
Rose's attention to full-court defense might be a necessity in a game that could turn into a track meet. Other than Rose, and possibly Jimmy Butler, the Sixers figure to have the advantage when it comes to team speed.
One plus for the Bulls is that the Sixers play at Washington on Friday night before returning home for Saturday's contest.
"They have a great, young team," Rose said of the Sixers. "The way they've been playing an up-tempo game, we've got to make sure we get back in transition and really stop their athletic wings. It's hard playing a team like that because anyone can get the rebound and bust out. We've just really got to get used to it and really communicate on the defensive end."
Despite a loss to the Heat to open the season and then just edging out the Knicks at home, Thibodeau doesn't seem alarmed.
"Thibs, actually, he wasn't that hard on us [Friday]," Rose said. "He said he looked at the film and saw that everything was running smooth. Offensively, just getting into the backside of that action and making sure that everything is ran correct, making sure everyone is in the right place. Execution just comes with running plays and practicing very hard. It comes with just time. We know that as a team. All we can do is to get better individually."