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Bulls know rebounding can’t be an uncertainty

BostCeltics forward Jeff Green center goes basket against Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler left center Joakim Noah right during first

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green, center, goes to the basket against Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, left, and center Joakim Noah, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski) ORG XMIT: CXA103

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Updated: May 2, 2014 6:34AM



There are certain aspects of a game that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will concede to the opposition. Rebounding is not one of them.

It didn’t matter that the Bulls, outrebounded in six of their last 10 games entering Monday, still found a way to win four of those games. To Thibodeau, that’s flirting with danger.

And with just eight regular-season games left after Monday’s win over the Boston Celtics at the United Center, that’s also a messy house going into the playoffs.

‘‘It’s been inconsistent,’’ Thibodeau said before the game, in which the Bulls finished with a 48-45 rebounding edge. ‘‘We’ve been a very good rebounding team all season. You have to look at it in totality, and I think right now, actually, there were several plays [from Sunday’s win at Boston] in which we had good block-outs and we took off where one guy was thinking the other guy was taking it.

‘‘Just gang rebounding, having all five guys do it, that’s the biggest thing.’’

But the recent trend is a head-scratcher, considering the Bulls entered the rematch with the Celtics ninth in the NBA with 44.6 rebounds per game and fifth in rebound differential with a plus-3.2 per game.

‘‘I think we need to get back to focusing on that,’’ guard Jimmy Butler said. ‘‘I feel like when we’re rebounding and playing that hustle game, we’re just a better team.’’

They’re running out of time to turn that back into a strength.

‘‘Well, I always think we can do better,’’ Thibodeau said of where the Bulls were entering April. ‘‘There’s some things we’re doing well, some things were not doing as well as we would like.’’

Sub-.500 finish

Of the eight regular-season opponents left, only the Washington Wizards have a record of .500 or better — not exactly a trial by fire going into the playoffs, but Taj Gibson wasn’t concerned.

‘‘Thibs is going to make sure we’re ready,’’ Gibson said. ‘‘We’re a veteran group, so we understand playoffs and everything else. We understand tightening up, and that’s what we’re trying to do now, tighten up and get our games in order. This is a time we’ve got to get sharp.’’

Said Thibodeau: ‘‘You take the schedule as it comes. There are stretches where you might play five teams, five out of six teams might be above .600, so you have to prepare the same way you would for what you guys perceive is a lesser team.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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