By Nick Shepkowski-
(CBS) With an uncharacteristic 121-115 win over the Sacramento Kings at the United Center on Tuesday night, the Bulls improved to 24-7 on the season and guaranteed head coach Tom Thibodeau an appearance as the head coach of the Eastern Conference squad in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
Thibodeau made it known that the recognition of his All-Star appearance is more about the team than him.
“It’s more a testament and by-product of what the team has done,” he said. “I’m just worried about Boston, when we get (to the All-Star Game) I’ll worry about that.”
As much as he wanted to downplay the achievement, Thibodeau did acknowledge the feat.
“It’s an honor and I look forward to it,” he said before quickly refocusing his attention to the task at hand. “The challenge right now is a long home stand, the break coming up and it’s easy to look ahead and get distracted and you can’t do that.”
Across the locker room different players had different thoughts on what you might expect in the traditionally defenseless All-Star game now that their defensive-minded head coach would be running the show.
“I don’t know what practice is going to be like but it will definitely be different,” first time All-Star selection Luol Deng. “It’s an honor to be going to the All-Star game and I know coach is thrilled that he is going but if he had a choice I doubt he’d be going.”
Deng went on to show gratitude for the help Thibodeau and his staff of assistants give the players at a moment’s notice.
“Anytime you want to get shots up, those guys are there.”
Joakim Noah joked about the Eastern Conference team having to do defensive slides during the game while Kyle Korver joked about Thibodeau potentially playing the two most important Bulls too much.
“I just hope he doesn’t play Lu and Derrick 40 minutes,” the sharpshooter said with a smile.
As for being afraid that any All-Stars from the Heat will have a better understanding of Thibodeau’s coaching style and game plans, Deng was quick to shoot that thought down.
“No secrets in the NBA, they know all our plays. Those guys spend a lot of time figuring out how to win.”
In addition to covering the Bulls for 670TheScore.com, Nick Shepkowski is the associate producer on The McNeil and Spiegel Show, weekdays 9am-1pm on 670 The Score. You can follow Nick on Twitter at @Shep670.