Bulls-Celtics: Bad Decisions Lead to Bad Breaks and a Game Five Loss

Eli FuchsContributor IApril 29, 2009

BOSTON - APRIL 28:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls tries to take a shot around Glen Davis #11 and Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on April 28, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Bulls 106-104 in overtime. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)

It's hard to criticize the decisions made by a coach whose team is not supposed to win. 

And yes, I am very aware that hindsight is always 20/20.

So you can call me crazy, but I struggled to understand just about every call made by Vinny Del Negro and his brain trust of unsuccessful assistants in last night's Bulls-Celtics Game Five.

Which choices in particular bothered me, you ask?  Well, here we go:

1) Paul Pierce, once he decides to stop flopping, is an assassin.

On the plays of each of his five consecutive makes towards the end of the game, Chicago's John Salmons could be found an extra step off of Pierce, respecting his speed to some extent. But after three consecutive makes and Ray Allen out of the game, why stick with Salmons?

Kirk Hinrich has proved to be the Paul Pierce stopper; plus, he's faster than Pierce, so he's able to get right up into Pierce's personal space and disrupt the shot.

2) I respect Ben Gordon and some of the circus shots he took, but his line was 6-of-21, and that does not amount to a good shooting percentage. With nine seconds left and the ball at half court, why does Gordon get the inbounds pass, dribble for five of the remaining ticks, and then settle for a fall away 20-footer over a much taller defender?

Why would D. Rose not drive the lane, force the issue and be responsible for kicking it out to an open teammate?

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3) This one is a stretch, but the rule of thumb in basketball is, at the end of the game, you play to win on the road and to tie at home.

Down by two with five seconds or so to go, I would want Brad Miller to take a step back and shoot a wide open three-pointer. Miller dribbling is just bad news for all Bulls fans.

4) A professional player cannot expect to just get calls gifted to him, but Brad Miller made less contact and was called for a technical in Game Four after shoving Big Baby Davis.

So how (how?) can a play on which Rajon Rondo misses the ball by two feet and flat-out punches Miller in the mouth (necessitating stitches) not equate something more than a personal foul?

Intent or not, that was a flagrant. This one is on the refs.

4a) The NBA needs to re-evaluate the rule on substitute free-throw shooters. Anyone who tells me that three feet of gauze in your mouth doesn't affect your shot on free-throw attempts is a Celtics fan right now.

To my understanding, if Miller could not shoot those free throws, Doc Rivers would then get to choose the replacement for the injured player. How is that fair?

Can these refs not differentiate between floppers and actually players who needs stitches? No doubt Doc Rivers would have chosen Joakim Noah to shoot those free throws, and the Celtics would have been rewarded for roughing up Miller.

I'll say, though, that aside from those sour spots, it was a great game to watch. 

Side notes:

Thank you, Paul Pierce, for acting and reacting like a true champion after making five consecutive big shots.

All of you saw that after every shot, Paul Pierce turned around and found his man on defense. At no point did he curse, throw up gang signs, or tell people to "get off their f***ing court."

Maybe Paul read my last article? He's got great taste!


Joakim Noah, thank you for playing well beyond your years and trying to tell John Salmons that getting a technical foul will not alleviate a missed call. It is a shame when you have to look to your youngsters for maturity.

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