The Chicago Bulls might be 1-5 since Tristan Thompson arrived at the United Center, but his confidence in the team remains sky-high.
Thompson filled in for an injured Nikola Vucevic on Monday night. The backup big man played a season-high 29 minutes against MVP-candidate Joel Embiid, scoring 13 points with 9 rebounds in a -9 performance as the Bulls dropped their fifth-straight game. The loss completed a season sweep for the 76ers, and it put the Bulls’ record against the top-3 teams in each conference at a dismal 0-14. When asked about the team’s struggles to capitalize against the regular season’s best, Thompson reminded everyone that the postseason is a whole new ballgame.
Here’s part of the exchange:
TT: “I hate talking about the past, but I’ll give you an example: We were 0-4 against the Atlanta Hawks who won 50 games and had four All-Stars, and we kicked their ass 4-0 … we kicked their ass easily. It wasn’t even a game.”
Reporter: “This team doesn’t have LeBron.”
TT: “We got a lot of good players. We have a Big 3 that’s really f***ing good, and they are f***ing All-Stars.”
The Bulls got themselves a hype man, folks!
Combine this press conference moment with Thompson’s words about Milwaukee Bucks’ wing Grayson Allen, and it’s pretty clear who he wants to be inside this locker room. And, hey, the Bulls need it.
As a team trying to go from Eastern Conference bottom-feeder to frightening playoff threat in just one season, they need the kind of veteran confidence Thompson brings to the table. The Bulls must trust they can work their way out of this recent rut, and I’m sure seeing Thompson – an NBA champion and player who chose to come aboard midseason – have this much faith can boost morale.
Thompson also isn’t wrong to bring up the Cavaliers’ 2015-16 playoff run. While I don’t at all expect the Bulls to have the same outcome, it’s simply a fact that regular season results don’t always tell the whole story. Do we need to look back at when the Bulls swept the Heat in the regular season 3-0 before losing in five games during the 2010-11 Eastern Conference Finals? I didn’t think so.
There is no denying the Bulls’ recent results have been disappointing. Having more confidence in their ability to hang with the best of the best would be preferred as they head toward their first postseason in nearly half a decade. But the record goes back to 0-0 when the games start in late April, and Thompson wants to make sure his team knows it.
Check out Thompson’s full conversation with reporters below:
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— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 8, 2022