Opening Tip: Disappointed Bulls undeterred

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Chicago Bulls could have felt much worse than they actually did after Wednesday's disappointing 97-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Part of the reason they didn't feel that bad was because former teammate Brad Miller appeared out of the training room with a huge dip in his mouth and tried to crack some jokes. He told his old friends about the hunting trips he had been on recently while occasionally spitting into a cup.

The other reason the Bulls didn't feel that bad is because they believe their 1-3 record doesn't define them as a team. Sure, they're upset with the way they've started the season, but they aren't panicking.

"I would say more determined," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, while describing the feeling in the locker room. "They know -- we have good character. We're all disappointed. We know we've got to do better and we will."

That was the general feeling throughout the locker room Wednesday night -- the same one the players have had over the past week. They know they are a better team than what they've shown.

"Disappointed," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "Disappointed in the way we're playing. We know we're capable of a lot better. We'll be alright, though."

Even Derrick Rose, who has struggled to shake off the rust through four games, isn't concerned about the Bulls' start.

"It's cool," he said. "It's frustrating but we're pro athletes. We know it's only the beginning of the season, four games in. We can't let it get that frustrating, we know that if we keep working hard like we're doing we're going to catch a rhythm soon."

Speaking of catching rhythms, Rose shot the ball much better in the first half on Wednesday and is convinced his time is coming along.

"For sure," he said. "I'm going to continue taking the shots I normally take, playing with a great (group) of guys that's allowing me to take them shots. They're going to fall, I'm not worried about that. Our biggest thing is defense now. We've got to make sure we communicate out there. And offensively we're going to knock down shots but it just didn't happen yet."

Thibodeau isn't concerned about his star.

"Another step in the right direction," he said of Rose's play. "I thought he came out, initially, and knocked down a few shots, got going. He'll find his way, I thought he was a little better today. He had two great practices -- so each day just keep working on improving, just slow down a little bit, let the game come to you, make the right plays."

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said even a struggling Rose is capable of a big night.

"Derrick Rose is a unique athlete," Vogel said before the game. "Just because you know him doesn't mean you have all the answers ... I really don't look at it like he's struggling, it's only been three games. We're always leery, I don't know if I could be more leery of his ability because of the last three games. I think he's capable of going for 40 every time he's out there."

What's next: Thibodeau may decide to have practice Thursday in advance of Friday night's home game against the Utah Jazz.

The last word: "They fought hard. They wanted it more than us. They got to every loose ball, every rebound, just took the win. (It's) disappointing." -- Noah, on Wednesday's loss.