MILWAUKEE -- As devastating as a four-game losing streak would seem for the Chicago Bulls, coach Tom Thibodeau would be okay with it if the Bulls perform what he calls the "right things" against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
The Bulls enter Saturday night’s meeting with the Central-leading Bucks having lost their last three games, which is their longest regular-season losing streak under Thibodeau.
“I’m more concerned with us doing the right things than the end result right now,” Thibodeau said after Saturday morning’s shootaround at the University of Marquette. “I think if you’re doing the right things and your focus is on that -- executing both on offense and defense and playing for 48 minutes -- you can deal with whatever the results are going to be. But the big thing is to concentrate on improvement and be ready for your next opponent and don’t get caught up in the wrong things.”
By wrong things, Thibodeau means mostly the losing streak. He’s stressed to his players not to look at the past or the future. He’s all about the present.
Thibodeau said he does gather information from previous games to figure out what’s led to their wins and losses, and he only uses that knowledge to focus on areas in practice. He’s firm on not allowing the past to affect a team’s attitude and approach. That’s something he learned early in the business.
“I’ve been fortunate to work for a number of great coaches,” Thibodeau said. “I’ve been part of some very good teams. It’s a long season, and you have to prepare each and every day the same way.
“Sometimes things are going your way, sometimes they’re not. I know you have to be mentally tough when you’re facing adversity, so those are all the things we have to do. I think we understand how hard we have to play to give ourselves a chance to win, but it’s not only playing hard, it’s playing smart, it’s playing together.”
Thibodeau didn’t necessarily expect to have a three-game losing streak this season, but he did anticipate some sort of adversity. He believed his current team was assembled with that in mind.
“To me, you look for those type of characteristics when you’re building your team because at different points of the season, whether it’s a game, a quarter, a situation, you’re going to be facing adversity throughout a course of a season,” he said. “Then, it comes down to how mentally tough you are.
“Then, you have to fight when you’re facing some adversity, trying to do it individually, but still remain connected to the team and trying to do it collectively. Because human nature is no one wants to not do well, but sometime it could become misguided if you try to do it individually and make things up. You have to stay disciplined and you have to keep fighting, you have to keep grinding and just concentrate on improvement.”