Yup, the Celtics are playing that guy tonight.
In other Chicago news, the Bulls just gave up 120 points to the New York Knickerbockers (including a staggering 132.1 points per 100 possessions in the first half). Then the fourth quarter came around, the Bulls cut the lead to nine, and Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah spent the game’s final minutes on the bench. Wait, what? On the bench? In a semi-close game? What did Thibodeau do, forget that he could make substitutions again?
No, he was simply riding his bench’s hot hand. The subs went on a 10-0 run and Thibs wanted to reward them. Can you blame him for that? Not really. But as soon as the run stops you have to put Rose and Noah back into the game. Right? Not in Thibodeau’s eyes. “The second unit I thought fought hard to close it, and I wanted to see what they could get out of it,” he told the New York Post.
Don’t sweat it, Thibs. You’ve got something up your sleeve for tonight. You know all the Celtics’ plays.
Thinking a little more about Thibodeau’s decision to keep his stars on the bench than I probably should care to, I kind of love it. It was the type of move that makes you scratch your head for now, definitely. But when the Bulls’ bench scraps together a gutty performance in a big game some time later this season, people should think, “Ahh. So THAT’S why Thibodeau left the bench in against the Knicks.”
He was building confidence in his second unit and rewarding them for good play. Sure, he might have lost his team a game, but they probably weren’t going to win anyway. They were still down nine points with just three and a half minutes to play. Thibs will surely catch a lot of heat for the move, but I’m on board. It was a ballsy decision that could pay serious dividends in the future.