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May 15, 2011

Tom Thibodeau


Miami Heat 82
Chicago Bulls 103

Q. Tom, can you talk about the defensive effort you had tonight, especially in the second half.
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: I thought it started in the second quarter with our bench guys. I thought C.J. came in, Ronnie came in, their ball pressure, their energy, and then of course with Taj and Omer, that group got us going. And then the second half, everybody's defense was a lot better.

Q. Coach, midway through the third quarter, you were down a point. You went on a 10-0 run and you never trailed. Was that the back-breaker? Was that the key?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: Well, they're a tough team. You have to play for 48 minutes against them, and we got a little bit of a cushion, and I thought we played with good pace, and then we started moving the ball, and I thought we got good shots, and then our defense picked up. And they missed some shots that they normally make.
So we're going to have to clean some things up. Bosh had a big night against us. We have to do a lot better guarding him.

Q. The last time Bosh played you, he was 1-for-18. Were you expecting him to try to atone tonight?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: Well, Bosh has been a very good player, a great player in this league for a long time. And every great player will have a game like that once in a blue moon. So we knew the likelihood of that happening again was remote.
We got to do a lot better on him. And they put a lot of pressure on you. They execute, and they spread you out, they've got guys that can go off the dribble, and you have to have a multiple-effort mentality. You have to be able to contain the dribble and then close back out and get to him. And he's a hard guy. He's got a quick release. He plays off his jab extremely well. He can hurt you inside on the rolls. He can face you up. So he can score a lot of different ways.

Q. You called time-out three minutes into the third. If you can get back to that real quick. They just scored on three straight lay-ups. Was that what that was about?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: Yes, because we were spread out. And the thing is as the ball is going away, our weak side has to react better, pull in, protect the lane. Oftentimes as the ball is going away from you, if you're guarding a three-point shooter, you tend to take that step towards him. That's all they need. So our ball pressure wasn't what I wanted it to be, and our weak-side reaction wasn't what I wanted it to be. I knew we had to clean that up.

Q. Is that about as well as you can defend LeBron, the way Luol played him tonight?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: Yes. Like I said, LeBron is, you know, he's such a tougher cover. You don't guard him individually; you guard him with your team. And he's so unselfish. He's going to pass the ball when he's being double-teamed. That's the way he plays. He's very unselfish.
And then he got some good looks that he normally makes. So we have to do a better job on him as well.

Q. How do you think Luol did against him?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: Luol, you can count on him every night. Luol is going to make him work. But Luol, it's not only his individual defense, it's his team defense. And I think it's critical for us. So it's not only when he's guarding LeBron with the ball, but when he's away from the ball, he fulfills his help responsibility so well. He's a big multiple-effort guy. He can help, recover, challenge his shot and get back in and rebound. He does so many different things for us.

Q. Tom, talk a little bit about your bench in general, and Taj in particular. It seemed like he gave you guys a lot of momentum as well as some big plays.
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: Our bench has been great all year. You can count on their energy and effort every night. They all bring something different. So Taj and Omer, their defense, rebounding, shot-blocking, their ability to get second shots, they sprint into screens, they execute. So they bring a lot to the offense. And of course C.J., I thought ran the team extremely well. His ball pressure was huge. Ronnie was all over the place. He was everywhere. So that was huge. Kyle is Kyle. He's going to spread the floor for you and make big shots. He's a terrific team defender.

Q. Tom, you really defeated them on the boards tonight. You outrebounded them by 12 and 13 all together on the offensive boards. You outscored them on second-chance points 31-8. Can you talk about that a little bit.
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: I thought the second half I thought our effort picked up. The first half I thought they were hurting us on the boards. Our guys up front, they're very active. I thought Joakim made great effort to get to the ball. Carlos the same. Taj, Omer. That's huge. A lot of that is a result of the penetration from Derrick. Derrick has the ability to break people down for us, rotation. And our bigs are very active.

Q. Coach, was your pressure on LeBron James maybe one of the reasons Bosh played well and maybe why James passed a lot?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: Well, that's the challenge. That's the challenge for our team. They have three great players. You have to guard them collectively, but you also have to take care of others. Whenever you are putting two on the ball, you still have to protect the paint and get back to their scorers so they are not getting clean shots. I thought they got some easy shots that we could have gotten to. We're going to have to do a better job in the next game with that.

Q. Tom, you mentioned the second unit's outstanding play. Is your goal for them just keeping things status quo until the first team comes in or do you expect them to be an X factor?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: From game to game you can count on their energy. Ideally you would want them to at least maintain your lead or whatever you have going in the game. And oftentimes with our second unit, they increase the lead. And they are hard to score on. And they play extremely well together.

Q. Not only did you intensify your defensive effort in the second half, but you only committed one turnover. What was said at halftime?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: We were a little disappointed with the way we started the game. And again, I think when you turn the ball over and you put them in the open floor, they can convert very quickly on you. So I thought as the game went on we did a better job of reading the defense, hitting the first open man. They're not the type of team you want to try to thread the needle against. I think if you keep it simple, it will allow you to execute. I thought once we started doing that and we kept the ball moving, I thought our shot selection improved, which also allowed us to get back and set up our defense.

Q. Coach, again a decisive win like this in Game 1 for a young team, how important is that to set the tone for the next game in the series?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: I think it's important to win. For us we just want to go step by step. So we don't want to feel too good. We know there's things we have to clean up, and we have to prepare for the next game. So tomorrow's practice is critical. Then the following day, and then the shoot-around and then be ready for the game.

Q. Tom, that said, you really had a good effort once you got over that early stretch. Was there any concern in your mind about whether this team would be ready for this game with all of the pregame distractions?
COACH TOM THIBODEAU: No. I think for the most part our team has done a very good job all year with their approach. I think each day, they concentrate, they strive for improvement, they study the opponent, and they don't look behind, they are not looking ahead. They are just getting ready for the next step.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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