On a Christmas Day matchup that was supposed to be pretty in the eyes of fans and ESPN/ABC alike, it turned out to be as ugly as the “smalledium” sleeved shirts some players complained they had to wear. The Chicago Bulls walked into the Barclay Center and smacked the Brooklyn Nets with a sock full of coal with a 95-78 victory behind Brooklyn native Taj Gibson’s 20 points off the bench. Jimmy Butler returned to the lineup to score 15 points as well.
This game was not about the beat down as opposed to Coach Tom Thibodeau just badly outclassing Jason Kidd on the coaching front. If you didn’t watch the game, you would be shocked to believe that Brooklyn was actually up 50-49 in the third quarter. Tom Thibodeau makes a couple of adjustments, tells his players to crank up the defense and the Bulls go on a 23-6 run to end the quarter and held the Nets scoreless for a five and a half minute stretch. Folks, when the Bulls decided the Nets weren’t going to score, the Nets didn’t.
I think Tom Thibodeau is an unappreciated coach. Now before everyone starts flooding Facebook and twitter (Twitter: @BullsBeatBlog) saying I don’t have a clue; just listen for a second. Coming in to this game BOTH franchises has had a ton of injuries. Both franchises have lost their most valuable players being Derrick Rose (Chicago) and Brook Lopez (Brooklyn). Here’s the difference… Coach Thibodeau will not let the Bulls use it for an excuse to play hard every night. Every player on the squad 1-12 will play staunch defense or they will need a road map to get on the floor to play. Jason Kidd on the other hand told the only man that can really help him, assistant coach Lawrence Frank, that a road map will be needed to get out of that broom closet he put him in to do “daily reports” (By the way, up until this year had ANYONE ever heard of daily reports before?). After every loss Jason Kidd goes to the podium talking about A) We’re trying to turn this around or B) Injuries are affecting this team.
Since this game was such a blowout, I started to look for subplots in this game and I watched the two coaches in action during the game. During the broadcasts coaches are usually wired for sound to play back for the fans watching. When Jason Kidd was in a timeout being wired, someone in the room blurted out “Maybe Jason Kidd should invest in a clipboard!” After a closer look, I noticed he’s not drawing up plays he just states the obvious and moves on. I saw Kevin Garnett doing more coaching on the sidelines than Kidd. It is amazing that Jason Kidd has not only shown he can’t coach, but he’s unqualified. Thibodeau on the other hand was on a different boat, while Jason Kidd was sitting, Coach Thibodeau was up coaching calling plays and urging the Bulls to keep up the same level of intensity to finish the game. The announcers was amazed at how intense he was during the game and at the fact he hadn’t gone hoarse by the 4th quarter.
Are the Bulls under .500 right now? Yes. Will they make the playoffs? Yes, probably a 5 or 6 seed. Are they a title contender? No, far from it. But I will say this. The Chicago Bulls play hard every night with an identity of “We are going to make you work for every point you get. There are nights that this team can’t throw a basketball in the ocean standing neck deep, but they defend…HARD. That is the personality of their coach. Why do you think that James Dolan wants him to coach the Knicks? (Good Luck with that Mr. Dolan.) Coach Thibodeau has a system that gets the best out of this team under all circumstances, injuries and all.