Thibodeau's 'finishing group' keeps finding ways to win

Thibodeau's 'finishing group' keeps finding ways to win
March 30, 2014, 11:15 pm
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Alex Ruppenthal

BOSTON — The Celtics were draining 3-pointer after 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter Sunday, keeping the Bulls from closing out the game and raising Boston fans out of their seats.

It felt like the Bulls might drop the game — a not-uncommon loss for a road team that leads most of a game but crumbles at the end when the home side catches fire.

But with what coach Tom Thibodeau calls his “finishing group” on the floor, the Bulls were able to work around the Celtics’ surge for a 107-102 win Sunday night.

“That’s the one thing about the finishing group — they play very well together,” Thibodeau said. “When people get into trouble, they lead them to their strengths, and that’s what you have to do to be successful. I think they bring the best out in each other."

[MORE: D.J. Augustin hits game-winner, drops 33 as Bulls top Celtics]

The group — D.J. Augustin, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah — gives the Bulls two ball-handlers (Augustin and Hinrich) in addition to Noah’s play-making ability.

“We can run the defense through D.J. or run it through Kirk,” Thibodeau said. “And we can put D.J. in different situations, and then Jimmy is the wild card. Jimmy does everything. You don’t want to take Jimmy off the floor.”

As the one player who can consistently create shots for himself, Augustin serves as the group’s primary scoring option. On Sunday, despite Boston’s flurry of 3’s, Augustin’s shooting helped the Bulls win despite being out-rebounded by eight and losing a handful of loose balls that led to easy Celtics’ baskets.

“He always writes it on the board before the game,” Augustin said of Thibodeau, "'Find a way.'"