Chicago Sun-Times

Thibodeau makes questionable call

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Tom Thibodeau is a rookie head coach and he's going to make mistakes - and make no mistake, his decision not to bring Derrick Rose back down the stretch Thursday night against the New York Knicks was a mistake.

After the Bulls' bench players had cut a 19-point deficit to nine points with just under five minutes left, the Knicks called timeout and gave Thibodeau a perfect opportunity to bring back Rose to keep the run going. But the Bulls' best player never got off the bench.

"I thought that group was playing pretty well and we had gone with the starters a little longer than usual to start the second half," Thibodeau said in explaining his decision. "The second unit fought hard to close it and I wanted to see what they could get out of it. They were closing a lot harder to the three-point line.

"I thought about it, but I thought the group that was out there was covering the line pretty well."

The Bulls had many problems against the Knicks, but Rose wasn't one of them. He was having a great offensive game with 24 points and a career-high 14 assists before Thibodeau pulled the plug on his starters with about nine minutes to go after New York stretched its lead to 18.

I would have gone to the bench then as well. But after the reserves made the improbable run to cut the lead to nine, I definitely would have gone back to Rose - and probably Joakim Noah - to see if he could keep the momentum going and possibly steal a game.

The Bulls players, including Rose, did the prudent thing after the game and didn't question the decision of their coach.

But they were in the minority in that regard. Even the United Center crowd started chanting, "We want Rose... We want Rose... " with about three minutes to play.

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11 Comments

UNBELIEVABULL! This was a game in which the Bulls trailed from the get go. NEw York was on fire and took off running and we played catch up the whole night. Give the Knicks credit they won the game with what will probably be their best shooting night from the arc all year. They had their best game of the year, road-wise last night. However it was DRose that kept us in it with his dribble drive slash cuttin to the hoop and Noah was a force as well. Make a change and start Korver because Bilbo Baggins Bogans is one step too slow, scared to make a play and does not look comfortable at all running the break and making passes in the lane. Awful night in transition and whats worst is what the new guy did. Coach you had my respect but your looking an awful lot like Kevin Loughery from back in the day and if you dont know who he is I suggest a late night marathon on the mid-80's when your staying up late trying to figure your team out. Chants of REGGIE REGGIE echoed through my ears as I sat on the couch and heard the UC ROAR 4 our hometown rockstar. I thought to myself what are they chanting & why arent you bringing the starters back, NY licked their chops as you gave up on any chance of stealing this one. He is our hometown hero a star in the making and the only way this team will roll is through Derrick Rose and Noah. Dont make a statement, dont rely on your bench, if the good people pay insane money to watch you coach our guys and we literally join in unison and mouth the words ROSE and ask for something and its your first week in our house and you dont have the common sense to play Chicago politics then maybe your the wrong fella 4 the job. We have had a decade of losing and on a night when the other team clearly shot the ball better you had a chance to go with Korver Rose Noah Deng and whoever and you played the wrong 5 and nearly started a mutiny. Go back to Boston or become a Bull.

UNBELIEVABULL! This was a game in which the Bulls trailed from the get go. NEw York was on fire and took off running and we played catch up the whole night. Give the Knicks credit they won the game with what will probably be their best shooting night from the arc all year. They had their best game of the year, road-wise last night. However it was DRose that kept us in it with his dribble drive slash cuttin to the hoop and Noah was a force as well. Make a change and start Korver because Bilbo Baggins Bogans is one step too slow, scared to make a play and does not look comfortable at all running the break and making passes in the lane. Awful night in transition and whats worst is what the new guy did. Coach you had my respect but your looking an awful lot like Kevin Loughery from back in the day and if you dont know who he is I suggest a late night marathon on the mid-80's when your staying up late trying to figure your team out. Chants of REGGIE REGGIE echoed through my ears as I sat on the couch and heard the UC ROAR 4 our hometown rockstar. I thought to myself what are they chanting & why arent you bringing the starters back, NY licked their chops as you gave up on any chance of stealing this one. He is our hometown hero a star in the making and the only way this team will roll is through Derrick Rose and Noah. Dont make a statement, dont rely on your bench, if the good people pay insane money to watch you coach our guys and we literally join in unison and mouth the words ROSE and ask for something and its your first week in our house and you dont have the common sense to play Chicago politics then maybe your the wrong fella 4 the job. We have had a decade of losing and on a night when the other team clearly shot the ball better you had a chance to go with Korver Rose Noah Deng and whoever and you played the wrong 5 and nearly started a mutiny. Go back to Boston or become a Bull.

Perhaps hiring Thibodeau was the mistake. If Thursday's game was what this Bulls team is, then we're watching another 41-41 season and an early exit in the playoffs. It has become intuitivly obvious to most casual of observers, that this team DESPARATELY needs another scorer. Melo wants to play here GarPax, make it happen ! P.S. Nice defense Thibs, You Da Man !

I agree this was a huge mistake. You have to win at home if you can. I think that he made the mistake of looking forward to a better showing in tonight's game at his homecoming as a head coach in Boston and basically forfeited the opportunity to pull this game out of the fire. In spite of the incredible 3 point shooting display that the Knicks will never be able to repeat the rest of the season, the Bulls still had a chance to come back and overcome them if Rose (and Noah) were put back in with enough time to do so. Instead he sacrificed this game for tonight's game. Let's hope they can pull off the upset against the Celtics at home, if not he just notched two losses with that decision. I think it was a bad message to send the team and the home fans.

They needed D, not O. They were making shots and defending, not sure Rose would have done any better and they also play Celtics tonight. Understandable, Knicks were just on fire.

I'm not a Bulls fan and might feel differently if I were, but I watched the entire game last night and feel like Thibodeau made the right call by keeping Rose and Noah out of the game at the end.

Have you seen Ray Felton and Tony Douglas' numbers from that game? 50 points, 14 assists, 9 threes, 6 steals. I know Rose wasn't always guarding those guys and defense is a team effort but I saw a couple instances where Rose simply failed to turn around after a made basket and watched his matchup glide to the hoop for an easy two. The Knicks got any shot they wanted last night - threes, layups, anything. It's up to the starters to set the tone on defense and they didn't do that.

Thibodeau is a defense-first coach. The Bulls starters played zero defense. Why should he reward Rose and Noah? It's also a LONG season and they have to play Boston tonight. Rose and Noah will be more rested and pissed off tonight.

Thibodeau has won a championship as an assistant and that championship was won on defense, which is his specialty. Until you win a championship as a coach, I'd say let him make the calls. It was easy to question Vinnie because he didn't have ANY experience, but if you do the same to Tom, you just look like a fool.

I don't think the call was questionable at all. Rose had been exerting a lot of effort to bring them back, he was tired. The Knicks were shooting lights out, it was just their night. In addition, the Bulls have a tough road game in Boston tonight, Thibodeau probably wanted to save some of his energy for tonight(they also had to fly late last night). Also, it's only the 4th game of the year, we don't want Rose to be exhausted come March and April. Thibodeau realized that the game was out of hand, the Knicks were just hot, you couldn't stop them. In addition, the Bulls' 2nd string is pretty good. They were the ones making the comeback in the 4th quarter. If anyone noticed, Noah also sat during that time. Sorry, John Jackson, there's a reason why you're a reporter and not a coach. By the way, the fans don't make coaching decisions. You don't put Rose back in the game just because the fans want it, you do what's best for the team. An 82-game season is a marathon, not a sprint.

I dont think it was a bad decision, they play the Celtics tonight in Boston. Let them rest and see if the reserves could pull it off. The starters did not come close to shutting down the Knicks hot shooting. I think the starters need to sit and watch and stew and take a stand tonight and prove to the coach and the fans they have the guts to stand up and fight like the subs did

Seriously, the Bulls were still down 9 and not likely to win with the way the Knicks were shooting, plus they play tonight against the Celtics. Give the guy a break you could justify putting him back in but you can also justify keeping him on the bench, he exerted a lot of energy in the 3rd and early 4th quarter, so keeping him fresh for tonight's game was probably the right call.

Fine gentlemen, After watching ANOTHER loss to the Celtics, are you still defending Tom Terrific ? The Bulls get down by 15 - 20 points EVERY night, then have to run at a furious pace to get back in the game.I don't know how anyone can say this team does NOT need better scoring ? Must be from Boston.

Thibs is over rated having only been an asistant coach for many years. Doc Rivers is the guy who deserves credit for being head coach of the celtics. Plus they have 4 allstars on the team. 3 of them are perennial and were great players prior to coming to Boston. Thibs is overrated as evidenced by keeping the stars out when you have a shot to win. Doesn't he know who we pay to see? Lastly, if he's such a greatd defensive coach why was Rose struggling over the top of a high post screen against Rondo? He can't shoot so why not have Rose go under the screen and ask deng or the others to step back and let him through? But, no he gets 3 layups because coach is saying go over it and anothe defender has to hedge. For a shooter maybe, but not for Rondo. Thibs, do your homework because you were not on top of that situation!

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