With the Bulls shockingly being down two games to none against the Wizards in their first-round playoff series, this is the point where all of the old whispers start to resurface, so let’s just get it out of the way now. Forget the officiating, Kirk Hinrich’s missed free throws at the end of Tuesday night’s Game 2 overtime loss, Washington’s surprising willingness to successfully mix it up in the trenches, Wizards big man Nene’s ability to score against Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah and even the late-game offensive droughts in both games of the series: Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau’s stubbornness might be the most crucial factor in his team’s rocky start to the playoffs. Playing the same style of basketball they did all year—or at least since January or so, after Luol Deng was traded—worked in the regular season, but against an opponent with underrated talent, toughness and maybe most significantly, the ability to make adjustments, the Bulls have found themselves in a serious hole. “Just win the next game. Win the next game,” a dejected Thibodeau said following Tuesday’s loss, in which the Bulls once again surrendered a late lead after seemingly being in control of the contest. “You take them one at a time. You’ve got to look at the film, make some corrections and get ready for the next one.” Hopefully the coach heeds his own advice. Thibodeau’s seven-man rotation was a given before the series started, but in the postseason, where game-to-game adjustments might be the biggest difference between a win and a loss, one of the league’s best coaches has relied on will and determination, of which the Bulls are never in short supply, over strategy.
Thibodeau must make adjustments in order to salvage series
CSN Chicago | Apr 24