Bulls coach Thibs: All I want for Christmas is “a win”
"Just get a win," said Tom Thibodeau.
That’s the spirit and focus with which he wants to lead the Chicago Bulls in their Christmas Day game against the Houston Rockets at United Center. The Chicago Bulls are fully aware that only good NBA teams get the Christmas Day gig. Only five games have been lined up to be nationally televised on Christmas Day, and the Chicago Bulls hope to fall according to fan expectations when they deliver their gift-wrapped win on Tuesday. This is the third consecutive year the Chicago Bulls have received the honor of playing on Christmas.
"We're excited about it. It is an honor and a privilege to be playing on this day with the league and everything,” said Tom Thibodeau. “I think our players are excited about playing. It's a great day."
While many players will miss the day’s celebrations with their families it’s a bargain they’re willing to make given the monumental status Christmas games.
"It's exciting. I have my family in. I'm sure everyone will have their family in. We're on TV; a lot of family and friends get to watch you,” said Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng. “It's an honor to get an opportunity to play on a day like that.”
“It's a lot of guys in the league that have never been or never played on Christmas day that would love that opportunity,” continued Luol Deng, “so I'm glad that in the last few years we've done a good enough job to be on TV on Christmas day."
The sentiments seem to go across the organization. Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah who posted a poor performance on Saturday hopes to put behind the 92-75 loss to Atlanta Falcons and lead his team into a stronger comeback going forward.
"Just looking forward to going back and competing. We kind of laid an egg last game so being able to play on Christmas day is a big deal. A lot of people are going to be watching and it should be fun,” said Joakim Noah. “Of course I'd rather have a little time off, but it's always exciting to play in a big game, there's going to be a lot of people there.”
However, Tom Thibodeau is willing to cut his team some slack on Christmas, knowing that the players will need some family time on the holiday. So, instead of the customary morning shootarounds at Berto Center, the Chicago Bulls will have afternoon walk-though at united Center ahead of the game to save Christmas morning for family time.
"It is a family day and we want to recognize that. And then we also don't want to be distracted and prepared to play,” said Tom Thibodeau. “I think if you're building the right habits all the way along you can handle things like this."