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Bulls won’t face same 76ers team that knocked them out

Updated: January 2, 2013 6:13AM



The Philadelphia 76ers team that will play at the United Center on Saturday won’t be the same one that knocked the Bulls out of the first round of the playoffs last season.

But that might not be such a good thing. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said the Sixers added a lot of shooters. That could present more of a challenge to the Bulls than they faced in the playoffs.

So Thibodeau doesn’t think that harping on last season will do the Bulls any good in the teams’ first meeting this season.

“It’s in the past,” Thibodeau said. “You learn from every situation. They’re our next opponent, so we have to know them well. They’re different in terms of some of their personnel, but philosophically they’re still the same.

‘‘[Doug Collins is] their coach, great coach. He always gets his teams to play to their strengths and cover their weaknesses.”

Perfection

The Bulls’ defense showed vast improvement Wednesday when it held the Dallas Mavericks to 34.6 percent shooting in a 101-78 victory.

Still, Thibodeau isn’t satisfied with a team that he said could be playing better.

“We have to be a 48-minute team,” Thibodeau said. “There were stretches where we probably didn’t play as well as we would have liked.

Get to the line

One way for the Bulls to improve their defense is to get to the free-throw line. On Wednesday, they shot 33 free throws, which Thibodeau said allowed them to get their defense set.



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