The Boston Celtics have evened their series with Chicago Bulls, and more than that seem to have been able to take the Bulls best punch and now are responding.
At the heart of that is Boston All-Star Isaiah Thomas, who had 33 points on Sunday. He was attacking and getting into the heart of the Bulls defense all night, telling Michael Carter-Williams “you can’t guard me” so many times Thomas got a technical. Thing is, Thomas was right. No Bull has been able to guard Thomas the past two games.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said the reason for that is the officials let him get away with a palming the ball when dribbling. Via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com (video above).
“Let me say this: Isaiah Thomas is a hell of a player, an unbelievable competitor, a warrior, everything he’s going through right now. He had a hell of a game tonight,” Hoiberg said. “When you’re allowed to discontinue your dribble on every possession, he’s impossible to guard. Impossible to guard. When you’re able to put your hand underneath the ball, take two or three steps and put it back down. It’s impossible to guard him in those situations.”
I liked the follow-up comment from the reporter (not on the video), which was essentially “the league doesn’t call that on anyone, so that’s your complaint?” Thomas doesn’t get away with palming any more than any other ball handler in the league. If you want to define the rule by a 1950s standard then yes, he does carry, but so does pretty much every Bulls’ ball handler. So does 3/4 of the league by that measure.
Fortunately, Hoiberg never had to coach against Allen Iverson or he might have completely lost it watching him dribble.
This came off as a desperation ploy by Hoiberg. Or it was the worst attempt ever at a “take that for data” rant ever.
Thomas, for his part, basically shrugged when told about it.
When told about Hoiberg’s comments, Thomas said, “That’s not the reason. It is what it is. I guess (Hoiberg) is just going to continue to say it. I’ve been dribbling that way my whole life, I don’t know what to say to that.”