Thibodeau defends Bogans

CHICAGO -- There hasn't been much for Bulls fans to complain about over the last two weeks, but there is one pressing question that just won't go away:

Why does Tom Thibodeau continue to stick with Keith Bogans in the starting lineup?

When asked about Bogans' recent struggles before Saturday night's game, he got defensive very quickly.

"I'm concerned about our team," Thibodeau said. "It's collective. It's not on Keith. It's on the team. Our readiness to play. When we're ready to play, we play well. And sometimes we're lethargic, but to put it all on Keith is unfair. It's not right."

When it was suggested to Thibodeau that the Los Angeles Lakers didn't expend a lot of energy to guard Bogans at the 3-point line and it looked, at times, as if the team was playing four on five, he got even more defensive.

"I don't think that's the case at all," Thibodeau said. "I think [the Lakers'] commitment to Derrick [Rose] and their commitment to Carlos [Boozer] dictated where it was going. When you evaluate the offense, you ask yourself, Is it inside out? Are there two on the ball? Are we making the right play? When they raise up to shoot is it a good shot? We don't judge ... OK, he had a couple go in and out. To me, those were good shots. I had no problem with that."

Bottom line: Bogans is staying in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future ... whether you like it or not.

Rose's jumper improves: Derrick Rose set a new career high on Saturday night with five 3-pointers, and it's clear he has more confidence than ever in the shot.

"[I've been] working hard on it this summer. The whole summer I just worked on my shooting and thank God it's going down."

Thibodeau appreciates the fact that Rose lives in the gym working on ways to get better.

"He works at it," Thibodeau said. "He gets there early and he works late. He does it year-round. He has consistently worked on his game."

The last word: Rose, on the team's improvement defensively -- "We're trying to get there. We're moving in the right direction. Guys are hustling. We're closing down the paint, making sure that somebody's right there. I think that we've got to take more charges and block more shots."