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Bulls make some fixes in win over Nets, but Taj, Thibs can't agree on 'D'

The defense had been stagnant.

The point guard had been passive.

No question the Bulls needed some fixing.

Thanks, Brooklyn Nets.

Behind 23 points from Derrick Rose, as well as 11 blocked shots from the defense, the Bulls (13-8) improved to 3-5 at the United Center, beating the Nets, 105-80, Wednesday night.

“I told you: Y’all are the ones that’s going to be surprised by the way that I’m playing,’’ Rose said after the win. “Just give me a little minute. I know where I’m going to be. I know how good I am. I’m very confident with my craft and how good I am period. You all are going to be the ones that are going to be surprised by the way I’m playing in a little while.’’

The real surprise, however, was a bit of in-house controversy from earlier in the day.

After the morning shootaround, it was Taj Gibson explaining the defensive lapses as, “Just the effort and having trust in one another.’’

It wasn’t the first time “trusting each other’’ was used as an explanation for the defensive problems, with Joakim Noah also insisting that was an issue over the weekend.

Coach Tom Thibodeau, however, had a very different explanation, and one that didn’t seem to sit too well with his players.

“That’s garbage,’’ Thibodeau said of trust issues. “That’s garbage. Trust is work. That’s how you build trust. You gotta know what you’re doing. You have to be tied together. You have to work at it. It’s a cop-out.


“Where you get trust is from the work. The magic is in the work. It’s working together. It’s timing. It’s being tied together. One guy being off is going to hurt. You need everyone working together. And it doesn’t end. You’re not going to have it figured out in three days. You’re trying to do something great. Nothing great was ever achieved without great work and great ethic. It’s really that simple.’’

Gibson was later approached after the Thibodeau comments, and rather than back off the topic, the power forward doubled-down.

“That’s [Thibodeau’s] opinion,’’ Gibson said. “That was just me and Jo’s opinion. We’re on the court.

“It’s just new guys that’s all it is. Most of the guys are coming from teams that not really, like they’re [not] defensive-minded teams first. So of course it’s going to happen. But that’s just my opinion. That’s what I see on the court. I’ve been here for a while, I know what I’m talking about. Joakim knows what he’s talking about, he’s defensive player of the year, so of course he’s going to know what he’s talking about. But we’re on the court, though.’’

Gibson was definitely present and on the court against the Nets (8-12), only scoring 11 points, but grabbing 10 rebounds and responsible for six of those 11 blocks.

“They turned on their defense and put on a block party,’’ Nets coach Lionel Hollins said afterward.

It didn’t hurt that Rose also turned back the clock a bit, looking fearless in the way he was attacking the rim from the second quarter on.

“I thought he was more aggressive in general all night,’’ Thibodeau said of Rose. “And that’s what we need from him. The more aggressive, the better for our team.’’


Twitter: @suntimes_hoops