Two black strands of kinesio tape snaked up Derrick Rose's neck Friday as the Bulls guard moved in an arc around a Berto Center basket, firing shot after shot after shot.
At one point, he turned to a small group of onlookers and asked someone to check a clock, to measure how much more he could jam in before departure.
It was emblematic of the attitude toward the considerable offensive struggles of the team and its leader in the early stages of the season: It's all about timing, and thus perhaps just a matter of time.
"I wouldn't say we're lost, but the chemistry part, it can always get better," Rose said after practice. "We have a great upside. We could be a great team, and we know that all of us have been working out individually super-hard. So when you have that going, all it is is timing and rhythm."
There has been little of either through two games. As of Friday morning, as a Saturday night matchup with the young, pace-pushing and apparently dangerous 76ers awaited, the Bulls ranked 25th in points per game (88.5) and 24th in shooting percentage (41.5). Rose is firing at a 28.9 percent clip. Joakim Noah is averaging four points.
Many important parts still are rounding back into form and playing together for the first time in a while as they do. Rose smiled when it was suggested this is essentially an extended training camp, noting that there was a lot more running in camp. But being in the right place -- and being able to do the right things when there -- is a work in progress.
"The biggest thing is it's not a Derrick problem; it's more the team-being-together problem," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We have to practice together, we have to work together, and the only way you get that is being on the floor. The practice component is very important."
The current lineup never had started together before the regular-season opener. Some of the five are not working at peak sharpness, contributing to the scuffling.
"You can't just score on your first or second options," Noah said. "You have to be able to score on your third and fourth options. We're not there yet.
"We're very happy with the win (Thursday). We showed a lot of resiliency when things weren't going our way. But we know that we have a lot of work to do in terms of timing and execution. The bright spot is I think we have the group that's willing to do it."
Rose demonstrated that Friday, staying late and hoisting dozens of midrange jump shots. He later said Thibodeau didn't take out frustrations on his team during a film session but simply pointed out the need for "getting into the backside of that action and making sure that everything is run correctly, making sure everyone is in the right place."
"It was only the second game," Rose said. "People are looking at it like we've played 10, 20 games already. We're just trying to get used to each other, and that's something that's going to come quick, knowing the guys we have."
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