AL HAMNIK: Too late for Chicago Bulls' training camp re-do

2014-04-21T19:45:00Z 2014-04-26T22:35:07Z AL HAMNIK: Too late for Chicago Bulls' training camp re-doAl Hamnik Times Columnist
April 21, 2014 7:45 pm  • 

DEERFIELD | Tom Thibodeau was visibly upset after Monday's practice, his answers shorter than usual, his face not quite as red as a ripened tomato. Not yet.

The Bulls' coach was still steaming over Sunday's 102-93 playoff opener loss to upstart Washington, a game which saw his team blow a 13-point lead in the third quarter and get outscored 30-18 in the fourth.

Thibodeau rattled off so many areas of concern and needed improvement, you'd think another training camp was the only answer. Unfortunately, Game 2 is tonight.

"We gotta be ready to go. We gotta play for 48 minutes," Thibodeau said. "We're up 13 and we started playing loose."

Like an Easter spread, there was plenty of blame to go around among the players.

Mike Dunleavy shot 4 of 12, D.J. Augustin 3 of 15, Taj Gibson attempted only six shots in the game and the Bulls were 5 of 20 from deep.

"To put (blame) on one guy, that's not how we do it here," Thibodeau said. "I could go from start to finish. There's an endless list of things that we didn't do correctly, we're capable of doing much better, and we're gonna have to.

"If one guy's not doing his job, it's going to make everyone look bad."

The Wizards, now 3-1 against the Bulls this season, seem to have figured them out.

Their two big men — Marcin Gortat and the guy with one name, Nene — are 6-foot-11 beasts who also shoot from outside. Nene, healthy once again, can pressure center Joakim Noah at the top of the key and push him farther out, making it difficult to pass to his cutters or take the mid-range jumper he likes.

"They played very well," Thibodeau said of the Wiz kids. "They kept grinding, they challenged shots and they rebounded the ball."

And the hosts didn't adapt. Shame. Shame.

Chicago was the fourth seed, Washington the fifth, so no one was expecting the Bulls to dominate this first-round series. But that's no consolation to Thibodeau, his stunned squad, or the fans.

Getting beat by a superior team is one thing, continually shooting yourself in the foot is another. And the Bulls did that by complaining late in the game and relaxing on their transition defense while whining to officials.

"Offensively, if you're driving the ball and feel you're not getting the calls, drive it harder. Some of 'em are 50-50 balls," Thibodeau said. "I thought the game was officiated the same way for both teams — tightly."

The Wizards shot 35 free throws, including 12 of 12 in the pivotal fourth period, while the Bulls attempted 26 for the game.

Another telling sign was the combined 7-for-25 shooting by the Wizards' starting guards John Wall and Bradley Beal — in victory.

Imagine if both are on tonight and their big men kick butt once again.

Thibodeau is sure to reach that full tomato-red color in the process.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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