With two games being played, there are only three possible scenarios a team can be in.
They can be 2-0, 0-2 or 1-1 which is where the Bulls find themselves after Monday night’s 99-91 loss to the Golden State Warriors (1-1) that didn’t seem as close as the final score would indicate.
The Bulls turned the ball over 20 times, which the Warriors converted into 22 points and for the second straight game seemed incapable of asserting their will defensively as the trio of Monta Ellis (26 points, 7 assists) Stephen Curry (21 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 6 steals) and David Lee (22 points) got whatever they wanted against a defense that seemed a step slow all night.
Keeping in mind that Sunday’s Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers was an escape more than a win, the Bulls play on both ends of the floor has left a lot to be desired.
“[Thibodeau] just said it was bull**** and he’s right,” said a frustrated Joakim Noah who was benched a long with Carlos Boozer for the entire fourth quarter. “We’re not going to get to where we want to get to playing defense like that and it’s frustrating. We have to improve. Even though we beat the Lakers, we only played well in lapses.”
Turnovers are going to happen but some of which were just downright inexcusable, such as C.J. Watson (13 points) being stripped by Kwame Brown and defensively, it’s not often that the Bulls allow halfcourt lobs, let alone two of them in the same game. One can only imagine, the heartburn Thibodeau was caused watching all three plays unfold.
“He’s mad,” said Derrick Rose, who struggled for the second consecutive time in Oracle Arena, finishing with 13 points on 4-17 shooting. “We can’t be any more mad than him, I’ll say that. He’s a coach. He knows what we’re capable of. He sees how hard we practice. And we disappointed him tonight, so all we can do is go out there the next game, go into practice, practice hard for him and go into the game and show him that we’re capable of doing the things that he knows we can do.”
Not just for Thibodeau but for themselves as well.
Thursday night, they will play a Sacramento Kings team that can put up points just as easily as the Warriors. It will be a chance to prove to correct some of the mistakes of the first two games and help reestablish their identity of last season.
It will also help in easing the nerves of fans and of course, coach Thibodeau.
‘‘You have to know who you are,’’ said Thibodeau after the loss. ‘‘Defend, rebound, inside-out, share the ball, no turnovers.’’
Until they can get back to Thibodeau’s 5 laws, consistently, the Bulls will remain searching as to who they are.