Long after the Bulls' Wednesday morning shootaround ended, Taj Gibson talked with not one but two assistant coaches.
This kind of attention has Gibson confident his attention to detail will return soon after a slow start.
Gibson, who entered Wednesday night's game against the Mavericks averaging 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 20.6 minutes, rejected the theory he's feeling pressure to live up to his four-year, $33 million extension, which begins next season.
"There's always pressure because you're wearing the Bulls jersey," he said. "I'm still adjusting to a different team and having to do a lot more on defense, talking more. … (The new reserves are) still figuring out the defensive sets and defensive slides. They don't understand that in the fourth quarter, we're used to locking down on 'D'. But we'll get it."
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Gibson's defense has been solid throughout and that he would like to utilize him more in the post to get his offense going.
Missing in action: Like the Bulls, the Mavericks are dealing with life without their superstar as Dirk Nowitzki recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery.
"It's two top-10 players out, so there are similarities," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's tough. The hope is when you go through it, you have guys step up."
Nowitzki could return in mid-December. Like Thibodeau regarding Derrick Rose, it's not a popular topic for Carlisle, who at one point said, "I'm not answering any more Dirk knee questions."
One player Carlisle did discuss was former Bull Eddy Curry, whom the Mavs waived after he scored seven points in the season-opening victory over the Lakers. Carlisle said Curry can help an NBA team.
"He was in good shape and he was a factor around the basket," Carlisle said.
Layups: Darren Collison was a late scratch with a sprained right middle finger. … Guard Derek Fisher, 38, signed with the Mavericks, Carlisle announced after the game. … LeBron James reclaimed the top-selling jersey spot from Rose, who slipped to fifth. Rose watched the game from a luxury suite. … The NBA changed the Jan. 4 start in Miami from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Central.