The Chicago Bulls fell to the Boston Celtics Wednesday night 108-97 in Game 5.
Hoiberg, of course, accused Thomas of palming the ball on basically every possession after the Celtics beat the Bulls 104-95 in Game 4.
Was Avery Bradley more impressive on offense, or on defense? "He hurt us offensively tonight more than anything".
Isaiah Thomas also scored 24 for the Celtics, the top seed in the East. A Bulls victory would force the series back to Boston for a decisive Game 7 on Sunday.
After his comments basically calling Marcus Smart soft, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler got a few extra boos from the crowd during his pregame introduction as well as whenever he touched the ball in the first quarter. You're not going to stop those guys, but you just try to make it as hard as possible for them to get going.
We're still waiting on a complete, four-quarter game from Big Al. The Celtics have been inspired to play for Thomas, who is admittedly emotionally exhausted, and I suspect this will only intensify his teammates' desire to win for him.
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Butler, who shot 23 free throws in Game 4 and made 19, was 0 for 1 on Wednesday.
The All-Star forward tallied 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field, and only had one free throw attempt (which he missed) during the entire game. "That was my goal this game, and I feel like I did it", Bradley said. The Bulls are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 Friday games, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up loss and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss. In other words, when the Celtics limit him on the offensive end, the Bulls do not fare well. The key for the Boston Celtics is to match it.
The game was relatively choppy for the Celtics in the first half with missed shot after missed shot. The two biggest reasons have been the broken right thumb of the Bulls' Rajon Rondo suffered in Game 2 and the decision by Boston coach Brad Stevens to go smaller since then by sitting starter Amir Johnson in favor of energetic scorer Gerald Green. We're talking about a point guard who has a thumb injury on his shooting hand. Boston did an outsanding job of spreading the scoring effort, as six players logged eight or more points.
"You know, we've got to find a way to do the things that gave us success", Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Thomas took exception with the suggestion, saying it was the way he'd dribbled his entire career and was no different than the style of other All-Stars such as LeBron James and Rondo.
"No", he said, before walking out.