Author: Brett Pollakoff

Tom Thibodeau

Report: Bulls management ‘can’t wait to rid itself’ of head coach Tom Thibodeau


As the Bulls advance deeper and deeper into this postseason, the reportedly rocky relationship between head coach and Tom Thibodeau and management in the front office becomes more and more intriguing to watch.

There’s been persistent chatter that Thibodeau’s job is on the line, but it seems to have little to do with his actual performance.

The relationship has been described as being beyond repair, while people close to Thibodeau are convinced that he’ll be fired as soon as the season is finished. Now, after Chicago went into Cleveland and upended the Cavaliers to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semis, comes yet another report which seems to confirm that’s the case.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Amid the twisted culture of Chicago’s regime – where winning is losing, where success is failure – management can’t wait to rid itself of one Tom Thibodeau.

For everything Chicago management does to undermine the coach, this Bulls locker room has remained something rare in professional sports: unaffected and unrelenting. …

“In this league, it’s so easy to get sidetracked. There’s so much noise. Trades. Free agency. This. That. Whatever. To me, none of that is important. All that matters is what we think. Are we doing the right things every day? Are we putting the proper work in? Are we playing the right way? Practicing the right way? That’s how you play well in this league. All that other stuff is just noise, it doesn’t mean anything.”

Head coaches in the NBA are no different than any of us at our jobs, in that it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if you can’t get along with your boss. We saw Mark Jackson blown out as head coach in Golden State after guiding the Warriors to a 51-win regular season, and we saw the Nuggets part ways with George Karl after a successful 57-win 2013 season because he refused to do what the front office asked.

But what if the Bulls make it to the Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan won his last title some 17 years ago? Can management really still let Thibodeau go if that happens?

No one knows for sure. But what’s clear is that Thibodeau is one of the league’s best coaches, and should he indeed find himself looking for work this summer, he’ll certainly have plenty of options.

Kyrie Irving hits two tough reverse layups in Cavaliers’ Game 1 loss to Bulls (VIDEO)

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 30 points in his team’s Game 1 loss to the Bulls, but all of his buckets were earned not given, and very few came easily.

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These two were among his best of the night.

Jimmy Butler outduels LeBron James in Bulls’ Game 1 win over Cavaliers (VIDEO)

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One

LeBron James finished one assist shy of a triple-double in his team’s Game 1 loss to the Bulls, and posted a statistical line of 19 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and three steals.

But he shot just 9-of-22 from the field, committed six turnovers and (perhaps most egregiously) didn’t attempt to take over nearly enough offensively on a night where Cleveland was missing two legitimate threats from its starting lineup.

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Jimmy Butler did an outstanding job defensively on James, and was on him for 73 of 75 possessions where the two shared the floor. LeBron shot 7-of-18 with five turnovers when Butler was his primary defender, according to ESPN Stats + Info, and Butler also was able to score nine points in the final period to help close the Cavaliers out.

NBA legend Bill Russell narrates Under Armour’s Stephen Curry MVP spot (VIDEO)

Stephen Curry

There’s a quote that has been seen framed and affixed to the wall in more than one NBA locker room, and it describes perfectly the level of hard work and consistency that’s required to succeed in just about anything, but especially in professional sports.

The Stonecutter’s Credo, attributed to Jacob Riis, was first used by Gregg Popovich and the Spurs organization as a mantra to motivate the team’s players, and has since been adopted by others in Popovich’s coaching tree.

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Under Armour chose this to describe the work that Stephen Curry put in to achieve MVP status, and had 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell read the inspirational words in their MVP-tribute spot.

Doc Rivers on whether Chris Paul will play in Game 1 vs. Rockets: ‘If I had to guess, I would say no’

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul was amazing in leading his team to a last-second Game 7 victory over the defending champion Spurs, and his performance was especially impressive when seeing him dealing with a hamstring injury at the very same time.

After completing a series that was an absolute war, the Clippers must regroup less than 48 hours later for Game 1 of their second-round matchup with the Rockets. And they may have to do so with Paul sitting this one out.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Based on how Rivers also sounded, it will be surprising if Paul is available for Game 1 of the Clippers’ second-round series against the Houston Rockets on Monday night.

The well-rested Rockets and the Clippers split their four-game season series. Paul averaged 16.8 points, 9.5 assists and 3.3 assists in 36.3 minutes per game in four contests against the Rockets this season. The Rockets are without injured starting point guard Pat Beverley. And if Paul is out, the Clippers will have to turn to reserve Austin Rivers and seldom-used reserve Lester Hudson.

“Chris may play or may not play the first game, but the game is Monday … my guess right now if I had to guess, I would say no,” Rivers said.

It would be a shame to see the Clippers fall behind against the Rockets early in the series simply due to not being at full strength. But this is why the postseason is such a grind, and why the team left standing at the end has truly earned the right to be called champions.