Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls get set to host the Boston Celtics at the United Center, where they are just 7-7 on the season. Chicago is 3-2 in their past five games and sits on the outside looking in at the current Eastern Conference playoff picture. In fact, the Bulls are just a half game behind the Celtics for the 8th and final seed at the moment.
Of course, that’s not saying much considering the East is a complete joke thus far. Only three teams in the entire conference have a winning record, so let’s put this in perspective for a moment. Chicago is playing without Derrick Rose, obviously, and has played several games without both Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng. It’s no wonder they’re just 12-18 on the year.
But, if they were to get into the playoffs, anything can happen at that point. Still, they must focus on the here-and-now.
To get a victory over the Celtics, the Bulls have to play much better in the fourth quarter. That’s where head coach Tom Thibodeau sees the Bulls’ weakness lies as of late.
“The fourth quarter has got to be your best quarter,” Thibodeau said, according to ESPN.com. “You have to have more intensity, your decisions have to be quicker. We have to finish strong, we can’t just flip the ball up there.”
Thibodeau is right. The Bulls have seemed to play their weakest basketball in the fourth quarter this season, at times, and it is definitely not a good sign for a team coached by someone of his nature. Since joining the Bulls, Thibodeau has been one of the better and well-respected coaches in the league. He doesn’t normally allow any room for slacking off.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it appears the Bulls have done this season.
Will Chicago stay more disciplined in the fourth and be able to put themselves right back into playoff position tonight?