Bulls please with West Coast swing

December, 31, 2011
12/31/11
2:06
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Joakim NoahAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillJoakim Noah and the Bulls completed a successful trip to California on Friday.

LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Bulls finished their first road trip of the season with a 3-1 record. But of course, Tom Thibodeau understandably believes his team has a lot of work to do to get back to the level they set for themselves last season.

"We got a long way to go," Thibodeau said. "I think [the trip] revealed a lot of things. It's the start. It gives us a baseline. We know the things we have to work on. We're going to have to be very efficient because we turn around and fly back [Saturday] and play the next day. And when the ball goes up we got to be ready."

Bulls center Joakim Noah may have summed up the Bulls' only West Coast trip of the regular season best.

"The NBA season is such a roller coaster," Noah said. "One day you feel like you're on top of the world when you beat the Lakers and then the next night you lose against Golden State. But it's all about bouncing back and having the mindset of just getting better every day. We know we have a ways to go, but it was definitely a good win for us tonight."

In Derrick Rose's mind, the win loss the Bulls suffered in Oakland against Golden State will mean a lot more going forward than the three wins.

"We're pleased, but we're mad that we lost that one," Rose said. "The way that we lost it, that's what we're mad about. That's something that we'll never forget. And that's something that's just going to drive us."

Hamilton finds groove: Rip Hamilton struggled early in his first couple of games as a Bull but he appears to have found his groove. The veteran shooter racked up 16 more points on Friday night and it's evident he is enjoying his time with the Bulls.

"I love it," Hamilton said. "Because this is what it's all about. This is what it's supposed to be. When I was in Detroit my first seven, eight years, we won every night. It was all about winning. To get an opportunity to get back in that groove, it's home for me."

The last word: "We were hopeful that he does that every night. The last two games he's been very, very aggressive. And our team has played with a lot more force offensively. Now we have to use that same force defensively to get to the point we'd like to be at," -- Tom Thibodeau on Rose's 29 point, 16 assist performance.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
20.2 3.2 1.7 38.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.8
AssistsD. Rose 5.0
StealsJ. Butler 1.7
BlocksP. Gasol 2.0