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updated: 1/30/2011 8:49 PM

Bulls know rough road lies ahead

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Tom Thibodeau changed a long-standing Bulls tradition by choosing to sit down during his postgame news conference after home games.

It's usually nuts-and-bolts basketball talk during those discussions, but he can toss in a joke every once in awhile.

Following Saturday's 110-89 victory over Indiana, Thibodeau was asked if the Bulls need to be careful not to get satisfied with their record, considering they'll play 11 of the next 14 games on the road.

"I don't even know what our record is," Thibodeau said.

It was a good line, though it is possible he wasn't joking. A short-term attention span is one cornerstone to Thibodeau's coaching philosophy.

"We're just looking at (Sunday) off, two good days of practice and getting ready for the Clippers," Thibodeau said after the win over Indiana. "Nothing beyond that.

"That works well for us. We don't want to look ahead. We don't want to look behind. We just want to look at what's in front of us."

This will be an interesting trip for the Bulls (33-14), starting with four games that could go either way. The Bulls lost to the Clippers by a point at home Dec. 17, so they figure to be focused for the rematch against rookie sensation Blake Griffin.

The next stop is Golden State. The high-scoring Warriors got off to a 7-4 start but have beaten teams with a winning record just twice since then.

Portland (Feb. 7) deserves credit for hanging on to eighth place in the West after losing Brandon Roy and Greg Oden to injuries. Boston, Miami and New York have all beaten the Blazers on the road this month, so the Bulls need to keep pace.

On Feb. 9, Carlos Boozer returns to Utah for the first time since jumping to the Bulls as a free agent. He had some great times with the Jazz but figures to be unpopular since he chose to leave.

Utah was among the West leaders but had lost six of seven heading into Sunday's date with Golden State.

The Bulls' trip ends with a tough matchup in New Orleans on Feb. 12. The Hornets knocked off several elite teams during a recent 10-game winning streak, which ended Saturday against Sacramento, of all teams.

Chris Paul has been in and out of the lineup the past two years, but the Bulls are 4-0 against the Hornets since Derrick Rose arrived, so Paul may have something to prove.

One thing working in the Bulls' favor is New Orleans plays at Orlando the day before this game, while the Bulls have two days off.

Just before the all-star break, the Bulls host league-leading San Antonio for one of just three home games in February. A week later Miami makes its second visit.

Then comes another five-game road trip that probably is more challenging then the one that starts this week: Milwaukee, Washington, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami.

It's borderline amazing that the Bulls are tied with the Heat for the NBA's third-best record. But this could all change quickly if they can't handle the rough road ahead.

"This is the NBA. There's always going to be a new challenge," Luol Deng said. "We've just got to look at it in a positive way.

"I don't think we're a team that's going to relax. I know we're playing well, but going on the road we know we're going to have to step it up. Teams are going after us now."

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