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Coach Tom Thibodeau stresses energy, focus in wake of loss

Luol Deng (passing out double-team against Hornets) wants people recognize South Sudan’s independence. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Luol Deng (passing out of a double-team against the Hornets) wants people to recognize South Sudan’s independence. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 7, 2012 6:19AM



Coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t pleased with the Bulls’ energy or focus in their 89-82 loss Saturday to the New Orleans Hornets, and his feelings didn’t change after watching the game film the last couple of days.

Thibodeau let his players know Monday there was a certain standard he expected each game, and they didn’t meet it against the Hornets.

‘‘We didn’t play well,’’ he said. ‘‘From the start of the game, the end of the second quarter, the start of the third quarter and then the fourth quarter, we didn’t play well. We rebounded the ball poorly. We had 30 bobbles in rebounds and catches. We had a number of missed layups. So it was a compilation of things. Readiness to play is a big thing.

‘‘We compounded our mistakes by not getting back [on defense], giving them easy scoring opportunities, and [committing] foolish fouls, gifting them points. We didn’t have the edge we need to have.’’

Deng statement

It is no slight to the college program he played in, but forward Luol Deng is going with ‘‘from South Sudan’’ rather than ‘‘from Duke’’ in his pregame introduction this season.

‘‘I love Duke; it’s nothing against Duke,’’ Deng said. ‘‘Me and Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] are friends. Everything is fine. I just felt like I didn’t get a chance to do it last year, but after we got our independence . . . I wanted people to recognize South Sudan.’’

Magic act

Thibodeau tends to talk glowingly about each opponent, so it was no surprise he went out of his way to praise the Orlando Magic, whom the Bulls face Tuesday at the United Center. The Magic is 2-0 and leads the NBA in scoring.

‘‘They’re a little bit under the radar, but if you study them, they shouldn’t be under the radar,’’ he said. ‘‘You can’t let your guard down and have to be ready from the start.’’



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