suntimes
COARSE 
Weather Updates

Amped-up fast break could be on front burner in Bulls’ preseason opener

One improvement the Bulls want to make on offense is to become more of a fast-break team.

That very well could be on display on Tuesday night when the Bulls play the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center in their preseason debut (7, CSN).

Magic Johnson’s legendary “Showtime’’ teams need not lose any sleep, however.

Coach Tom Thibodeau is all for fast-break points, but it’s about easy baskets any way his offense can get them. There’s still a defense-first, everything-else-second mentality.

“You want to be well-balanced,’’ Thibodeau admitted. “That’s what you strive for. And there are a number of ways in which you get easy baskets. The obvious one is the fast break, but the second shot is an easy basket, cuts are another easy way, off post feeds, things of that nature, but you have to be well-rounded.

“I’m more concerned with the type of shots that we’re getting. The best teams are not going to give you easy scoring opportunities off the quick break. Most teams are sending three guys back, so when you have defenders back, you have to flow into secondary action. We’re trying to read that better, and hopefully we can get into a flow.’’

How often there is a running of the Bulls will depend on the personnel on the floor. If Thibodeau is using a lineup with Luol Deng and Taj Gibson as wing players, the message is simple.

“He wants the wings to be able to take off and run,’’ Deng said. “We look for the early shot and if it’s there we’ll take it, if not we’ll run the offense.’’

Around the rim

Joakim Noah was away from the team for personal reasons, missing his third day in a row. Thibodeau didn’t see him playing in the first preseason game.

 Nazr Mohammed will likely start against the Grizzlies, along with Kirk Hinrich, Carlos Boozer, Deng and Rip Hamilton.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.