Obviously, the Bulls appreciated having Derrick Rose back on the floor for Monday's 90-79 win over Atlanta.
But they were also due for a win after that ugly home loss to New Jersey two days earlier.
By beating the Hawks, the Bulls stretched their streak of not losing consecutive regular-season games to 377 days. It hasn't happened since Feb. 5 and 7 of last season, at Golden State and Portland.
"We just couldn't wait to play," Carlos Boozer said after Monday's win. "After getting beat, especially at home, the way we got beat, all of us were excited to play. We watched almost every bit of the tape, saw all of our mistakes. Tonight, you could see, we played a lot better."
Rose missed five straight contests with back spasms and has been sidelined for 10 games total this season, but the Bulls were able to keep their bounce-back streak intact.
"No matter what the stakes are, no matter what things are against us, we've just got that mindset to come out with more energy and learn from our mistakes," Taj Gibson said. "That's what we do a lot -- learn from our mistakes."
Break time coming:
The Bulls skipped practice Tuesday and have one game remaining -- Wednesday against Milwaukee -- before the all-star break.
As soon as the Bulls returned from their monster nine-game road trip, coach Tom Thibodeau started cautioning everyone about a letdown with a long homestand and all-star break at hand.
"I think it's all about trying to live in the moment," Joakim Noah said. "It's easy to have your mind think about the all-star break. Especially, everyone's a little tired right now. We have a big game (Wednesday). We're trying to keep this momentum going."
"It's been a grind," Carlos Boozer added. "But I think everyone's up for one more before the break."
James ready to write:
Veteran guard Mike James is already an author, having penned his life story, which is titled, "Fight For Your Dreams." Now he's preparing for the follow-up.
"My life story was almost like it was scripted," he explained. "At times, I had to laugh at some of the situations that happened to me in my life, so I thought it was worth putting in book form and letting others take the ride with me on my life story.
"I'm thinking about writing another book in the future. As we were working out the other day, (Joakim Noah) was like, 'All right, Mike, don't be putting any of the team gossip in your next book.'
"I had to let him know, I make sure I keep it out. I'm not like one of those vixens writing a tell-all book. I don't do that."
Thibs sees choppiness:
The Bulls' lineups have changed constantly this season with all the injuries. When Derrick Rose came back Monday, backup point guard C.J. Watson was out with a possible concussion.
"We're not in rhythm right now. It's real choppy," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Part of it is not having the (practice) repetitions you would like to clean that up -- timing, spacing, screening. We've got to correct that.
"These guys have played well together at times. Would you prefer to have the same group? Yes. But we're capable of doing a lot better and we've shown that. Right now, we've got to be careful not to be taking shortcuts. We have to be able to execute, make the extra pass, everyone do their job, and then we have to do it for 48 minutes."