NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Thibodeau rips into Bulls after loss to Magic – Had Pau Gasol not dropped a career-best 46 points on the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, the Chicago Bulls could be looking at a four-game losing streak. The Bulls have lost three of their last four games, including a surprise loss at home last night to the Orlando Magic. Afterward, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t exactly happy with the effort his squad displayed. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has more:
It’s been more than a year since Tom Thibodeau brought out “the circle.’’
It’s a mythical place in the mind of the Bulls coach that measures his players, measures the man.
After Monday’s embarrassing 121-114 loss to the Orlando Magic at the United Center, the talk of “the circle’’ was front and center from Thibodeau.
Specifically, which of the Bulls players were going to be in, and which wanted out.
“You can make an excuse every night in this league if that’s what you choose to do, whether it’s new players, the schedule, the start, who’s out, who’s in,’’ an angry Thibodeau said after the game. “There’s an excuse every night. You can’t do that. We have to make good. Either you’re in the circle or you’re out of the circle. You want to be in? Let’s go. You don’t want to be in? That’s fine too. Let’s go.’’
The circle seemed pretty empty against the Magic.
For a Bulls team that’s made its reputation under Thibodeau as one of the stingiest defenses the Association has? Blasphemy as far as the coach was concerned.
“Every aspect,’’ Thibodeau said, when asked what part of his defense needed to improve. “We gotta decide what we’re going to be. If we’re going to come in and just try to outscore people, we’re not going anywhere. I know that doesn’t work. We’re going to have to bring a lot more intensity and the only you bring a lot more intensity is gotta work a lot harder. It’s really that simple.’’
There wasn’t a lot of argument from his players, either.
Pau Gasol, fresh off a career-high 46 points in the win over Milwaukee on Saturday, however, took it a step further, not hiding his anger.
“I am upset. I am upset,’’ Gasol said. “We’ve given away too many home games against teams that we shouldn’t. That has to stop.
“Defensively, we struggled. There was no energy, no aggressiveness, no engagement from our team. So we’ve got to improve … dramatically. Just no energy, not really working together, and that’s something that has to change, has to improve. Can’t give up 120 points … 121 … so that’s something we have to reflect on. If we really want to do something here that’s something that can’t happen.’’