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updated: 2/6/2014 6:31 AM

Bulls' Thibodeau keeps it simple, effective

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  • Coach Tom Thibodeau's consistent message might be dull and repetitive, but it works for the Bulls.

    Coach Tom Thibodeau's consistent message might be dull and repetitive, but it works for the Bulls.
    Associated Press


Carlos Boozer spoke his mind the other day, talking about how much he wants to be out on the floor helping his team in the fourth quarter.

If Boozer can do it, I'll go ahead today and make a bold statement about the Bulls. Some might find this comment controversial, but I honestly don't think it is.

Sometimes coach Tom Thibodeau can be a little dull in media interviews.

There, I wrote it. What's the big deal? Although I should clarify this point: When I say "dull," I really mean "repetitive."

When I hear someone ask a question that I know will prompt Thibodeau to launch into his "You could make an excuse every day" speech, or his "Every team in the NBA is good" speech, I honestly feel like interrupting.

"Excuse me, I think we all know where this is going and we've heard it 100 times before. Next question."

The next time Thibodeau says during a pregame media session, "There are three things that go into winning," I think he should finish the sentence with, "Can anyone tell me what those are?"

My hand would be waving immediately (defense, rebounding, low turnovers).

At the same time, the two-game sample just completed by the Bulls proved again that repetition and a consistent message are among Thibodeau's strongest weapons as a coach.

The Bulls were trounced by a Sacramento squad riding a seven-game losing streak, then turned around the next night and beat a Phoenix team on a five-game winning streak. During Thibodeau's four seasons with the Bulls, those sort of turnarounds have been common place.

Whenever the Bulls have been floundering, whenever they string together a couple of wretched performances, Thibodeau always has gotten his players back on track quickly. By all appearances, those repetitive messages are getting the job done.

Anyone who follows the Bulls knows what they are: The same things go into winning. Focus only on what's in front of you. Prepare for each game the same way. Every game is winnable. We can never lose sight of how hard we have to play.

When things are going badly, Thibodeau's Bulls never go back to square one. They don't need to shake things up. A little refocus on the essentials of winning in the NBA and things turn out fine.

Boozer detailed the situation following Tuesday's 101-92 victory at Phoenix. Boozer produced 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Joakim Noah bounced back from his ejection in Sacramento with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Jimmy Butler and D.J. Augustin added 18 points each.

"He just got us together and said, 'Look, guys, we've got to get back to playing our way,'" Boozer said, according to's Nick Friedell. "We can't let frustration set in like (the Sacramento game). … Tonight we just got together in our meeting and said, 'Yo, no matter what happens tonight, let's just fight for 48 minutes.' And you saw that."

Would Thibodeau's strategy work for Luol Deng's cast of young knuckleheads in Cleveland? Tough to say. But through his repetitive answers, in some ways Thibodeau is telling us everything we need to know about how the Bulls work.

•Follow Mike's Bulls reports on Twitter @McGrawDHBulls.

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