Wizards 98, Bulls 89- Bulls refuse to score, Thibs refuses to adjust

Wizards 98, Bulls 89- Bulls refuse to score, Thibs refuses to adjust
Tribune photo by Scott Strazzante

At this point, I am not sure what Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is waiting for. Hinrich can't make a shot, Augustin is afraid to shoot a 3, and Butler refuses to drive strong to the basket, preferring to keep firing away from behind the arc.

He has one of the best shooters in the world- Jimmer Fredette- sitting on the bench, yet he refuses to play him. If Augustin were defending or running the offense competently, you could give Thibs a pass. But when you can't defend and you can't score, what can it hurt to try someone else?

Taj Gibson single-handedly kept the Bulls from being completely blown out in the first half, yet there was the invisible Carlos Boozer back starting the 3rd quarter.

If your only adjustment is to give Tony Snell a few of Butler's minutes, you've got a problem. Nobody is doubting that the Wizards are the more athletic team in this series, but all of Thibs' weaknesses as a coach have been thoroughly exposed.

With Nene sitting out suspended, Thibs had a chance to go to a smaller lineup with Dunleavy or Butler playing PF, but he refused to do it, even though the Bulls offense was downright putrid most of the day.

The sad thing is, Thibs went to his usual 4th quarter closing lineup, and they made a run to make the final score respectable. Unfortunately, this is only going to empower Thibs to continue his stubborn, non-flexible ways, which probably means this series ends after Game 5 Tuesday night at the UC.

Thibs doesn't get all the blame- the officiating was questionable at times, but that's the case in every game in every sport. The team got outhustled literally dozens of times throughout the game, and that's all on the players.

The Bulls got within 10 with just under 3:00 to play, and they had the ball- but Augustin fired up a 3pt shot that missed the rim by a good 3 feet, and the game over.

Augustin is now shooting 32.3% (20/62) from the field and 31.8% on 3's (7/22) in the series- and he has taken 15 more shots than anyone else on the Bulls roster.

Gibson was a beast down low, scoring a career-high 32 points on 13/16 shooting. But four Bulls played more minutes than him? Are you serious, coach?

The Bulls have made 26/80 (32.5%) shots from behind the arc in this series, and a guy who shot 47.6% this season hasn't seen the floor? Gibson leads the team with 19.8 points per game on 60.8% shooting, and he's tied for 4th on the team in minutes? Taj started eight games this season, and he averaged 19.3 points and 9.8 rebounds as the Bulls went 5-3 in those games, but you're still going to start Boozer?

It seems so blatantly obvious that Fredette needs to get Augustin's minutes and Gibson needs to start instead of Boozer in Game 5. I can't imagine more than a handful of Bulls disagree with me, will Thibs make the adjustments?

The Bulls are down to a single-elimination season, and you would expect them to come out desperate and fighting. Will Thibs adjust the rotation enough to give them a fighting chance, or is he ready for summer vacation to start already?

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround, The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and ChicagoSportsWriters.com, and writing for ChicagoNow and SportsBlog.com, he is also a KHSAA and semi-pro baseball umpire. He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.

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