CHICAGO -- Keith Bogans has heard all the negative things that people have said about his game this season and he doesn't care.
Seriously, just ask him.
"It doesn't frustrate me at all. I'm being talked about," Bogans said after dropping 17 points in a 98-79 win over the lowly Washington Wizards on Tuesday. "I've been around long enough, people are going to say things. But, I'm here for my team, I want to win. I'm not worried about individual stuff. I've had individual things; my main goal is to win a championship. That's what I'm focused on."
That's the attitude of the 2010-11 Bulls in a nutshell.
Playing without Carlos Boozer (left ankle sprain) and Joakim Noah (flu-like symptoms) Bogans and the rest of the Bulls proved once again why their team has been so successful this year: There's always somebody to step up and fill somebody's shoes when they need it. Aside from Bogans’ 17 points, the Bulls got a combined 28 rebounds from Taj Gibson and Kurt Thomas. Not to mention the usual 43 combined points from Derrick Rose and Luol Deng.
"We're playing hard," Rose said. "All the people that came in filled them spots. Like Taj, KT. Keith had a huge night tonight, Kyle [Korver]. Lu gave us all he got. That's what it's all about. Them giving us their all and playing hard."
It's nights like Tuesday that give the Bulls confidence that they can knock off anybody that comes their way. They didn't just dismantle an awful team, they did so without two of their best players on the floor. It's a credit to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
"He's been great all year just letting us know, ‘This game is over,’ and the topic was the next game," Deng said. "To him, right now, this game is done with. And his mindset is, 'How do we beat New Jersey?' And he made it clear to everyone and that's the mindset when we leave here, and when we go into practice [Wednesday] we're just thinking about how to beat New Jersey and they're playing well right now."
Bogans put it this way, the way Thibodeau wants his players to think as they wind down the regular season with just a month left to play.
"I think [the league] overlooked us earlier in the season," Bogans said. "And they're starting to realize how good of a team we are and we still have a long way to go."
With the way the Bulls have been playing lately, there's no telling just how much better they can be.
"We've got confidence in everybody," Rose said. "Everybody's just playing well and playing together right now."
When Keith Bogans can drop 17 and nobody in the Bulls locker room blinks an eye, you know that's absolutely true.