INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. --- Tom Thibodeau will begin the game with the starting lineup that has played only 14 games together when the Bulls meet the Pacers on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse but he said won't play Derrick Rose and Co. extended minutes.
"We'll see how the game unfolds," Thibodeau said. "I want to get a look at some guys on the bench and some different groups together, too."
It's important for the Bulls to build some on-floor chemistry, especially with Rose back on the court. At times, the team has looked more comfortable with their leader on the bench as on the floor in recent weeks, which can't continue if they hope to make a deep playoff run.
"I don't know any other way to have them play together than to have them play together," Thibodeau said. "The only way you can do that is put them out on the floor and let them go. We're not going to extend their minutes where it's overly taxing but at this point of the season you've built the right habits or you haven't. If you're waiting to change when the playoffs get here it's too late."
Thibodeau also said he will use his bench during the playoffs much as he did during the regular season.
"Our bench is our bench," he said. "We did the same thing last year. The starters will play a few more minutes but for the most part it will be the same. We have great flexibility. We have a small forward that can go to power forward. We have C.J., who is comfortable going to the two. We have great flexibility with our roster and that's by design."