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updated: 11/9/2013 10:32 PM

Bulls too generous with turnovers

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  • The Bulls' Derrick Rose leads the NBA with 5 turnovers per game.

    The Bulls' Derrick Rose leads the NBA with 5 turnovers per game.
    Associated Press


The Bulls needed a win, but there's no need to get carried away with Friday's result.

Utah started the night as the NBA's only winless team and it showed. While the Bulls did plenty of things well in the 97-73 victory, one glaring problem remained -- turnovers.

The Bulls lost the ball 21 times against the Jazz. They're now averaging 19 turnovers per game and, through Friday's action, only two teams in the league were worse (Utah and Golden State).

"That's one of the areas we have to clean up," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. "I thought we did a lot of good things to get a big lead. Then I thought we got a little careless.

"Overall, I thought there was a lot of very unselfish play. Everyone was trying to make a concerted effort to make the extra pass, hit the open man, pass up a good shot to get a great shot. We've got to get that number down to 13 (turnovers) or less."

Derrick Rose has been the biggest contributor and leads the league with 5 turnovers per game. He had 4 giveaways against Utah, even though he played a relatively low 27 minutes. With the game well in hand, Rose sat out the entire fourth quarter.

Rose is obviously showing some rust after missing all of last season. Opposing teams are also testing his reflexes. Utah couldn't muster much defensive pressure, but Miami, Philadelphia and Indiana doubled Rose aggressively. He still has more turnovers (25) than assists (20) on the season.

After Friday's game, Rose said he thinks teams have changed the way they send double-teams at him.

"They're bringing up both guys so I won't have a chance to split (the double team)," he said. "They're really forcing me to pass the ball. It's just something you get used to. Early in my career when they were double-teaming me, they were giving me the opportunity to go at the big. They're taking that away now and I've just got to learn it."

It's probably safe to say Rose will continue to get that treatment until the Bulls prove they can exploit the strategy. The next game is Monday against Cleveland at the United Center.

"It's kind of slowing me down because it's forcing my teammates to make plays," Rose said. "At the same time, it's easy basketball when I pass it to them. I know I'll have an opportunity to go at them or score when I want to. But us jelling is the biggest thing right now."

There's no obvious answer to the Bulls cutting down on turnovers. As time goes on, Rose will get more comfortable and the team will learn how to deal with defensive pressure.

Luol Deng was a nice option in the Utah game, finishing with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 steals. At this point, Rose is the Bulls' third leading scorer, trailing Carlos Boozer and Deng. How long that lasts remains to be seen.

"I never try to change my game," Deng said. "Once you try to do too much, you're not trusting your teammates and you're doing things out of character. In this system, I know what my role is and I try to play it every night."

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