Butler glad to have pick-me-up game vs. Knicks
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter October 30, 2013 9:15PM
Updated: October 30, 2013 10:54PM
Coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t tolerate hangovers or excuses.
One day after a bad showing in Miami, it was about moving forward and turning the attention to the home opener Thursday against the Knicks.
“Every game reveals things to you,’’ Thibodeau said Wednesday. “It tells you the things you need to work on. We got a pretty good idea. You have to make your corrections whether you win or lose.
‘‘You prefer to do it after winning, but you learn each day, strive for improvement and get ready for the next one.’’
Not that it’ll take a lot to get ready for that next one.
In sweeping the season series against New York last season, the Bulls raised the intensity of the rivalry, getting under the skin of Knicks players. In a Dec. 21 game in New York, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and coach Mike Woodson were ejected.
“Oh, yeah, definitely,’’ said guard Jimmy Butler, who was glad the Bulls opened the season with back-to-back rivalry games. “I feel like we don’t really want to be friends with anybody in this league. We want to beat everybody. When it’s between those lines, we want to be the tougher team.
‘‘I feel like everybody on our team couldn’t care less if you like them or not. We just want to win games. There’s no friends when you get out there between those lines.’’
The Bulls might not be in the business of making buddies, but they are in the business of winning games. And it was a big stumble in Miami, but one that’s believed to be a quick fix.
“It’s definitely motivation,’’ center Joakim Noah said of the loss. “As disappointing as it is to lose to those guys, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. We made a lot of mistakes. I missed a lot of easy baskets around the rim, and I’m just going to keep working, and I’m going to be better next time we play them.’’
Signed and sealed
Picking up the fourth-year contract option on Butler was a no-brainer, but the Bulls also made the leap of faith on guard Marquis Teague, announcing they were picking up his third-year option. Both are signed through the 2014-15 season.
In Butler, the Bulls have their starting shooting guard locked up and working alongside Derrick Rose the next two seasons, with a salary that will climb to just over $2 million in the final year. But Butler is a keeper moving forward.
Teague, who was rumored to be in trade talks during training camp, is the third point guard on the roster, but the hope is the second-year player will continue to improve and could be the backup to Rose next season with Kirk Hinrich a free agent.
Coming out healthy
Noah (groin) and Hinrich (shoulder) played in the opener after being considered doubtful at the end of training camp. Noah was limited to about 20 minutes against the Heat, and he and Hinrich came out of the game with no setbacks.
Now it’s about building their conditioning back up, especially for Noah.
“There was good and bad,’’ Thibodeau said. “Kirk did a really good job for us. Jo rebounded the ball well. His timing isn’t there yet on offense. He has to continue to work on that. Jo obviously missed a lot more time than Kirk did. He has to put the work in, and hopefully it will come back soon.’’