Taj Gibson has set his playoff high in two of the last three games, scoring 32 and 22 points. He's the Bulls' leading scorer in the Washington series at 19.8 per game, while shooting 62 percent from the field.
"I feel like I've always been a scorer," he said Monday. "I don't always look to be aggressive all the time because I look at the task at hand. But it all comes down to matchups in the playoffs."
Since Luol Deng was traded, Gibson has been the Bulls' second-leading scorer behind D.J. Augustin. So this role isn't necessarily new for Gibson, he's just taken it to another level.
"It comes down to matchups. Just got to take advantage of the matchup," Gibson said. "I watch a lot of film, I come in at night and shoot when Thibs (Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is upstairs watching film. But I just felt confident and the way I work, whatever comes my way, I just have to be ready.
"Some nights, guys are going to feel it. Some nights, guys can't. You've just got to keep working your way through it."
Bulls still believe:
The Bulls have never come back from a 3-1 deficit in a playoff series. They sounded confident Monday at the Berto Center, knowing that a loss to Washington on Tuesday at the United Center will end their season.
"I've been around our team. This team has been up against it for two years," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "All we're thinking about tomorrow is win the game. Take it step by step. Don't get wrapped up in doomsday or any of that stuff. Just think about what we have to do to win."
Added Taj Gibson, "Without a doubt. You can't get your head down. We know we started the game off wrong last game. It's been like that all series. But you look at how things could've gone and we could be up 3-1. We gave away two tough ones at home early."
D.J. Augustin, the Bulls' top scorer, is shooting just 32.3 percent in the playoffs.
"We've got to keep believing in ourselves and keep doing what we've been doing all season," Augustin said. "Eventually, something will start working. We've got to counter some of their defensive strategies and just keep being aggressive."
Remembering Dr. Jack:
At Monday's practice, coach Tom Thibodeau saluted longtime NBA coach Jack Ramsey, who passed away Sunday at 89.
"Thoughts and prayers to his family. Just a terrific guy. Obviously, a great, great basketball coach but an even better person," he said. "I can recall when I started coaching, he had written a basketball book that was a basketball bible. Every coach had to read it. Anytime he was around as a broadcaster, he was just a joy to be around. What a great person. It's a sad day."