Tom Thibodeau: I hope Bill Belichick never leaves as Pats coach

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick attended Thursday night's game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves, as he took a break from the buildup to Super Bowl LII on Sunday at Minneapolis' US Bank Stadium.

Belichick and Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau have a longstanding friendship, going back to the days in which Thibodeau was an assistant with the Boston Celtics (2007-10).

A native of New Britain, Connecticut, Thibodeau referred to the Patriots as "my team" and expressed excitement for Belichick as he chases his sixth Super Bowl title Sunday.

"I watch every game," Thibodeau said after the Wolves' 108-89 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. "I love watching them play, and I don't take any of that for granted. I know how special he is and that team is. I hope he never leaves. I hope he coaches 25 more years. He's an amazing guy and an amazing coach.

"I grew up as a kid thinking that the Patriots never win the Super Bowl -- we could get there, but we don't win. And now my nephews, there view of it is entirely different. They think the Patriots should win it every year. That's a good way to grow up. But I know how special that is. And no one in that area should ever take it for granted."

In 2012, Belichick had invited Thibodeau -- who at the time was head coach of the Chicago Bulls -- to Patriots spring practices. "Tom's done a great job. I've respected him, what he did here in Boston, his defensive patterns, and obviously his job in Chicago," Belichick said that day.

Belichick normally wouldn't be free for a few hours on the Thursday of a game week, but the Patriots have had an extra week to prepare for Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Patriots have one more light practice Friday and then a family and team picture day Saturday.