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Bulls forward Taj Gibson focused on reps, not Rose

Updated: December 30, 2012 4:06PM

Even with four losses in their last five games entering Wednesday, Taj Gibson insisted that life without Derrick Rose isn’t on the minds of the players.

Which leads one to believe that Gibson’s either in denial or a great liar.

“Really, we’re not even thinking about [Rose],’’ Gibson said Wednesday. “We’re thinking about getting everybody good reps, everyone getting better, guys watching film, guys understanding we have to do more.

‘‘In times like this you can’t really focus on when [Rose] gets back because you really never know when that time is [going to be]. We have a long season, we’re fighting for games and playoff position early in this season.’’

When mentioned to Gibson that outside opinion is that the Bulls’ fourth-quarter problems stem from not having Rose, he disagreed.

“After the fact, they can say that, but right now we don’t have Derrick,’’ Gibson said. “We have other guys that are here right now that have to put in the work and fill that slot until Derrick gets back. Right now Derrick is on his rehab, and there’s no pressure on him. We’re just letting him work. The focus is on the guys that are on the court.’’

Pick a lane

Head coach Tom Thibodeau was well aware of the criticism he’s received for his handling of the bench this season.

“You guys [in the media] got to pick your week. Last week I wasn’t playing the starters enough and now I’m playing them too much,’’ Thibodeau said Wednesday. “I just try and stay consistent.’’

Dodged a Maverick

Dallas guard Darren Collison was a late scratch Wednesday after suffering a sprained right middle finger. Collison is averaging 12.9 points and 6.3 assists per game this season.

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