Before taking the job with the Bulls, coach Tom Thibodeau knew there was something different about Luol Deng when he watched him during his days as an assistant with the Boston Celtics.

Now that Thibodeau gets to see him play on an every-day

basis, not only has Deng lived up to his initial expectations, but he has surpassed them with everything he brings to the franchise.

''It was something where I know how I felt when we played against him,'' Thibodeau recalled of Deng when he was coaching with the Celtics. ''I knew he was the type of guy that if you didn't pay attention to him, he could really hurt you.

''Then once I saw how he practiced, his makeup and what he's all about, a lot of guys will say all the right things and do none of them. He's just the opposite. When he has something to say, he's going to say it. He's going to say it the right way at the right time, and then he does all the right things each and every day. And he's so consistent. He does it that way the entire season.''