Tom Thibodeau has never before had to deal with a three-game losing streak as head coach of the Chicago Bulls. This is foreign territory for a coach who has won more than 70 percent of his regular season games and kept his team at a .500 record or better since Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. However, his diagnosis of the problems plaguing his team are very familiar. He says the team's defensive execution in crunch time has been sub-par.
"Everyone has a responsibility in your team scheme, pick-and-roll defense, so we have to stay disciplined and we have to stay attached, and we can't make things up and so, the fourth quarter's different. Your intensity is higher and we have to stay disciplined on the defensive end, and understand on the offensive end, everything's going to happen quicker, so you can't try to thread the needle in those situations. You've got to make the first, simple pass. We have to know what our looks are in order, okay? And that's something we've got to work on."
The Bulls are a very good defensive team again this season -- they rank No. 7 in Defensive Efficiency, according to HoopData.com -- but late-game breakdowns have caused problems in recent games. The new Bench Mob hasn't provided the same edge that Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Omer Asik and C.J. Watson gave the team last season, so Thibs has been forced to push his starters even harder to keep games close at the end.
The Bulls will play the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday and Monday night as part of a home-and-home series, and then they will host the Dallas Mavericks,Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers to close out a four-game homestand at the United Center.
For even more analysis from Thibodeau, check out his interview from after the team's loss to the Rockets on Wednesday night, via CSN-Chicago: