A coaching milestone will be on the line tonight in Orlando.
If the Bulls beat the Magic, Tom Thibodeau's career record will improve to 100-30 and he will surpass Avery Johnson for getting to 100 wins faster than any coach in NBA history.
Johnson started 100-31 for Dallas in 2006, so if the Bulls lose to Orlando, the best Thibodeau could do is tie the record Wednesday at Toronto.
Thibodeau didn't want to talk about the century mark after Saturday's 89-80 win over Philadelphia, but his players had fun with it.
Luol Deng wanted credit for being on the floor so often during those 100 victories.
“Yeah, when they talk about it in the future, about his fastest wins, I hope you guys talk about my minutes,” Deng said with a laugh. “Seriously, it's great. I'm happy for Thibs. It's great.”
Joakim Noah launched into a Thibodeau impression while predicting his coach's reaction to such a record.
“That would be huge,” Noah said. “But I know how Thibs is, and it's, ‘The next game is all that matters. We're not worried about what's going to happen in two weeks. We're worried about Orlando and that's it.'”
The Bulls' franchise record for fastest to 100 coaching wins belongs to Phil Jackson, who needed 142 games to get it done.
Deng staying right:
Luol Deng understands that the first line on every team's defensive scouting report now reads, “Attack his left-handed dribble.”
Deng continues to struggle with the torn ligament in his left wrist and gave it up one time to Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala while trying to go left.
“I'm sure. Trust me, I'm seeing that right is taken away,” Deng said after Saturday's game. “I was expecting that. I think it's good. We still have something around 19 games left. I'll just keep working in practice and see how people are playing me.
“I really believe it's going to come. Just keep working, finding ways to change my game a little bit. I'm real positive. I think I can do enough, even with this, for us to be a good team.”
Deng finished with 6 points and hit 3-of-11 shots against the Sixers. But he was also the Bulls' second-leading rebounder with 9 and held Iguodala, an all-star, to 7 points.
“I was very pleased with the way that he played and I thought his leadership was terrific,” coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Bulls big men dish:
There has been an interesting shift in the Bulls' offense while Derrick Rose missed the last three games with a groin strain. The big men are getting most of the assists.
Against Miami, Carlos Boozer led the team in assists with 5. In the loss to Portland, Joakim Noah led with 5. On Saturday against Philadelphia, Noah and Taj Gibson tied for team honors with 4 each.
“The game tells you who's going to make the plays,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Often times, they're blitzing the pick-and-roll or the ball's coming back to your bigs. We're fortunate our bigs are very good decision-makers, so we can run our offense through our bigs.
“In general, I'd like us to get more easy baskets from running the floor more. Then we've got to get the ball moving. When we do that, everyone has assists. I'm more concerned with making the right play.”
Cry for Argentinean:
Philadelphia coach Doug Collins mentioned before Saturday's game that the Sixers have agreed to a contract buyout with forward Andres Nocioni, who wasn't playing much.
Luol Deng wasted no time lobbying for a return to Chicago for Nocioni, who started his NBA career with the Bulls in 2004.
“I hope we do (bring him back),” Deng said. “I put a lot of credit for my NBA career in that guy's hands. Just coming in as a rookie and seeing how he worked and how he approached games, helped me a lot.”
Asked about the chances of Derrick Rose playing against Orlando, Tom Thibodeau didn't sound optimistic. “I don't know. We'll see. It's day to day.” ... Friday's loss to Portland ended a streak of 49 consecutive regular-season wins when they led heading into the fourth quarter. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that was the longest such streak in the NBA since Utah won 67 straight times from 1997-99.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.