PHILADELPHIA – One of Tom Thibodeau's favorite sayings is you can find an excuse any night you look.
On a Wednesday night when the Bulls lost Kirk Hinrich to a left knee injury on top of already being without Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton, will was on full display rather than whining.
Is now the time to mention the Bulls arrived at their local hotel rooms past 4 a.m. locally after Tuesday night's late tipoff?
Bulls 96, 76ers 89. Rarely has such fortitude looked so matter-of-fact.
"We're a no-excuse team," Joakim Noah said. "We play hard and are always prepared. That doesn't mean we're not tired. But we have good character."
And characters, as Noah purposely egged on the notoriously tough 76ers' crowd en route to 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks over 44 minutes.
Luol Deng bounced back from his tough outing Tuesday with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and shook off a hard fall late.
"This goes back to what Luol does for our team – whatever we need," Thibodeau said. "And that's what makes him so special. We weren't rebounding well and he got in there and started fighting."
Nate Robinson started for Hinrich and had 14 points and just two turnovers. Jimmy Butler hit a huge, fourth-quarter 3-pointer. Thibodeau closed with Marquis Teague over Robinson, and the rookie contributed solid defense and six fourth-quarter points, including two big free throws as the Bulls sank 24 of 26 overall.
"We're a resilient group," Noah said.