I just called Thibodeau stubborn for overplaying Noah, Butler and Augustin. Felt he was ignoring the obvious. That he wasn't going to change. One of the most heartening aspects of this win was that I was wrong. Thibodeau did mix it up in small, but important ways.
He was helped by Mike Dunleavy playing an extraordinary game. He was shooting like an NBA Jam player. I watched the game in China and every time he got the game the announcers said，"再来了" which means (he) comes again. (Chinese announcers are like listen to 2 fans of basketball who don't care about either team particularly. Fun stuff) Anyway, in the old Thibodeau rotation, Dunleavy doesn't come out in the second half, certainly not in the 4th quarter (see Augustin in game 2). In this case Dunleavy got some rest in the middle of the 4th quarter. Did it matter? Hard to say.
It's not hard to see that resting Bulter for the first 3 minutes of the fourth played dividends. Butler in the played with more energy and aggression (although that probably also inspired by mixing it up with Nene). Butler hasn't been willing to even shoot in the fourth, much less hit two threes. So seeing Snell receive some fourth quarter run was a relief, even it was just a few minutes.
It's a bit crazy to be excited that Noah and Butler played only 41 minutes, isn't it?
Thibodeau also made situational substitutions. I thought he believed those were unmanly or something. Like it was beneath him to but in Boozer for extra offense or remove Augustin to improve the defense.
The other key stuff probably won't happen in game 4. I doubt that Dunleavy hits 80% of his threes although that probably depends on how hard a bargain he drove with the devil. Nene won't shoot 33% or get thrown out of anymore games. But other than Dunleavy or perhaps Boozer, no one else played particularly well. Washington killed it on the offensive boards (grabbing 37%) and that usually doesn't happen to the Bulls. Augustin struggled and the team missed a lot of free throws. So there is a lot to hope for in game 4, especially since Thibodeau has shown the flexibility necessary to win the end of the game.