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Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  47 responses

Tom Thibodeau Benched Carlos Boozer

Boozer didn’t play defense that was satisfactory enough for his coach last night, and as a result, he rode the pine late in the game (which the Bulls lost): “And so the Bulls head down the turnpike of broken glass bottles, the New Jersey Turnpike, to Philadelphia to face the 76ers Friday wondering where their fast break went, where their defense went and where was Carlos Boozer. The high scoring forward had 12 points, nine rebounds and a team high five assists, but he didn’t play the last 14 minutes of the game as Thibodeau went with the bench as he usually does to open the fourth quarter. But Boozer never went back in, and, actually, Rose didn’t until 4:02 left in the game as Thibodeau rode the reserve group, apparently somewhat displeased with the starters’ efforts. ‘We struggled all night,’ said Thibodeau. ‘At the end, we were in such a big hole that we were searching for anything that could get us going. So we went small to see if that could generate something’ … So Boozer sat and he said afterward it was not his decision. ‘You gotta talk to Thibs about that,’ Boozer said. ‘That was a coaching decision.’ He repeated that when asked again in a somewhat different way. ‘Yeah, we were surprised (Boozer didn’t come back in),’ said Rose. ‘But we’re not going to try to coach. We’re going to do our jobs and that’s to play. We’re going to leave the subbing up to him.’ That said, Boozer and Rose were very much into the game while on the bench in the fourth, leaping up at every Bulls basket and exploding when they thought Watson was fouled for three shots.”

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  • Stepfan

    If you don’t play D in Thibs system you don’t play.

  • http://slamonline.Com Bryan Crawford

    Thins blew that one. Late in the game, when the Nets were doubling DRose, Booz should’ve been in the game exactly for that reason. Oh yeah, he probably grabs that rebound that resulted in the Vujacic game winner, too. I like Thibs, but like players, coaches can make “rookie mistakes” too.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Thibs probably knows that without defense the bulls could still beat the nets but not the best teams. So I assume he is teaching a lesson

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    This isn’t the first time Thibs has tried to teach his team a lesson this season, still, you need to win the winnable games on the schedule. And not to exonerate Booz and his lapses on D last night, but he’s been playing great all season. You put him in at crunch time, he’ll do what it takes to win

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    That sounds like the worst drive ever. Jersey to Philly? No thank you. What the heck is a turnpike anyway? Why can’t they just call it a highway?

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    I’m with BC – you don’t teach a lesson at the expense of a win. Thibs is a great coach except for his rotations. He keeps his bench players in games way too long. If we’re going to start punishing players for their performance, then get Bogans the hell out of the starting line up.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    On top of that, Thibs burned some time outs when he didn’t need to. He called a time out 60 seconds into the second half…and with 40 seconds left in the game when it was tied up. Sure could have used one of those time outs to draw up a final play instead of what Rose ended up doing at the end of the game. Bottom line, you don’t pay a man $80 mil and sit him for 14 straight minutes.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Co-sign Diesel at 10:27 and 10:34

  • barnabusb

    Diesel is right. Since you’re paying him, you might as well let him go out there and leave his team mates out to dry on D. The Booz can score, and that’s what matters, amiright?

  • T-Money

    That’s little league stuff. Booz is who he is at this point, they knew he was a bad defender when they gave him the contract. Bringing back D-Rose with 4 mins to go? Cmon son.

  • http://www.mvp247.com Greg Tanner

    To quote William Gates’ older brother in Hoop Dreams…

    “This ain’t no time to be teaching nobody no damned lesson”

  • Fat Lever

    Maybe Thibs is conceding a battle, but trying to win a war. Gotta play D in the playoffs.

  • T-Money

    And what’s up with playing Luol 67 minutes a game?!

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    I’m still angry about this…I forgot to mention that the Nets were double teaming Rose every time he touched the ball in the last 3 minutes. Sure could have used another go-to scorer when that happened. I think Thibs realized it to, so he subs in…Kurt freaking Thomas “for scoring”. I second T-money too. 4 minutes down 5 points is too late to be subbing Rose back in.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Cawford

    That’s probably why Lu missed those 2 FT’s in crunch-time. he was tired. He’s played 40+ minutes the last 2 games. Even in the blowout victory over Toronto the other night he played 40 mins when the rest of the starters sat!

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    Nothing like playing an injury prone guy unnecessary extended minutes.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    this is a bad look for the bulls. this should have been a guaranteed win, and would have been had thibs not been so, stubborn i guess for lack of a better word. maybe this will motivate booz to play better D, but i highly doubt it. more likely to start a rift if anything

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Cosign everything Bryan Crawford and Diesel have said on this page. I will never understand sitting your second best player for the entire 4th quarter. Never

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Phil Jackson and Popovich both regularly teach lessons at the expense of a single win.
    Think about it.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    So now your putting Thibedeau in that category allen? He has his own lessons he needs to learn, maybe he was teaching himself what not to do in that case.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Look, Thibodeau has to get his team to commit to defense.
    Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were known as bad defenders for years, now they aren’t. It is possible for a player to change on defense if they commit and the coach and other players make it clear that they have to meet those expectations.
    I imagine that’s what Thibodeau is thinking right now, but since I’m not privy to his thoughts, I have no idea.
    Also, Bogans has consistently gotten minutes on every team he’s played on despite losing his shooting touch four years ago. Simply put, he does all the other things coaches want every player to do. And he does it every night. Coaches value consistency more than anything else in the league, and then they value solid defense. At least most of them.
    Bogans provides both of those things, so he plays. Deng is providing both, so he plays. If you look at the coach, think about how they view the league, it’s not hard to see why certain players play and others sit.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’m saying that no coach is perfect. And I’m saying that Pop and Jackson started somewhere.
    A man stands for something or he falls for anything.
    Same is true for coaches. You have to establish who you are and what you will tolerate and not tolerate EARLY in your coaching career. All the best coaches have done that, and their message stays consistent. The worst coaches are the ones who don’t have a consistent philosophy. Not a consistent strategy, but a consistent philosophy for how a team will be run and what will be accepted. In that way, coaches are a lot like managers or supervisors, even if their relationship to players doesn’t correlate exactly.
    Actually, they are just leaders. Coaches have to be leaders first, and leaders have vision. I don’t know if Thibs is a good coach or not, but this decision isn’t what makes up my mind that he’s not.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    Phil and Pop can rest players and sacrifice a win when they’re in first place with games to spare. And if you’re keeping Bogans in purely for his defense, Brewer would be a better choice because he’s a better defender and more active on offense.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    i definitely don’t think Thibs is a BAD coach, quite the contrary actually. but to lose to a team like the nets after a 5 game win streak stings. maybe you’re right though, Allenp, i’d hope a loss like this would light a fire in the Bulls to play better throughout a game.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    And to be clear, I think Thibs is a very good coach. All the players talk about how much better the team is being run this year. I just don’t like the decisions he made yesterday.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    So what philosophy explains benching your second best scorer, and best rebounder for the whole 4th quarter? Especially when your struggling to get buckets

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    and did Phil and Pop give up wins before they won titles? I don’t recall that happening at all before.. But I obviously didn’t see phil much before he started winning

  • http://slamonline.com nate

    Im starting not too like Thibbs . Keep doing this he’ll be getting the Vinny Del Negro Treatment lol .

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    NBK
    Boozer, by dint of his talent, is a leader on that team, correct?
    What Thibs allows him to do will filter down to other players.
    Thibs likely finished that after a five game win streak, and against the Nets, the Bulls could still possibly win that game even without Boozer, and it was a good time to show him that he can’t let Kris Freaking Humphries dominate him! I don’t know if that was his thinking or he just had a brain fart, but since I believe he has a clear philosophy, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.
    There is no excuse for Kris having the impact he had against Boozer, correct? This ain’t KG, this is Kris Humphries.
    Unfortunately, the Bulls lost. I think Thibs now has to make it clear why he made the choice he made to his team. Not to the media or fans, but to his team.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Pop coached the same way back then that he coaches now. Same with Phil. They have not changed much.
    Sigh, fans are so funny.
    They lost to the Nets. That is only their third loss in like 19 games. I would think Thibs would have earned some respect for doing that without their best defender. And y’all know I was not a cheerleader for Thibs, but I can clearly see how he has to set the tone with Boozer. I don’t know if it will work, after all Jerry Sloan couldn’t make him a defender, but I see why he has to try.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    If Thibs was trying to make a point that Boozer needed to play better or he wouldn’t play, and then Thibs turns around and puts Boozer in when the game suddenly becomes winnable again, wouldn’t Thibs be sending the wrong message?
    Like “You can’t play if you don’t play well…unless we panic and need you down the stretch.”

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    makes sense when you say it like that. Allen your over logical, its a little rude to be so hard to reason against. haha, jk…anyway, kris humphries has been killin the whole league on the boards since he got that kardashikoochie

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    Allen – I don’t like looking at the record to justify a loss. When you go out over the summer and spend all that money revamping your team, you need to beat the worst teams in the league every time. No excuses. Boston, Miami, Orlando, San Antonio aren’t losing these type games. If you want to be taken seriously, you don’t lose these games. My personal opinion is you pull Boozer aside and talk to him one on one. By publicly punishing him like this, now you’re getting the fans and media involved. You make a bigger issue out of it than it needs to be. I’m just worried because Skiles used to do the very same thing. After a while he had to leave town because he himself had said the players had tuned him out and wouldn’t play for him anymore. This is like the 3rd or 4th game The Bulls have lost because of Thib’s coaching decisions….john Lucas in the game at crunch time anyone? I’m just hoping his stubbornness isn’t getting in the way of his coaching decisions.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    i didn’t get a chance to catch the game last night but WTF John Lucas III got some playing time?? i don’t see how any of you guys can justify that. seriously.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    flashbacks of that denver game and Lucas’ free throws pop up…oh god…

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    airs – John Lucas got waived, he’s not with the team anymore.
    Diesel was talking about that Denver game, I beleive, where Lucas missed those clutch free throws.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Enigmatic
    I’m assuming you meant Rose, right?
    I don’t think Rose is as bad as Boozer of defense, and I think he’s trying harder. Half the time Boozer isn’t even really trying. He’s pretending to try. Watch him closely. I used to hate him in Utah for doing that.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Thibodeau didn’t kill Boozer in the media. He said that he wanted to go small, he didn’t call Boozer out for failing to play defense.
    I think coaches have two ways to handle players these days. You pull their minutes or you whine to the media. Some coaches do both, some do one or the other.
    I support coaches who pull minutes. I don’t support coaches who whine to the media. I think that as a coach, you get to decide who plays and when they play. And if you want a player to respect your wishes, you pull him when he fails to meet your standards. No matter who the player is. And you talk to him about what happened, and reward him when he follows orders. That’s what leaders do.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    oh whew. i was wondering when they were gonna waive him.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Allen – are you referring to my first post?
    No, I meant Boozer in that one.
    I’m basically trying to say it would be a bad look if Thibs had brought Boozer in to try and win a game, when he was trying to prove a point.
    And I agree, Rose is trying on defense. I just think Thibs is the first coach he’s had that’s really stressed that side of the ball.

  • toinefan88

    that shows a lot of character that they were still into the game

  • T-Money

    Allen, to put it mildly, Thibs hasn’t earned the right nor the benefit of the doubt to sacrifice regular season wins or play mind games with his stars. They need HCA, they haven’t proven jack in the playoffs and he needs to establish himself as a head coach. He needs all the wins he can get. If his stars turn on him, he’ll be doing TV soon.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Enigmatic
    I thought you were saying that if Thibs was making that point, why did he bench Rose, then put him back in the game late to try to close things out. I re-read what you wrote and saw that you were basically agreeing with me that he had to give the team a consistent message, screw winning one game.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    T_money
    See Mike Brown for the fools gold of exchanging regular season success at the expense of establishing dominance on a team.
    Brown’s biggest failure was in not forcing LeBron to conform to his philosophy. He allowed LeBron to become bigger than the team to the point where even though Brown didn’t want the team dancing and clowing he couldn’t say anything because that’s what LeBron wanted to do.
    That’s a sucka’s bet.
    If a star can’t take being benched for poor play, then he can’t take coaching.
    In my mind, as a coach, you have to have the right to bench players. Playing time is your power. You have to wield that power smartly, but clearly allowing Humprhies to dominate was too much for Thibs to accept. He probably doesn’t expect Boozer to morph into KG, but he does expect consistent and intelligent effort.
    He benched him to make that point. I support the decision by any coach, particularly when the coach handles it fairly from the top down.

  • T-Money

    I’m sorry but I say BS to all that you just said. Cleveland didn’t lose because Bron was bigger than the team (not even sure what that means) or dancing before games. They got beat by better teams and very difficult match ups (and yes, outcoached too). It had nothing to do with attitude and intangibles, let’s not pretend that Cleveland would have had a better chance if Mo or Bron would have sat more during the regular season. Benching stars is stupid and gets you nowhere – you work with them, you communicate, you coach. I’d prefer someone like Skiles who’ll let you know when you mess up but will never yank you if it hurts the team.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    We are going to have to agree to disagree.
    Mike Brown was not in charge of his team.
    Anytime that happens with a coach, you have failed. Phil Jackson, even with Michael Jordan, was in charge of his team.
    I am not convinced that it wasn’t LeBron who insisted on running the unimaginative offense that team ran because it made him “comfortable” and MIke BRown lacked the balls and cache to say “Nah homie, fall in line.” Hell, Brown was a defensive coach, but LeBron didn’t become a better defender until he watched Kobe in the worlds and decided it was time to make that move.
    You think that had no impact on the team, I think that the way that team played offense made the other players worse than they have to be. They weren’t that good in the first place, but the style of play made them less well-rounded.
    Skiles has benched players before to get their attention. He typically just doesn’t do it with his “stars” which I don’t like.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    The epitome of what allen is talking about is manus reaction to being pulled from the knicks game with over 3 mins left and down 11. Pop was angry at the defense the spurs played and sent a message. Manu was very pissed, message received.

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