SACRAMENTO --- As important as anything Derrick Rose does offensively is the Bulls re-establishing themselves as one of the league's premier defensive teams.
Coordination, communication, everything was lacking in Monday night's loss to the Warriors.
When coach Tom Thibodeau's team failed to do that against the Warriors, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry gained confidence and helped build a lead the Bulls could not overcome.
"We just need to keep grinding, keep a positive attitude and understand teams are very good in the NBA," center Joakim Noah said. "It's not because we're the Chicago Bulls that we're going to win games. We have to go out there and get better. Losing the way we did to Golden State, the effort we put out there wasn't very good. It's on us to bounce back. We'll do that."
The Bulls aren't going to sneak up on anybody after last year's run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Luol Deng has noticed a difference.
"It's totally a different mindset," he said. "I can't think of a game this year or last year where we went into the game thinking we were the underdog. Teams come after us. It's totally a different mindset from a couple years ago. We used to chase teams. Now there are still teams we chase but teams are chasing us."
Noah said it's about playing hard regardless of who you're playing.
"Underdog or not, it doesn't matter," he said. "We just have to go out there and compete. We can compete harder."
Deng soaks his feet in ice and has more ice wrapped around his knees. He was even icing his shoulder after the Warriors game. After ranking among the league leaders in minutes last season, the veteran has learned how to take care of his body, which is especially important during this lockout-shortened season.
"I learned a lot last year," Deng said. "I played in a lot of games and played a lot of minutes and did a good job of taking care of my body and making sure I'm getting my rest. It's going to be the same thing this year. All the guys are aware of it. The coaches, trainers are making sure we're staying on top of it."
Training camp continues for Rip Hamilton, according to Thibodeau.
"Each day he's getting better, getting more comfortable," Thibodeau said. "He missed a big part of training camp. In some ways, this is his training camp. He's got to get up to speed quickly."