After a rough ending in Indiana knocked the Bulls to 1-3 on the season, there was plenty of activity in the gym when Thursday's practice ended.
Derrick Rose sat watching film with coach Tom Thibodeau. Joakim Noah worked on his post moves. Kirk Hinrich drove to the basket with video coordinator Dice Yoshimoto. Luol Deng dribbled a medicine ball.
Bulls game dayBulls vs. Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 6 p.m. Wednesday
TV/radio: CSN Chicago, ESPN/WMVP 1000-AM
At a glance: While others stumble, Indiana is the best of the East right now. The Pacers improved to 4-0 with Tuesday's 99-91 win at Detroit. Paul George scored 31 points and is averaging 25.7 on the season. SG Lance Stephenson is averaging 19.0 points and shooting 60 percent from the field. George Hill didn't play against Detroit because of a hip injury, which means ex-Bull C.J. Watson may start at point guard against his former team. Danny Granger is also out with an injury.
Next game: Friday vs. Utah Jazz at the United Center, 7 p.m.
-- Mike McGraw
Then there was a rotating game of one-on-one featuring Marquis Teague, Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler, Nazr Mohammed, Mike James and Erik Murphy. Not sure who won, but Teague probably had the best moves, while Snell took the easy way out by draining several 3-pointers.
In theory, this could all fall under Thibodeau's grand plan: When adversity hits, you just have to work your way out of it.
Or, with 0-5 Utah coming to town tomorrow, there's a good opportunity for things to get better.
"Things turn around really quick in this league," Luol Deng said at the Berto Center. "We've just got to focus on getting better. We're not happy with the results and how we're ending games. There's no panicking. I really believe that we work hard enough, (so) we're going to turn it around."
Deng and Kirk Hinrich were part of the Bulls team that started 0-9, then ended up going 47-35 under Scott Skiles in 2004-05.
The current Bulls seem to be running into the same problems. One bad stretch ruins an otherwise satisfactory performance. Against the Pacers, the Bulls led by 2 points with 7:15 left, the stumbled down the stretch while Indiana finished the game on a 30-11 run.
"Maybe 30 games from now -- when we still have 52 more -- if we're still struggling, then we'll start to worry a little bit," Deng said. "Honestly, I want to be 4-0, but at the same time I want to be positive. You have to know it's a really long season. Things turn around quickly in this league."
Deng is one of several Bulls off to a slow start. He's 1-for-15 from 3-point range. Derrick Rose is shooting 31.3 percent from the field with more turnovers (21) than assists (15). The Bulls' defense has allowed 103.7 points in the three losses, which is out of character.
"Prior to last night, we had been very high assists," Thibodeau said Thursday. "When things aren't going well, the intentions are good to try to lift us up individual. But you have to remember to do it collectively, not try to do too much individually. Make plays for each other. Function well as a team. That's where we need to continue to grow."
The Bulls haven't always clicked well on the court and it's not hard to figure out why. Rose is back after not playing last season, Noah missed most of preseason with a groin injury and the Bulls' starting five never played together until the opener at Miami.
"You never think you're going to lose," Deng said. "If you asked me, I would have told you we're going to be 4-0. We have a lot of things we need to improve on.
"When you start winning, it's a habit. You start rolling. When you start losing, you want to put an end t it as soon as you can. So we've just got to focus on the game tomorrow, take it one at a time. And before you know it, we'll have our winning record back."