Thibs sends out Bulls’ A-Team for final regular-season game
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org April 17, 2013 9:47PM
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17: Jan Vesely #24 of the Washington Wizards knocks the ball away from Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on April 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Updated: April 18, 2013 12:27AM
Coach Tom Thibodeau seemed to be on an island Wednesday, especially with some of the lineups other Eastern Conference teams used on the last night of the regular season.
While most of the playoff-bound teams rested their stars, or gave them limited minutes, it was business as usual for Thibodeau.
“I think there’s a certain obligation,’’ Thibodeau said of playing his best players if they’re not injured. “But I think you want to do what’s right, and some guys do need [rest], and that’s the right thing to do. I also think you have to respect the game. Maybe you’re not playing as many minutes as you normally would, but I do think if you can play, you should play.
“That’s one of the things that I respect about [Michael] Jordan. He always did that, whether it was preseason, the end of a season. He may not have played the same amount of minutes, but he played some. That’s important for the game, for the league. But some guys do need rest, and if a guy needs rest, then that’s what should be done also. There’s two sides to that, but you try to do what’s right.’’
Thibodeau opened up with his usual starters, then got some minutes for Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, who played their second game since returning from injuries.
Second-year swingman Jimmy Butler said he and his teammates didn’t care whom they drew in the first round of the playoffs because what happened in the regular season was meaningless.
“I feel like the playoffs are a totally different season,’’ Butler said. “You play the same team possibly seven times. It’s a totally different situation.
‘‘I feel like everything before that [is erased], and you’re going into it with momentum.’’
The only players unable to go in the finale were Vladimir Radmanovic and Derrick Rose.
Radmanovic (back) also was ruled out of the game Monday at Orlando. He’s expected back for the playoffs.