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Make the Pistons look old too

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As we all saw in the series against the Heat, the Bulls can out-run an older team, both in transition and through ball-movement in the half-court. The Pistons aren't nearly as decrepit as the Heat, but the Bulls still have that advantage in this series. And while the Bulls can't make the Pistons any older, they can get younger, and that means more Tyrus Thomas, who's had some of his best games against the Pistons.

Time for Skiles-a-plenty:

Frankly, Tyrus has to be more reliable. It's that simple. I know everybody wants to see him go out and dunk the ball and block a shot. But we have a team game, and every person is predicated on what the other people are doing, much like Detroit. We have to know that everybody we put on the floor knows exactly what we're supposed to be doing, exactly where they're supposed to be and exactly what's going on. That's the long answer. The short answer is: Yes, I can see him being more of a factor in this series, and we have this period of time to get him ready for that...He's been pretty good around the rim against them. They've got a lot of length, a great shot-blocking team, and he's been able to slide behind them on occasion. He's caught some lob-and-dunks. He's been able to operate a little against them, and against some other teams he hasn't. They know that, too, at this point. It's been a team he's been OK against.

Well excuse me for blindly liking the guy who blocks and dunks. You can take that 'know where everybody is' stuff, I want the Pistons to get a front row seat to Tyrus Thomas Teabaggin' Theater! (this is why I'm not a coach)

Sam Smith saw something I didn't during the Heat series, but he had a press pass, no fair:

It seemed obvious in Game 3 that he was scared to death. Every time he touched the ball he couldn't get rid of it fast enough. He is a kid, after all, and I think the atmosphere and pressure was way too much for him. I thought Skiles handled it beautifully. He didn't say much, but didn't put him back in so as not to embarrass him. Sefolosha could play because he's played pro ball before in Europe. I don't expect to see Thomas much on the road in the playoffs, but he feeds off the crowd and I think he'll play in the home playoff games and more against Detroit because their big guys are slow and he can sneak in behind the zone on them and dunk.

Well that's two mentions of Tyrus' ability to get behind the Pistons' defense, but another way Thomas can help is through offensive rebounding, a weak link in the Pistons defense (25th in the league). Beyond that, it's also the idea of putting pressure on the Detroit frontcourt. When guys can't handle Tyrus athletically (and besides what may have happened in the Heat series, Tyrus isn't afraid to try and create a shot) he does draw fouls, and can generally create havoc on both ends.

I was advocating Tyrus over Noc before the Heat series too, but I can see why Skiles didn't play him much in the Heat series:  because he didn't have to. When Thomas came out there and didn't perform Skiles could go back to Nocioni as the backup big and know that he still had the overall advantage in athleticism and speed. But that's because of just how slow and old the Heat were.

I believe against the Pistons, Tyrus Thomas won't be as much of a luxury as a need. The Pistons are much taller in their frontcourt rotation and especially considering that Noc may be hobbled, Skiles should be more ready to take on the risk of playing Tyrus to exacerbate their team strengths. I don't think the Bulls can out-grit the Pistons, that's playing into their style. Against Webber and Wallace (and McDyess, Dale Davis, and the actual athlete of the group Jason Maxiell) the Bulls can counteract by having a guy who can jump over their heads, while hoping he figures out the rest along the way.