Thibodeau rights Bulls’ wrongs
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com April 23, 2013 10:28PM
Joe Johnson, Tom Thibodeau
Updated: April 23, 2013 11:57PM
If you’re an NBA coach, the last thing you want is for Tom Thibodeau to have a chip on his shoulder, game film, a rewind button and time on his hands.
Ask Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo.
After the Nets’ blowout victory in Game 1, Carlesimo was moving pieces on the checkerboard going into Game 2, but Thibodeau was playing chess.
That’s why the Bulls’ film session was so heated on Sunday.
“Once Thibs got into us in that film room, we couldn’t wait to get on that court,’’ forward Taj Gibson said. “We saw all the back cuts, all the easy baskets to the lane by the Nets. I mean, we don’t give up points like that in the paint. We just wanted to lock in and put a stop to it.
“[Thibodeau] was really laying into guys. I never saw him so inflamed. He was really calling guys out, letting guys know what he needs them to do. He wanted to make sure that everyone would go out and dominate their matchup, and he really challenged guys the last couple of days.’’
Thibodeau got the desired results.
Brooklyn had 56 points in the paint in Game 1 and 30 Game 2.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson combined for 38 points on 16-for-28 shooting (57 percent) in Game 1 and 25 points on 7-for-27 shooting (26 percent) in Game 2.
“Without a doubt, Thibs had time to make adjustments,’’ swingman Jimmy Butler said. “We had that from the jump, for the most part. We just had to emphasize it and make sure that we had to be there. We took away their points in the paint, and that was key.’’
That meant making the adjustments on the pick-and-roll the Nets had so much success with in Game 1. Williams and backup guard C.J. Watson did a great job in the opener of reading the roll and making the pocket pass for the easy basket. The Bulls made that passing lane more difficult to find in Game 2 and also sent backside help to wall it off.
An undisciplined team such as the Nets forced the shot or made a pass for a long jumper. Exactly what Thibodeau wanted to see.
Just as important as the Bulls’ defensive adjustments, however, was their offensive execution. Getting better shots meant more makes than misses.
That also meant Brooklyn had to inbound the ball after makes, giving the Bulls’ defense time to set up.
“You don’t want them to have time to get back and set up,’’ Carlesimo said. “Take your pick on Offense 101. You need ball movement, you need man movement, you need to set good screens, you need to throw crisp passes and you need to utilize a good chunk of the clock, and then when it’s all said and done, you still need to make a contested jump shot at the end.
“They are very, very sound defensively. You can score, guys in this league can make bad shots with a guy draped all over them, but the Bulls, more than most teams, don’t give you easy baskets in the halfcourt.
‘‘We don’t all do that as well as they do, and that’s why they’re so good defensively.’’
Brooklyn will have until Thursday to make the adjustments, but that also gives Thibodeau two full days before Game 3.
That’s never a good thing for the opposition.