CHICAGO -- It was a bad night for the Bulls to be hosting one of the better teams at forcing turnovers as Kirk Hinrich -- who leads the Bulls in assist-to-turnover ratio -- sat out Thursday against the Miami Heat with more elbow problems.
The Bulls turned it over 27 times in dropping an 86-67 decision to Miami, which has won nine straight.
"It's one of those nights you just want to forget," Bulls forward Taj Gibson said.
No argument from Luol Deng, who said:
"It was terrible."
They were both right. The Bulls looked sloppy all night and couldn't get out of their own way. They had no rhythm offensively and struggled against one of the better defensive teams in the league.
"Just disappointing the way we played tonight," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "We didn't play well. You got to give credit when credit is due. They're very, very good and you can't be hesitant when you play against a team like this. We just got to do better."
The Bulls played one of their best games of the season on Jan. 4 with a 96-89 win in Miami, but on Thursday,
the Bulls showed no energy with the way they got out-worked up and down the floor.
Thibodeau tried to put some of the responsibility on himself.
"The turnovers were a problem," Thibodeau said. "Also the type of passes we were making. They have great quickness. You have to give them credit, they were into us and we didn't move the ball. That part, to me, I have to make our team understand the type of plays we have to make to give ourselves a chance. When you turn the ball over like that, that part is on me."
Thibodeau's players know better. They know that they didn't play the way he teaches the game.
Thursday's loss underscored just how badly the Bulls miss Hinrich and his calming presence on the offensive end. They are 4-9 without Hinrich and his absence is one of the major reasons why the Bulls struggled so much to hang onto the ball.
"It was kind of the same theory throughout the game," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "We just had so many turnovers, man. I think they did a great job of packing the paint, they do a good job of playing passing lanes and we just made some poor decisions. Twenty-seven turnovers is tough to win a game when you don't get that many shots."
Noah might have summed up the night better than anyone else.
"They shot the ball great, they played very well, you got to give credit when credit is due," Noah said. "They kicked our (butt), but we'll be back."