Tag: Tom Thibodeau

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose listens to coach Tom Thibodeau during their NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Chicago

Derrick Rose cleared, in lineup Monday vs. Hawks

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UPDATE 4:13 pm: Rose is back and in the starting lineup.

Remember that while he was out for back spasms, he had played through a turf toe injury before that and this time off certainly will help a little with that as well.

3:50 pm: After missing five games due to a back injury, Derrick Rose is expected back in the Bulls lineup Monday afternoon against the Hawks.

The Bulls guard injury information like it’s the nuclear football, but Rose took contact in practice on Sunday then Monday K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweeted this:

DRose is gametime vs. ATL. Rip, CJ out. CJ has migraine. DRose has been cleared by trainers. So barring warmup setback, he’s in.

Rose has been battling back spasms and the only long-term answer was rest. He needed some games off and while the Bulls struggled a little (splitting a pair against Boston) they were able to maintain their hold on the top seed in the East (and get coach Tom Thibodeau that All-Star coaching gig he didn’t really want).

The only people happier to have him back than Bulls fans are a bunch of fantasy hoops owners.

Tom Thibodeau the player was all about offense. Seriously.

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls
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There is a Tom Thibodeau you don’t know.

Tom Thibodeau the shoot first, offensive-minded gunner.

That Thibodeau was much younger, thinner, had more hair, and was still not the tallest guy on the team.

But he was still always about hard work, about learning, about attention to detail. And about winning.

That’s according to Peter Roby, who grew up playing with Thibodeau in Connecticut and coached with him at Harvard. He talked about the young, different (in some ways) coach of the year in a must-read piece by Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com.

“When he was in high school, he would get a few feet over halfcourt and it was like he was already looking to see where he could get his shot off because he had tremendous range and he wasn’t afraid, but part of that came from him feeling really confident because he had put all the work in. He was not afraid to shoot the ball, he was really clever — not necessarily going to beat you with speed or overall athleticism — but he was going to outwork you and he was unafraid,” recalled Peter Roby about the man. “When he got to college, it was kind of funny because he was such an undersized kind of guy, but he was so schooled in footwork and positioning, and getting guys pinned under the rim.

“He did a lot of damage by getting fouled and getting guys off-balance, and he still had some range to shoot in college, but he did it in multiple ways. It was just kind of indicative of how much of a student of a game he was, even as a player, trying to squeeze every ounce of whatever talent he had out and he was that kind of player, but he wasn’t make his living of getting out on the floor because of his defensive prowess.”

It’s fun to read about that footwork when you think of how he worked with Yao Ming in Houston and Joakim Noah now in Chicago. Life lessons passed along.

But it’s not hard to see how Thibodeau ended up where he did, Roby said.

“I knew that Tom was going to end up being a coach, there was no doubt. Once he jumped into it, you could see how focused he was and how much of a sponge he was about trying to learn. That’s one of the things that I think is a constant about Tom is that whatever level he was on, he was always in search of knowledge, trying to learn from other people who have been successful, trying to figure out what the keys were and making himself better. He never sat back and just said, ‘Well, now I’m a head coach in Division III, I’ve made it or now, I’m an assistant coach in Division I, I’ve made it or now, I’m an assistant in the NBA, so I can just kind of cruise.’ He always wanted to the best that he could.”

Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau will coach Eastern All-Stars

Sacramento Kings v Chicago Bulls
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This does not mean that Luol Deng is going to play 41 minutes of the All-Star Game. Probably.

With their win Tuesday night, the Chicago Bulls will have the best record in the Eastern Conference on Feb. 15 at 24-7, which means Tom Thibodeau will coach the All-Star Game for his conference.

Soctt Brooks of the Oklahoma City Thunder will coach the West, making it two first time coaches for the game. Which makes Gregg Popovich smile.

Thibodeau is a veteran who will relax his intense demeanor for a few days and have some fun with this. Probably. But if the game is close late… that could be interesting.

The All-Star game is set for Sunday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. on TNT. It’s opposite the Oscars, so you and your significant other can start arguing about the remote control now.

Derrick Rose ruled out for Sunday’s game against Boston

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat

Derrick Rose may be able to quietly slink to the bench prior to a Friday night game against the Charlotte Bobcats without much notice, but ducking out of the lineup due to injury before a nationally televised Sunday matinee against the kind-of-rival Boston Celtics? That’s another matter entirely.

Chicago’s recent blowouts of the Nets and Hornets seemed to buy Rose plenty of time to rest, but the ailing back of the Chicago Bulls’ superstar is apparently being less than cooperative. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Rose will meet with medical specialists in Chicago on Monday to presumably structure some kind of productive treatment plan, and in the meantime, he’s been ruled out entirely for Sunday’s game against Boston.

The Celtics may not be the powerhouse they once were, but this was still a game of import for both the C’s and the Chicago Bulls. It still is, in a sense, though without Rose in the mix, the dynamic and strategy of both teams changes significantly.

In the bigger picture, it’s imperative that the Bulls get Rose’s back issues resolved in short order; the uncompromising nature of this season’s schedule provides an added complication for relatively minor, nagging injuries, effectively penalizing players who attempt to play through the pain. Rose deserves plenty of credit for trying to stay on the court, but at this point, taking a few games off — even ones on national TV — should do both him and his team good. That would be true for any rotation player in the league, but it’s particularly so for a player of Rose’s caliber — and one who routinely finds his coach leaving him on the floor for 40 minutes a night.

Luol Deng and the cruel tutelage of Tom Thibodeau

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

Bulls fans have been perplexed by Tom Thibodeau’s management of minutes. For the reigning Coach of the Year, a man who has transformed the Bulls into a defensive juggernaut, the East’s best regular season team and a Conference Finalist, it’s really one of the handful of criticisms you can make against Thibs. He routinely plays his starters in blowouts, logging huge minutes in needless situations. Luol Deng, especially.

The Bulls are routinely involved in blowouts of 20-plus points, comfortable leads, and yet Deng has averaged 38.4 minutes per game, down just slightly from last season when Deng logged 39.1 minutes per contest. Deng was fourth in minutes per game last season, and has moved up to 2nd this year. While most teams are limiting minutes in this crazy schedule, Thibodeau has kept pace with Deng, his best defender and the pivotal player on Chicago’s defense. But with Deng suffering a torn ligament in his wrist and still contemplating surgery, surely Thibodeau would be more careful when and if he decided to bring him back. Nope. Here’s what Thibodeau told NBA.com earlier this week.

Thibodeau says that Deng is “getting close” to being ready to play again. “He’s doing more and more each day,” the coach said before Thursday’s game. But Thibodeau wouldn’t entertain the notion that this stretch is allowing him to get more comfortable with having Deng on the bench.

“I’m comfortable with the minutes he plays,” Thibodeau said. “There’s a reason why he plays those minutes. I’m confident in our bench. We have a bench that’s more than capable. I think that if you studied the teams in the league over the years, there’s players that have averaged those minutes, and it’s fine. So that’s the way we’ll go.”

via Thibodeau Won’t Stop Leaning On Deng « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

And true to his word…

Deng returned Saturday night in a blowout win over the Bucks. The Bulls were up 20-plus for most of the second half. So Thibodeau eased Deng back in…

By playing him over 41 minutes.

That’s the sound of a Coach of the Year, trolling everyone.

Now, it’s not like Deng wouldn’t want to play those minutes. If asked, he’ll play. He wanted to come back, to prove he’s tough after so many years of questions regarding his toughness. He’ll play every single minute Thibodeau asks him to, as will most of the Bulls. But it’s just stunning to see that kind of a decision about such a crucial player, playing with such a serious injury, even though doctors have confirmed Deng cannot damage the injury anymore by playing on it. His first game back, and he goes 41 minutes.

Tom Thibodeau enjoys pain. Inflicting it on opponents. Teaching his players through it. This is some Pai Mei stuff going on.

And the Bulls keep winning. By a lot. By hook, by crook, or by devastating exhaustion, Thibodeau keeps his team on a razor’s edge.