Chicago Bulls: Why They Must Turn to a Pair of Former Pistons to Win Game 5

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIMay 8, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 04: Richard Hamilton #32 of the Chicago Bulls passes over Lavoy Allen #50 of the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on May 4, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Richard Hamilton has played very little in the fourth quarter. Mike James has yet to play this series. If Tom Thibodeau wants to win Game 5, both of those things need to change for the Chicago Bulls.

Both James and Hamilton were members of the 2004 NBA champion Detroit Pistons and could be the key to turning around this series. The Bulls trail the Philadelphia 76ers 3-1 in their Eastern Conference series and face elimination on Tuesday.

Hamilton has played less then seven minutes in the fourth quarter this series. He has sat the final quarter twice and only played 26 seconds in Game 4.

Take away Derrick Rose, and Hamilton is the best distributor on the team. His 4.3 assists lead the team. John Lucas and C.J. Watson are averaging only seven assists combined.

Hamilton has also proven he is the only Bulls player capable of getting to the free-throw line. His 5.3 free-throw attempts per game are by far the best on the team. Joakim Noah is second with 3.7 attempts per game.

Without Rose and Noah, wouldn't it make a lot of sense to lean on Hamilton?

It also would make a lot of sense for Thibodeau to call upon James to run the offense. When asked to play extended minutes during the regular season, he played fairly well.

In five games where he played double-digit minutes, he averaged 10 points and 5.4 assists. Compare that to the 18.6 points and seven assists the combo of Lucas and Watson are providing combined.

Also he is a better defender than both of them. Maybe he could slow down Jrue Holiday, who is averaging nearly 20 points per game this series.

The season is on the line and unless Thibodeau wants the season to end, he'd be smart to lean heavily on these former Pistons. 


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