Thibodeau on Bulls’ plight: ‘We have to play better’

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With his team down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was offered several factors that could help the Bulls reverse their fortunes against the Miami Heat– better shooting from Derrick Rose or Kyle Korver, more shots for Keith Bogans, more free throws, playing C.J. Watson with Rose in the backcourt. And of course, home-court advantage at the United Center for Game 5 tonight.

”The most important thing is that we have to play well,” Thibodeau said after the team’s shootaround at the Berto Center on Thursday morning. ”You have to give your fans something to cheer about. So we can’t count on them to get it done for us. We have to get it done. We have to play better.”

On paper, the task is daunting. Since 1981, 20 teams have fallen behind 3-1 in the NBA conference finals, and none of them has recovered to win the series. Teams that had home-court advantage in that scenario are 0-7.

Thibodeau said his team will take things not just one game at a time, but one quarter at a time and one possession at a time. ”We’ll approach everything from that standpoint,” he said. ”That’s all I want our guys to think about.”

Though Kurt Thomas will replace injured center Omer Asik in the rotation and C.J. Watson might get another opportunity to play on the floor with Rose, Thibodeau is unlikely to make drastic changes with his team’s playoff hopes on the line.

”I just want them to play their game and I want everybody to play to their strengths,” he said. ”The biggest thing is when you get into these games, all playoff games for that matter, is to concentrate on doing their job. You get guys thinking they have to do more and they get outside of what their role is and what they’re strengths are.

”We don’t want to do that. We want to play to our strengths. These games have all been close. If you focus more on doing everything a little bit better, you’re much better served.”

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