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Taj Gibson handing out the assist to his coach

SACRAMENTO – There aren’t many NBA teams that can do what the Bulls do.

Ask the Oklahoma City Thunder what life is like without their two top stars.

Ask the Indiana Pacers how comfortable they are taking the court without Paul George.

For most franchises, long-term injuries are catastrophic to their playoff hopes. For the Bulls, it’s become another day at the office.

Missing from Thursday’s game with the Kings was once again Derrick Rose (left hamstring) and Pau Gasol (left calf strain). That’s down one NBA MVP and one two-time NBA Champion.

Not one player was flinching.

“That’s because we compete in practice, we’ve got faith in everyone’s ability,’’ Sixth Man of the Year candidate Taj Gibson said. “Everyone puts in a lot of work. But it starts in practice. In practice, everyone just goes at each other so that when it’s time to just go, everyone feels comfortable taking that next road.’’

It doesn’t hurt that Gibson already acknowledged that the second team has laid down its share of whoopins’ on the first teamers in those intrasquad scrimmages and practices. So the jump to extended minutes in an NBA game hasn’t overwhelmed anyone.

But there’s more to it, according to Gibson. There’s the Tom Thibodeau factor, and the idea that the coach has his players believing that “we have more than enough’’ on a nightly basis, no matter who is dressed or who is in street clothes.

“He should get a lot of the credit,’’ Gibson said of Thibodeau. “At the end of the day, we still have to go out there and play. We have to be motivated enough to trust the offense, trust the defense that he’s given us to play with. We’ve got a lot of trust in him, and everyone is following suit.

“But our game plans and how hard we play is always going to be a determining factor. Like one of the big main things for us is our game plan is always solid and we always follow the game plan from [Thibodeau]. As long as we play hard, follow that plan, rebound, defend, we’ll be fine.’’

Thibodeau wasn’t about to toot his own horn in making sure his players believe in what he’s telling them. Instead, the coach again made the message very simple.

“It’s a big part of being a pro,’’ Thibodeau said. “My first year here, Joakim [Noah] missed three months. So it’s just whoever is out, the next guy get in there and get it done.’’

Not dealing in fantasy

Gasol has been a busy man on this current West Coast trip, dealing with California media especially. The former Laker has been asked several times about different scenarios that would have kept him in Los Angeles, including the idea of what if Carmelo Anthony would have signed with the Lakers.

“I don’t think about the ifs or potential possibilities,’’ Gasol said. “Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve don’t work for me, so it didn’t happen that way and I made my decision that I felt was best and right.’’