Photos and Quotes | Bulls 113, 76ers 99 | 04.09.09
Bulls 113, Philadelphia 76ers 99 | 04.09.09
“I thought we came out a little slow in the first quarter but we caught some good rhythm in the second quarter. I thought we got back in the game by halftime to be 50 a piece. Our energy, I didn't think we were moving the basketball real well, we only had nine assists in the first half. I thought our defense and our ball movement was much better in the second half. We got into some pick and rolls with Derrick. I thought Tyrus was fantastic in the second half, really getting to the free-throw line, being aggressive, making them pay on the rotations. It was a good team effort again. Everyone contributed. I'm happy with the assists. I'm happy with the way we shot it. I'd like to get our defensive field goal percentage down. Overall, I'm happy with the effort tonight. Philadelphia has given us problems before. It was nice to see guys get out in the open court and make plays for each other, and have a big third and fourth quarter.
How proud are you that the team is almost .500?
“It's great. I thought we were making improvements before the trade. We were 7-3 in our last 10 before the trade, but there is no question that Brad and John and Tim have made a difference with their experience. We have more weapons, more players we can go to. All those things contributed. I've been pleased with the work the guys have been putting in in practice. The focused demeanor in the locker room. We've grown a lot in that respect. I'm a big proponent of going out and doing your job. Know what your role is and go to work. There are no excuses. Execute and grow as a player, and our younger players grown and mature on and off the court and become more consistent. That's how we're going to make the next step. We haven't accomplished anything yet. We have to take care of business at home and move up. Be pros, and execute the way we're capable of.”
How much better has Tyrus gotten?
“Tyrus is so athletic and he can do so many things defensively and offensively with his versatility around the glass. You have to scheme for him, because if you don't put a body on him and let him roam around, he's going to hurt you. Tyrus was ducking in and getting layups, a couple dunks, and then he got to the free throw line. He was aggressive when they tried to guard him. Tyrus, like I've always said, can change the complexion of the game with his athleticism. As he becomes a little more comfortable, older and experienced, he'll find his niche a little more consistently, and that will be a big factor for us.”
What was the key in the second half?
“I wish I could say there was any one thing, but we've just been building a foundation defensively which I think we're getting better at. We have to get better at that individually. Offensively in the core plays we run, we've been accomplishing things. I haven't changed any of the plays I've run. We've added maybe a couple of plays over that time. It's just the core of what we're doing and how we're doing it. I think guys at the beginning of the game were thinking, their feet were a little slow, but it is a reaction game. You have to have instincts, you have to react, you can't be thinking out there. When you react, things become easier. You're sharper and it becomes second nature. We'll get better at it and we'll have those lulls, but the challenge will be to climb out of those lulls.”
Regarding the second half:
“We just played more aggressive. We just woke up both offensively and defensively. We know we can win games, we just have to come out and be aggressive from the beginning. We have a lot of confidence. We know if we come out aggressive we'll have the fans on our side.”
How comfortable do you feel regarding where everyone is on the court?
“I've been playing with these guys the whole season, 70-some games. I know where they're at and they know where everyone else is going to be so it makes my job easier.”
Can you smell the playoffs?
“We just have to keep going. It's kind of tough for us not to make the playoffs right now, but at the same time we have to realize we're not there.”
Are the Bulls a dangerous team going into the playoffs?
“We're the most dangerous team going into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference right now. I wouldn't say anyone is counting us out, but we're the underdog right now. I think we're going to come out and shock a lot of people.”
What seems to be clicking with this team?
“Everything. Defense, offense we're all on the same page.”
“I really like the way we started out the game. Our defense was excellent in the first quarter. We did a good job of taking them out of things they wanted to do. Once they got their rhythm and momentum, it was difficult to stop them with the home crowd getting into it. They got on a roll. Even at half time with the tied score, I thought if we could come out and establish ourselves like we did in the first quarter, we could get control of the game. We could not get stops.”
Since you clinched a playoff spot you are 0-3. Coincidence?
“I think we really miss Thad. That is a really big part of our team. Other players have to play big minutes and he is one of our top players so that really hurts us. The team is working on it. We are going to stay positive and stay together. At some point we are going to get Thad back and establish our game. Besides the first quarter, I don't think we played our game. I knew the loss of Thad would impact us because he is our starting power forward and back-up three. Guys stepped up and rallied. We just have to stay together as a team.”
How tough is it to play in the Bulls' building?
“It is tough because they are getting into a rhythm at the right time. They are moving the ball and sharing. They are playing well off each other. They are taking advantage of their shooters and the fast break. Their point guard is playing some good basketball.”
Shorthanded, is it difficult to do what you want to do?
“We can still do what we want to do. We've had about three bad games, now. We've had some players out, but we're not going to use that as an excuse. It helps that we have the playoff spot locked up, but we still want to position ourselves. We still have the opportunity to do that. We lost some games that we needed, every game is important. We're not able to pull it out.”