Tom Thibodeau praises Knicks' shooting and defense after Bulls thrashing

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Even with a game between the two franchises still to be played next Friday, the New York Knicks buried the Chicago Bulls in their season series. That was sealed on Friday night as the Knicks demolished the Bulls 114-91. It was the second leg of this week’s back-to-back game between the two teams, both games played at the United Center.

With this victory, the sixth in a row, the Knicks became the most hyped team in the East. No other franchise has had as many consecutive wins as the New Yorkers in their most recent string of results. Only the Memphis Grizzlies have a longer streak, with seven straight wins.

Still, Tom Thibodeau “doesn’t take the cheese.”

Expanding on his response to the question of whether or not these Knicks are melting like hot lava, Thibs argued that the important thing for the Knicks as a team is: “…not feeling too good about ourselves.”

The reason for this? “Usually when you start to feel really good about yourself, that’s when you get your ass kicked.”

Wisdom words.

New York edged Chicago 50-39 on Friday and 98-70 in their two-game series. More damaging to the Bulls, they lost the offensive rebounding battle a ridiculous 30-5 in favor of the Knickerbockers.

The Knicks held Chicago to 91 points for the day, the fifth time they have limited an opponent to less than 100 points on a six-game winning streak.

RJ Barrett led New York with 27 points, but it was a night for the defensive duo of Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes (22 points each) as they combined for 11 three-pointers made in the game.

“That defense, I love the way our perimeter is playing right now,” Thibodeau said. “The kick really helps a lot and obviously the defense helps our team immensely.”

“Throw RJ in there (referring to the Brunson and Grimes play) and then throw the sheet. We are mixing and matching.”

Asked about his career-high three-point shooting, Brunson said: “It was just luck.” Instead, the point guard focused on the Knicks’ collective effort, saying, “We’re clicking, helping each other out and just putting each other in a position where we’re just meeting each other, giving each other space.”

Five different Knicks hit at least one triple, while four scored at least twice from beyond the three-point arc. The only man who didn’t? Derrick Rose, who went 1-3 from the floor, lifting all those shots from three-point territory.

Rose had not graced a basketball court following the Knicks’ loss to Dallas on December 3, two weeks ago. Of course, it made sense for him to return to woodworking in the comfortable confines of Chicago. The crowd cheered the former Bulls great. “MVP! MVP!” chants were heard. Not to mention the explosion Rose produced with his only three-pointer.

“I’m blessed that we had a great game and that allowed me to go out there and play,” said Rose. “To come here and see all the love and receive all the love that we’ve received, it was unreal.”

Thibodeau, who coached Derrick Rose at Chicago for five seasons, was asked about Rose’s possible retirement from Chicago’s number 1 jersey, to which he said he was “hopeful” and that, in his opinion, “Rose deserves” it.

Speaking on the same subject, Rose herself said it would “dope” for him to have his number retired in the Bulls’ organization, although “it wouldn’t be a big deal” for him if Chicago didn’t go that far. 🇧🇷

“I know the love I’ve received, whether it’s here or elsewhere, it’s all I need,” said Rose.

Further, discussing a potential Hall of Fame induction, Rose said he would be “so grateful for it,” though again, it would bug him if he didn’t make it.

“In 200-300 years, nobody will care what happened,” argued Rose. “For me, the knowledge, wisdom, love and capital I got from this sport has allowed me to do so much, and I am so grateful and grateful for that.”

Back to the ongoing winning streak and the result of the last two games his team played, Thibodeau believes “the guys are building chemistry with each other on both sides of the ball”.

Thibodeau kept everyone on their toes by saying that “yesterday’s victory will have nothing to do with Sunday’s game”.

New York (16-13) takes on Indiana (15-15) away from MSG on Sunday, December 18th. The Knicks head home next week to play four more games, concluding with a Christmas Day game against Philadelphia at the Garden.

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