Placing blame for Game 3’s meltdown
What the hell happened last night? How did our Bulls blow that 14 point lead? The easy answer: Joakim Noah left the game with a severe ankle injury with 7:57 to go in the 3rd quarter. The actual answer: a combination of shockingly horrendous coaching and a lack of heart. The Bulls stopped playing to win and instead began playing not to lose. There was no doubt in my mind that when Philly cut the lead to 9, they were going to win. It was the same feeling I had when Tebow stepped onto the field against the Bears in the 4th quarter down 10. Chairs were thrown, and tables were nearly broken as I walked out of the room after Matt Prater’s OT field goal that night. But I digress. Here are my main reasons (other than losing Noah) that the Bulls lost last night’s game:
- I have no idea why in God’s name Thibodeau decided to put Noah back into the game in the 4th quarter. The dude’s limp was worse than Leapin’ Larry’s in Seinfeld. Thibodeau was quoted saying, “I’m relying on (trainer) Fred (Tedeschi). The game is going on. I ask him if he can go or not go. That’s usually how it works.” Whether that’s the case or not, isn’t it ultimately Thibs’ decision to put Noah in the game? I don’t know one Bulls fan who agreed with the decision to put him in last night because within 1 minute of putting him in, he had tweaked the ankle again.
- Ronnie Brewer has missed 1 game in the past 2 seasons. He’s a high energy guy who plays great defense and knows his role on offense. Can someone tell me why in the world he rode pine for all 48 minutes last night? I don’t understand it. Korver finished the game with a goose egg, and Hamilton couldn’t hit the side of a barn. I’m not saying he would have been the difference between winning the game and losing it, but he most definitely could have made an impact in one way or another.
- Anyone who knows anything about basketball should be able to say, with confidence, that John Lucas is a terrible point guard. Now, I’m not saying I don’t like him – he has had some big moments for us this season, and he plays with absolutely no fear – but when was the last time he didn’t dribble out the shot clock in the half court to under 5 seconds before a) launching up a 35 footer or b) making a legitimate pass? I felt like I was watching an atrocious pickup game at the gym the way Lucas was “running the offense” last night. There’s a reason he has never found a home in the NBA besides the fact that he’s so small, and it’s because he can’t actually run an offense. Unfortunately, that happens to be the most important thing for a point guard to do. What does this have to do with coaching? Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact that, after watching Lucas continuously run the shot clock down to 3, Thibodeau still decided to stick with him the entire 4th quarter. You’re probably thinking “but Watson was playing horrible, Thibs had no choice.” Wrong. Mike James, anyone? In the 3 games that he played 17+ minutes this season, he averaged 7 assists. The journeyman actually has a track record. He’s played about 12 seasons in the NBA, including nearly 2 full seasons as a starter in Toronto and Minnesota. He’s no rookie. He obviously wouldn’t be the difference between winning this series and not, but could it really have hurt to put him in when the lead was slowly disintegrating? He can run an offense better than Lucas, and clearly no one could trust Watson and his shot selection last night. I just don’t understand why he didn’t get a chance.
2) Carlos Boozer
- There’s no one I dislike more in Chicago sports than Carlos Boozer and Alfonso Soriano. For the sake of this post, I will limit the text to only obliterating Boozer. For me, there has never been a more frustrating Bulls player than Boozer. Everyone knows there are players that rise to the occasion at the end of games, the guys who simply want the ball in their hands with the game on the line. Then there are the players who disappear when it matters most (think Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Chris Webber, etc.), the guys who would rather pick out some schmucky fan from the stands to take a big shot than their own damn selves. Carlos Boozer, my friends, is the epitome of the latter. There isn’t a softer player than him on this roster. We’re paying him $15 million a year to average 12-14 ppg in the postseason and disappear at the end of games? What a joke. There was no Derrick Rose, there was no Joakim Noah. We need this man to step up his game when it matters most. Going 1-6 in the 4th quarter and constantly settling for his rocking chair jump shot when he should be banging in the post and finding ways to score like he used to in Utah? He should be ashamed of himself. And don’t even get me started on his defense…
3) Luol Deng
- Luol: what happened bro? I understand that Iguodala is one of the best perimeter defenders in the game, but there’s no excuse for 5 points on 2-7 shooting in game 3 and 8 points on 3-12 shooting in game 2. None whatsoever. I don’t even know what else to say. But Luol Deng is much better than this.
I will now stop talking before I murder someone. Game 4 tomorrow.