TT. TT. TT. TT. TT. I love it. You got rid of the stubbornness, and played your 5 that were playing the best at the end, regardless of regular rotations. If there wasn't so much credit to go around right now, I'd give you 100%.
TT- 50% (Honorary 100)
I've probably been a bigger TT critic this season than anyone I know. (See here. And here.) I love the intensity he's brought, the way he's gotten his team to buy into his scheme, the fact that he knows the Xs and Os better than anyone (although after VDN, anyone would have been an improvement there,) but I just couldn't stand the way the rotation was set in fucking stone. Bogans played in even number quarters approximately 5 times this year. Taj could go out and have a beastly night, and be back to 18 minutes the next night. It was driving me crazy.
Tonight he showed some flexibility, and it won them the game. It's quite possible that Derrick does his thing in the 4th even with Boozer, Noah, and Korver on the floor, but it would have been significantly harder. Instead TT put his 3 best energy guys/shot blockers (yes, I'm counting Turkish D as an energy guy, just for his work on the offensive glass) and they disrupted everything the Hawks tried to do on offense for the last 8 minutes, and instead of Derrick having to get his points in tough halfcourt sets with the Hawks collapsing on everything, he could get out and run in transition. Mad credit to TT for trusting those 3 to get the job done.
Of course, that could have backfired completely if Derrick wasn't putting the ball in the basket as well. He stayed aggressive, mixed up the runners with the pull-up Js, and had his best game in awhile in terms of not turning the ball over. I'd really like it though, Thursday, if Derrick didn't have to be the entire offense for stretches of time.
Probably could have been way more for all three, but I gave TT so much of the credit above, just deflect some of that down to these guys. Seriously, all those stops and run-outs don't happen if there's a weak defensive link (coughboozerandkorvercough) on the floor for the Hawks to exploit. The closest they had was Teague on Derrick, and Taj and Turkish could make up for that. And the way Ronnie disrupted Joe Johnson was amazing.
Possibly premature side-note (knocking on wood) IF the Bulls get past the Hawks in this round, TBN is going to be huge in the next round for his ability to guard Wade. I remember giving Ronnie a ton of credit in games against the Heat earlier, and they're going to need him again. I hope TT keeps this momentum going and makes sure Ronnie gets the minutes on Thursday, too.
Great D, aggressive offensive, not too many flat jumpers. Deng looks a lot like the Deng that Kobe didn't want to lose in a trade back in 07. If Ronnie is going to be important in a (hypothetical) Eastern Conference Finals with the Heat, Deng will be 10x more important, since he'll have to guard LeBron while still contributing on offense. Now I know why TT has been playing him 44 minutes a game all year.
Big Shot Bogans- 5%
Again, could be more. I almost want to do the thing I did in Game 1 of the Pacers series and give some other guys negatives so I have more to go around. I like Bogans involved in the offense. It's simple, when Bogans is hitting, there's more room for the big men to work around the basket and Derrick to drive. Even if Bogans isn't having a great shooting night, it's still worth finding him for 3-4 shots a game. And if he is hitting, I'm fine with him playing in even quarters.
Joakim- What the hell was that? Maybe Judson was right: the lower the hair is tied, the worse Joakim plays. He couldn't have played much worse tonight, 0 points, poor defense on Horford, and a few head-in-the-cloud defensive rotations, which is very uncharacteristic.
Fredo- I said it in one of the liveblogs, but I'll say it again. There might not be a place for Korver in this series. All the Hawks guards are quick and effective scorers, and having Korver in there for them to exploit gives the Hawks a giant offensive advantage. Bogans or Ronnie should be in the game at all times. Fredo will be important again in the hypothetical ECF, where he could guard Jones or Miller (Assuming Miller isn't picking up DNP-CDs by then.)
Boozer- I'm done with Boozer. He is actively hurting the Bulls right now. I think we win Game 6 easily if Taj was to play 30 minutes and Kurt Thomas came in to spell him. White Mamba can be the emergency big. There's literally nothing Boozer helps us do right now. And don't try to point to his rebounds, fully half of the rebounds Boozer gets at this point are ripped out of teammates' hands. Hopefully this game is a harbinger of things to come, though.
Alright, let's do it again in Atlanta, and not have to worry about a Game 7.