With the season on the line tonight, it is time for the Bulls to do something different. Tom Thibodeau should really consider using Richard Hamilton more if he wants to win game 5. Hamilton has played very little in the fourth quarter during the series. In fact he has played less than seven minutes in the fourth quarter throughout the whole series. Coach Thibodeau has sat Hamilton the final quarter twice and he only played 26 seconds in Game 4.
With Derrick Rose out for the playoffs, Hamilton has established himself as the best distributor on the team with an average of 4.3 assists per game. C.J. Watson and John Lucas are only averaging seven assists combined. Not only does Hamilton lead the team in assists but he has also shown us that he is the only Bulls player who has been able to get to the free throw line. He has a team’s best 5.3 free throw attempts per game. The second best is Joakim Noah with a 3.7 free throw attempts per game. As we all know we can’t count on Noah because he is going to sit this game due to his ankle injury which he received earlier in the series.
Thibodeau should also keep in mind that that the combo of Lucas and Watson are allowing Jrue Holiday nearly 20 points per game this series. Clearly this combo isn’t doing enough defensively to stop him or at least slow him down. It might be a good idea to call up Mike James to run the offense. When James played double digit minutes, he was able to have 5.4 assists and averaged 10 points per game. This is compared to the seven assists and 18.6 points put together by the Lucas and Watson combo.
Richard Hamilton and James are able to bring to the table is the championship experience. Both players where members of the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons. This is a perfect time for Hamilton to step up and establish himself as a leader for the team. With the Bulls facing elimination tonight I believe that Thibodeau should consider leaning more on Hamilton tonight.