No Derrick Rose, Rip Hamilton, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng in the lineup… No problem. With Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah playing and nursing an injury… somehow, somewhere, Coach Tom Thibodeau made it through the season and all the way to the second round of the playoffs.
Against the defending champions the Miami Heat in their second round matchup, Tom knew it would take more than a perfect game to steal game one from them. For years he studied Lebron James and knew his favorite moves and every play his team ran for him. It’s just a matter of disrupting the system, make Lebron work for his shots and used their quickness and length. Lebron usually prefer to hand out some assists before he starts scoring and that is the rhythm that Thibodeau started to break.
The Bulls power forward Taj Gibson said after their game one win “Every time they were (Miami Heat) on offense, it was exactly what Thibs showed us, we just followed the plan.”
Just after the buzzer ended on their seventh game battle against the Brooklyn Nets, Tom is already thinking of ways how to beat Miami. This was his standard operating procedure before every game – studying upcoming opponents, individual patterns and making adjustments. He commanded defense like Da Vinci meticulously painted Mona Lisa… This is his masterpiece.
He knows there won’t be too much offense to count on with his team. But everything is possible if you play good defense.
The Bulls were victorious in game one, but we all know this was only the first blood. Miami will be back, and they will do it with a vengeance. And Coach Thibs is ready for that.
Without a superstar on their roster, Tom Thibodeau never buckled nor doubted his team. He believes on giving everyone a chance to success. He had been on that road before… for almost twenty years hoping to get a head coaching job and nobody really gambled. Chicago believed in him, his system and his importance.
Jeff Van Gundy had a perfect description on Tom. “I asked him about individual defense, and he started breaking down the stance on the ball, where your hand position should be, how far you should retreat after a jab step,”
Miami may be the most talented and exciting roster in the NBA, but Chicago has Tom Thibodeau the fifty something coach who never rest.