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Kyle Korver’s film work helps him turn up defense

Bulls guard C.J. Watsis sent court as Miami guard Mario Chalmers drives basket first half as Chicago Bulls host Miami

Bulls guard C.J. Watson is sent to the court as Miami guard Mario Chalmers drives to the basket in the first half as the Chicago Bulls host the Miami Heat Thursday April 12, 2012 at the United Center. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times photo

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Updated: May 14, 2012 8:23AM

Kyle Korver vowed to return to the Bulls this season as a better defensive player. He has accomplished it, thanks largely to film work.

‘‘I go over all my minutes with [assistant coach] Andy Greer after every game,’’ Korver said. ‘‘I go over where I could be better on defense, when to square guys up, when to force them in a different direction, my hands, my feet — we go over everything.’’

Korver has played two of his best games in a Bulls uniform back-to-back. Tom Thibodeau called Tuesday night’s victory over the Knicks his best defensive game in two years with the Bulls. Korver had 11 of his 17 points in Thursday night’s win over the Heat in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Everybody knows Korver can shoot. He has shot 11-for-16 from the field, including 8-for-11 from behind the stripe, in his last two games. But it’s his defense that has been most surprising.

‘‘He really works at it,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He puts a lot of time in. He studies. He watches a ton of film. He knows his opponent. He’s done a great job for us.’’

Korver said spending another season in Thibodeau’s system has helped, too.

‘‘Coming from Utah, our philosophies were opposite of what we’re running here,’’ Korver said. ‘‘There’s a lot of times you’re in a game and there’s a quick play and you go back to your old tendencies. It took a little time to break that. I still have a ways to go, but I’m getting better at it.’’

LeBron ‘not perfect’

Thibodeau said he came away impressed with LeBron James after the Bulls unsuccesfully pursued him when he was a free agent during the 2010 offseason.

‘‘He was great,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He’s a fierce competitor. I thought [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] said it best: ‘He earned the right to do what he did.’ He handled himself overall well. He’s not perfect. No one is. But he was great with us, and that’s all I base it on.’’

Thibodeau didn’t sound surprised by the backlash against James when he chose the Heat over staying with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

‘‘You’re never going to please everybody,” he said. “You just have to be true to yourself and he was. That was the best decision for him. It didn’t work out for us. We moved on. He moved on. It’s all good.’’

Bulls fourth sans Rose

The Bulls went 16-7 without Derrick Rose this season. If they stretched that winning percentage over an entire season, they would have the fourth-best record in the league behind only Oklahoma City, Miami and San Antonio.

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