The Chicago Bulls are now faced with a major challenge to keeping their season alive through the weekend. That challenge starts with a Game three showdown with the Washington Wizards on Friday night. Being down 2-0 in this Eastern conference matchup makes this a must win for the Bulls. A loss in Game three and the Bulls will soon be on the clock for who they will select at the 16th and 19th spot in this June’s NBA draft. Pippen Ain’t Easy has been very vocal with the criticisms of Tom Thibodeau and how he has made his adjustments (or lack thereof) in the fourth quarter that has cost the Bulls late. Sure everyone has gone back and forth with the handling of Carlos Boozer. There is an article calling for the benching of Kirk Hinrich written by me a couple of days ago. But there is a possible resource that has not even been tapped into yet. The Bench! One of the Pippen Peoples, Julie Czerwinweaver had a great point in one of her comments. Here’s what she had to say…
“Thibs has got to quit relying on Snell and put Jimmer (Fredette) in instead. Even five minutes, he may score.”
First Julie has a good idea on many fronts. One, Jimmer Fredette can put the ball in the basket which he was allegedly brought to Chicago to do in the first place. Two, for the five minutes that Fredette is on the floor it can give the starters much-needed rest who have been run into the ground since Luol Deng was traded to Cleveland. Three, Tony Snell obviously is overmatched when he is in the game. It’s not to bash Snell, he’s a rookie!
Hey Julie, this picture is for you. That’s probably the only thing Fredette will be doing throughout the playoffs. Thanks for the comments.
One of the ways that Washington Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman has outcoached Tom Thibodeau in this series is the use of his bench. Wittman has gone to his bench at critical times in the fourth quarter in both Games one and two that have paid huge dividends for the Wizards success.
John Wall had struggled all night long. Wittman placed Andre Miller in the game in the fourth quarter to rest Wall for the final stretch run. Andre Miller was very productive scoring eight of his ten points in the last frame. He scored efficiently receiving the ball through the half court by way of backdoor cuts to the basket. Most of these baskets were at DJ Augustin’s expense. Couple that with solid defense, Wittman decided to go a few minutes longer with Miller keeping Wall on the bench.
After Marcin Gortat had a monster Game one scoring a career high 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, he had a clunker Game two. In the fourth quarter after watching Taj Gibson abuse him for nine offensive rebounds. Wittman sat Gortat and placed Trevor Booker in his place. Booker was effective bringing energy and slowed Gibson down a little shutting down the second chance opportunity for the Bulls.
While Randy Wittman has not been shy using his bench. Tom Thibodeau has used the majority of his bench as human mannequins to model NBA warmup outfits. Outside of DJ Augustin and Taj Gibson, the rest of the bench has been used sparingly. Outside of Nazr Mohammed and Tony Snell who has been on the floor a few minutes combined in the first two games, the rest have been used to fill the NBA quota of how many players had to be on the bench during a game. I did a preview of the bench prior to the playoffs starting. Let’s break down how the Bulls have used their bench who I like to call…The Chairmen of the Bench!
Well we knew this guy was going to play. It has been a tale of two games for Augustin. In game one, he shot 3-15 from the field and scored 16 points. He was harassed and did not play well. In Game two, the spirit of Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue in the 2001 finals stepped into Augustin’s body as he went for 25 points. He’s going to need more of that now that he is probably succeeded in putting his name at the top of the chalk board of priorities in the Washington Wizards locker room. He’s really the Bulls only shot at getting back in this series with the almost flat lining scoring in the fourth quarter. Now he has found a new playmate to deal with. Let me introduce you to Trevor Ariza who shut him out in Game two. Good luck.
It’s like an after school special when it comes to Gibson. In Game one, the Washington Wizards absolutely manhandled Taj Gibson. Nene and Gortat basically bullied Gibson on the boards and he was ineffective. In Game two, Gibson looked like the little guy that worked and beat his adversaries at the end. Gibson absolutely DESTROYED Gortat to the point that he was benched. Taj Gibson went off for NINE offensive rebounds in Game two. That’s unheard of Pippen Peoples. The aggressiveness was back with a lot more in reserve. The Bulls are going to need about four more games like these…AT LEAST!
Here’s why I’m beefing with Thibodeau. Mohammed had three fouls in two minutes in Game one. Was never seen again. He hasn’t scored in this series. Oh well, you can’t coach seven feet. Just sayin!
He’s scored two points in Game one. He gave up a three pointer and fouled Martell Webster. In Game two, well let me put it this way. Close your eyes. What do you see? Nothing? That’s what Snell DID in game two!
The Chairmen of the Bench-Mike James, Ronnie Brewer, Lou Amundsen and Jimmer Fredette.
Sing along everyone!
‘Oh we are the Chairmen’
‘We’d like to join the show’
‘Thibodeau don’t like us’
‘So now we have to goooooooooooooo!
Thibodeau…take some advice! Try one of these guys. I know Jimmy Butler’s knees would appreciate it.