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updated: 11/4/2013 7:28 PM

Thibs wants Bulls to 'make it happen'

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  • Things have not been looking up for the Bulls early this season, and coach Tom Thibodeau feels a sense of urgency to turn things around.

    Things have not been looking up for the Bulls early this season, and coach Tom Thibodeau feels a sense of urgency to turn things around.
    Associated Press


The Bulls are off to a 1-2 start, while averaging nearly 19 turnovers per game and shooting 23 percent from 3-point range.

But it's early. The Bulls will figure things out and be fine by the end of the season, right?

Here's a shocker: Coach Tom Thibodeau does not support such a belief. In his mind, the sense of urgency should have kicked in the day after last season ended.

"I want to get away from the notion that we'll be OK -- 'We'll be OK. We have a lot of time,'" Thibodeau said Monday at the Berto Center "That's not the mentality you can have if you want to be a good team. You have to correct things immediately. You have to put the work into it. You can't hope it to happen. You have to make it happen. And we need everybody doing it."

So that explains why Monday's practice at the Berto Center lasted nearly three hours. The Bulls have looked good at times during these first three games, but each one featured a horrible stench of a stretch. Against Philadelphia and New York, the Bulls crumbled in the fourth quarter and coughed up leads. In the opener at Miami, they gave up a 17-0 run in the second quarter while Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler were on the bench with 3 fouls.

There is no shortage of explanations for why the Bulls aren't clicking early in the season. Derrick Rose sat out all of last season. Joakim Noah missed the majority of preseason with a groin strain. Newcomer Mike Dunleavy is still learning a new system.

"The core of these guys have been here for a long time now," Thibodeau countered. "It helps bring the new guys along a lot quicker. But it's a team-wide problem. This isn't a new guys problem. This is a Bulls problem. It's our entire team. And we have to correct it."

This was a good time for a three-day break between games. The Bulls will get another chance to practice Tuesday before heading to Indiana for another game against an Eastern Conference contender on Wednesday.

Rose said Monday's extended practice featured more scrimmaging than a typical Thibodeau workout.

"We've just got to keep coming in here and work on our chemistry," Rose said. "It's only three games. Everybody, I guess, is looking at it like it's 30 games in, because of the expectation of this year. It's just three games in. I think we're going to be fine, but we've just got to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball."

Not surprisingly, Rose's "All will be well" message didn't quite match Thibodeau's feelings.

"When you start with the mindset, 'I'm going to pace myself. We'll be there in the end' -- I haven't seen that work yet," said Thibodeau, who was speaking generally. "I know teams that get after it every day, those are the ones that are successful in the end. When you study all the championship teams, you won't find any that were pacing themselves."

Even last year's Spurs, who rested key starters occasionally? Oh wait, that team didn't have what it took to finish off Game 6 of the Finals. Maybe Thibodeau's theory checks out.

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