So another first round exit for our Chicago Bulls, going down 4-1 vs the Washington Wizards. Yeah, those guys who were laughingstocks of the league not long ago, and for a while, too. To be fair, the Wizards have talented players like Wall, Ariza, Biel (Beal?), and Nene, and the Bulls couldn't keep up with their scoring ability and their aggressiveness.
But the Bulls looked, well, tired. They couldn't start well, and they didn't look like they had enough energy to mount the comebacks that they needed in almost every game.
Why is that? This team had the best record in the NBA in the second half of the season. Could it be that Thibs is pushing them too hard? I think that's a reasonable question. His rotations are too short by at least two players in the regular season, sometimes only playing 6 or 7 players (maybe 8) when perhaps he should be spreading out minutes between 9 or 10 players. Not only would it give more rest to the go-to guys, but it would also give those other guys meaningful minutes in game situations and allow the team to find out if they have something (or nothing). Jimmer Fredette? Could barely get on the floor. Ronnie Brewer? Why even bother?
He played Hinrich, Dunleavy, Butler, Boozer, Noah, Gibson, and Augustine too much, I think.
They are certainly his best seven players. But even Boozer was left out in crunch time, those minutes going the Gibson.
Thibs' biggest problem seems to be his inflexibility. That may also be his biggest strength. But if winning every game in the regular season (or playing to win every game, which is virtually the same thing) costs them their legs come playoff time, something's gotta be done. I'm sure no one wants to tell him how to coach, but someone better make him see that you can't sacrifice offense all the time in order to keep your best defensive unit on the floor for most of the game.
It will be interesting to see how this off-season plays out. With Rose coming back and the ability to amnesty Boozer, is there anyone out there who can make the difference between a first round exit and competing for the title? Besides Carmelo, that is, who apparently would have to take significantly less money to come to Chicago without a sign-and-trade, and I'd guess that New York doesn't want Boozer in such a deal (even though his contract is up after this year).
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Dead Or Alive