With the Chicago Bulls dropping another home game to the Washington Wizards in Game 2, a lot of changes and adjustments have to be made before Game 3. And the adjustments will have to start with Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Thibodeau has a stubborn need to keep his rotation and substitutions the same despite the game situation, and as a result, it has hurt the Bulls in both losses to the Wizards. Carlos Boozer‘s playing time is still deadlocked around 24 minutes per game, Tony Snell is playing terrific defense but is not seeing much action, and Jimmer Fredette has yet to play a second in the postseason.
When the Wizards were making a run late in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Boozer’s low post presence could have made a difference as the Bulls were going through a scoring drought. Instead, Thibodeau kept Taj Gibson in the game despite playing much of the second half. Gibson’s tired legs were evident late in the fourth quarter, and yet no substitution was made to rest him throughout the quarter and in overtime.
Another move Thibodeau should have made was to get minutes for Fredette. Although starting point guard Kirk Hinrich had 12 points and four assists, he had a horrible game on both ends of the court. The Bulls were also -13 points when Hinrich was on the court.
Getting more minutes for young players Snell and Fredette would benefit the Bulls tremendously. Snell, a solid defender with a smooth outside stroke, could be a bigger impact off the bench if he had consistent minutes. The same could be said for Fredette, who has only been used sparingly since coming over from the Sacramento Kings. However, by giving Snell and Fredette more minutes, it would also give Hinrich and Jimmy Butler fresher legs late in games and allow the duo to be better equipped to guard the likes of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
All of these adjustments should be made by Game 3. If not, the Bulls could be in an even bigger hole, and face a possible four-game sweep at the hands of the Wizards.