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Defense tops list of concerns News New Jersey Nets

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News » Defense tops list of concerns

Defense tops list of concerns

Defense tops list of concernsAs bad as the Bulls' current stretch has been -- seven losses in eight games -- it pales in comparison to the woes of the New Jersey Nets.

Forget about an eight-game stretch, the Nets have won just once all season -- and that came after they established an NBA record by starting the season with 18 consecutive losses.

But don't expect the Bulls (7-11) to have any sympathy for the Nets (1-19) when the teams meet tonight at the United Center.

''It's difficult, but I can't worry about their problems -- I have enough of my own,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Naturally, Del Negro was asked to list those problems after practice Monday at the Berto Center.

''I have a lot; you don't have enough recording time on that machine,'' he said. ''We've just got to play a little bit better, no question about it.

''There's no excuses, we have to fight through things, we have to play harder, we have to do things just better in a lot of areas. But we had a good, spirited workout today, I thought. We just have to have a good game. The players know that.''

If the Bulls are going to get things turned around quickly, they'll have to do it with the current short-handed lineup. Guard Kirk Hinrich (sprained left thumb) likely is out tonight and Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks on the road, and there's no timetable for Tyrus Thomas (fractured left forearm) to return to practice.

''We do have some injuries, but a lot of teams have injuries,'' Del Negro said. ''That doesn't give you an excuse not to play hard and not to play the way we practice and not to be a good teammate and be committed.

''I didn't like our approach the other night [in a 110-78 loss to the Toronto Raptors], and the players know that. We have to play harder than we're playing right now.''

Even before Del Negro could speak those words to the team, that message was delivered by the 32-point loss on its home court.

''The last game was embarrassing, and I don't think we'll ever play like that again,'' Derrick Rose said.

''Our biggest thing is with defense. If we stop people, we'll be fine. But we haven't been stopping nobody, so it makes our offense harder.''

And even when the Bulls have managed to get stops of late, they've struggled to get the rebound on too many occasions.

''We give people second, third, fourth and sometimes fifth shots at the basket,'' Rose said. ''That's terrible. We have to rebound as a team because we're short a few guys.''

Del Negro believes the Bulls have to work on improving every aspect of their game.

''There's no one thing that we can put our hat on right now,'' he said. ''We have to get better defensively, no question, to help our offense, and we have to share the ball from strong to weak on our offensive sets.

''But we'll just keep plugging away, keep trying and keep working at it. There are no easy answers. We just have to put in the work, the time, and understand what we're trying to execute at both ends.''

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 9, 2009


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