Tom Thibodeau is fastest coach to 100 wins
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 2012 10:10PM
Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer, left, and Joakim Noah congratulate each other during a timeout in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla., Monday, March 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Updated: April 21, 2012 8:16AM
ORLANDO, Fla. — Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wanted to win Monday against the Orlando Magic, all right, but not for selfish reasons.
The 85-59 victory made Thibodeau the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 100 wins, breaking Avery Johnson’s record of 100 wins in 131 games, but that was hardly his motivation.
‘‘I want to beat Orlando,” he said. “That’s the only thing that matters. All that other stuff is meaningless.”
The Bulls won like they have so many times this season. With two starters on the bench, they got contributions from everywhere. Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 13 rebounds while backup point guard John Lucas III added 20 points and Luol Deng 14. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 18.
Fittingly for the defensive-minded Thibodeau, the Bulls set a regular-season record for fewest points allowed in his 100th win. The old record was 62 against the Milwaukee Bucks in 1997. Of course, the Bulls had a 96-54 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 3 of the 1998 NBA Finals.
‘‘It speaks to the job he’s done,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of Thibodeau. ‘‘There are a lot of great coaches in this league, and a lot of people have done great jobs, both last year and this year, but nobody has done a better job than Tom has. He’s probably doing a better job this year than he did a year ago. With all the injuries they’ve had and everything else, they just keep rolling along. I told my assistants the other day, they could probably have all five starters out and they would still beat everybody. It just seems like they win no matter what.
‘‘To me, they’re the best team in the league. As far as a team, collectively playing together, being unselfish, being committed, all those things, doing what it takes to win, they’re the best team. Being the fastest to 100 — you don’t need the accomplishment to know the great job he’s doing, but it’s a great accomplishment.’’
Said the Bulls’ Kyle Korver, ‘‘There have been a lot of great coaches, but I don’t think there’s ever been a coach who prepares like he does. He has an unbelievable work ethic. It drives him and makes him who he is.’’
Thibodeau said his record is more a reflection of the organization than anything he has done.
‘‘The respect of your peers is important,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘[But] all that stuff, whether it’s praise or criticism, it shouldn’t affect you. You really only answer to yourself. Only you know if you’re putting everything you have into something. Once you do that, you should be fine with everything, and I am. I love the group we have. They work hard every day, and give you everything they have.”
Derrick Rose missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury and may not be back for a while. Lucas, in Rose’s absence, ended the first quarter by making three consecutive three-pointers — the first time he’d hit three in a game — in less than two minutes. The Bulls extended the lead to 48-33 at halftime and led by 26 in the fourth quarter.