3 keys for Bulls vs. Magic
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org November 6, 2012 12:12PM
The Bulls will need to slow down Magic guard J.J. Redick, who is off to a career-best start. | AP
Updated: November 6, 2012 1:45PM
Tom Thibodeau is the master of keeping his hand on the table for no one to see. So of course in perfect Thibodeau fashion he wasn’t going to get sucked into any type of election talk on Tuesday.
Asked if he was keeping an eye on the election today, the Bulls coach responded, “When is it?’’ Smiled and walked away.
After all, the Magic are in town and there’s work to be done in the World of Thibs.
Here’s what the Bulls would like to get done tonight against the Magic:
1. Put the clamps on J.J. – With Jameer Nelson [groin] not expected to play, J.J. Redick will once again get a chance for some heavy minutes, which means heavy shooting from beyond the arc. The guard is having a career-start to a season so far, averaging 22.5 points per game, including doing his usual damage from long range, hitting 6-of-8 from 3-point land. The entire Orlando lineup likes to shoot the three, but it starts with Redick, and keeping him clamped up.
“Each year he’s gotten better in the league,’’ Thibodeau said of Redick after the Tuesday shoot-around. “He’s always been a good player, he’s played extremely well for them over the years. And I think that along with his experience, he’s gotten stronger, he’s always been a terrific shooter. He’s shown that he’s a very good player.’’
Expect Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton to be all over the former Duke star.
2. Pick up the pieces – There is no time to feel sorry for themselves after the loss to New Orleans, and the message in the shoot-around was once again play as a team on both sides of the ball and stay focused. Two things they didn’t do against the Hornets.
“Defensively, it’s our whole team tied together, and offensively it’s the same thing,’’ Thibodeau said. “We’re not going to beat anybody individually, we have to do it collectively. We have to run a five-man offense and a five-man defense.’’
3. Baby sitting – Glen “Big Baby’’ Davis has had his way through the first two wins for the Magic, as they beats Denver and Phoenix, with the power forward averaging 25.5 points and 9 rebounds a game. Then again, Davis is yet to do that against an athletic frontline like the Bulls can throw at him, with Carlos Boozer expected to get the first crack at him, but Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammed waiting in the wings. Davis is the one lethal post player Orlando has, and a must to contain. If he scores with ease inside it opens up the perimeter shooting because of the help he would draw.