There was some media speculation after the Bulls' ugly loss to the Rockets on Wednesday that coach Tom Thibodeau would make some changes to the starting lineup. But it looks like for now, that idea was just the media trying to make a story out of nothing:
So that means the starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich/Richard Hamilton/Luol Deng/Carlos Boozer/Joakim Noah will be starting on Saturday against the Bucks. And as I said yesterday, that's not exactly the worst thing in the world. That unit has actually played quite well together, despite the fact that three of those five guys have endured repeated struggles this season.
The Bulls' issue has been closing games, and Thibodeau has tried a variety of lineups in those situations, with many of them failing miserably. The last attempt against the Rockets was Nate Robinson/Jimmy Butler/Deng/Taj Gibson/Noah, and while that worked early in the fourth quarter, things fell apart in the last few minutes.
Considering the fact that the starting lineup has played decently well together, it might be worth a shot simply playing them the next time a game is close down the stretch. I know Hinrich stinks while Hamilton and Boozer can't play defense, but it's not like the other lineups have been all that successful. Maybe swap out Hinrich for Robinson and roll with Robinson/Hamilton/Deng/Boozer/Noah. Whatever the case, the Bulls' record won't be pretty unless they find a fourth quarter unit that can consistently close out games until Derrick Rose comes back.