During the last two games of their recently completed four-game road trip, the Bulls were reminded that the benefits of Derrick Rose being in attack mode extend beyond the obvious.
Rose made 10 of 11 free throws in Friday night's win over the Clippers, for example, which was more attempts (10) and shots made (9) than he had in the first three games combined.
"I just want him attacking," Thibodeau said. "The more he attacks, the tougher we are. I always go back to when I was coaching against him, the one thing I never wanted to see him do was come at you with a head of steam, penetrate, get into the paint, break you down because it feeds all kinds of havoc. It creates easy shots, gets people in foul trouble, opens up offense rebounding. So there's so many good things that come out of it. I thought he was just as aggressive defensively and that's where he's making his biggest improvement right now."
Rose had a solid defensive game against the Clippers' Chris Paul. He was less effective against Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry in a loss to the Warriors.
"He showed a great resolve," Thibodeau said. "You have to have that when you're going against a great player like Chris Paul because when he comes down and makes a great play you have to have that determination the next time to do it all over again. I still think he can be a lot better. He's moving in the right direction but he's still not where we would like him to be."
CLEANING THE GLASS
Another trend that developed on the road that Thibodeau hopes continues during this brief two-game homestand is his team's rebounding advantage. The Bulls outrebounded their first four opponents 174-151. The Bulls are averaging 43.5 rebounds per game. The Grizzlies are averaging 44.3.
"They're dominant," Thibodeau said of Memphis. "They're an in-the-paint team, a great rebounding team, a great post-up team. We're going to have to give them a fight. We think we're a pretty good rebounding team, too."
ROAD COURT ADVANTAGE
Before the season started, Carlos Boozer said he thought opening the season with a four-game road trip would be beneficial because it would allow players to bond on the road. Now that the trip is over, Thibodeau agreed.
"It gave us a lot of time together and they're all tough opponents," he said. "But that's the way the schedule is. You can't look at it in totality. You just look at the game that's in front of you and concentrate on that one."