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Bulls can’t slip after great trip

Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler (above) said having Derrick Rose accompany team Floridtrip was huge boost. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler (above) said having Derrick Rose accompany the team on the Florida trip was a huge boost. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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The facts: 7, Ch. 9, 720-AM.

The Bulls have suffered letdowns after resounding victories this season.

So after an impressive road win Friday over the Heat, there might be reasons to be wary going into the game Monday against the Cavaliers at the United Center.

The focus Sunday at the Berto Center was on regrouping in the Bulls’ first practice since the emotional 96-89 victory in Miami.

The team is hoping it has learned from past experiences.

“I feel like we always go into every game expecting to win,” swingman Jimmy Butler said. “I mean, who doesn’t? We have lulls at times, but I feel like we’re back up to pace. We’re back up to par. We’ll be OK. We know what we have to do. We just have to go out there and execute.”

The Bulls scoffed at the notion that Friday’s victory was any kind of barometer with 51 games left. Instead, it was qualified as the type of game they had to win to keep pace in the conference.

Coach Tom Thibodeau was reluctant to even discuss the game.

“It’s not the end-all, be-all,” Thibodeau said. “Like there were still things that we can do a lot better. We have to look ahead to our next game, concentrate to make sure that we understand who Cleveland is, how they’re playing right now and be ready for the game.”

The Bulls won’t look to ride any emotion generated from the victory in Miami, but Butler said that having injured guard Derrick Rose along on the road trip had a positive effect.

“You could see the boost he gave us by being on the road with us,” Butler said. “It was crazy just having him around, having a smile, the spirit, and he’s happy and cheering us on. It’s big. It’s not only what he does on the court; it’s also what he does on the sidelines.”

NOTE: The Bulls announced Sunday that they’ve signed shooting guard Daequan Cook, who was released Thursday by the Rockets.

In five-plus seasons, Cook has averaged 6.9 points and 2.2 rebounds and is best known for his three-point shooting. He won the 2009 All-Star Weekend three-point shootout.

“The most important thing was I wasn’t going to get an opportunity to play [in Houston], and we parted ways,” Cook said. “I have nothing bad to say about the team. Now it’s time to get focused and prepare to play with the Bulls.”

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