“Nah,” Joakim Noah answered. “I don’t think so.” Immediately following that response — to a question about whether LeBron James’ comments about the physical nature of the Bulls, after they snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak during the regular season — the All-Star center gave an exaggerated eye roll. The Bulls didn’t completely keep their cool in Friday night’s 104-94 Game 3 loss to the Heat at the United Center, but it was certainly an improvement from their six-technical Game 2 debacle in Miami. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau cut his teeth in the NBA back in the rough-and-tumble 1990s, first gaining prominence as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks under Jeff Van Gundy, a team known for its physical play. Thibodeau is equipped with a team that either shares or has adopted his blue-collar philosophy, but in today’s NBA, the trend is going the other way, making the Bulls’ brand of basketball seem over the top when framed in a certain light and turning his press conferences into a forum for a conspiracy theorist, if you didn’t know any better. Here’s a sample: “No. No. No. I’m watching how things are going. I see how things are going. I watch very closely. Watch very closely and what I’m seeing, we’ll adjust accordingly.” “We’re well aware of what’s going on,” he said, making a veiled reference to the notion that the Heat are getting more calls than the Bulls. “And when you play this team, you’ve got to have a lot of mental, physical and emotional toughness, and things aren’t going to go your way. That’s the way it is. We’re not going to get calls. That’s reality. We still have to figure out a way to get it done. And we can. “You,” the coach went on to say, indicating that he doesn’t get much feedback from the officials. “I’ll let you ask them.” But even if Thibodeau is correct and the referees, the league, the Heat and whatever other powers-that-be exist are all in cahoots against his undermanned team, the Bulls have to adjust.
Bulls' throwback physical style may not be fitting of era
CSN Chicago | May 12