Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas lit up the Bulls, going for 33 points and appeared unstoppable at times.
Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is livid today, in part due to the loss, but also because he believes that Thomas has been carrying the ball at various points during the series and the officials have allowed it.
“Let me say this, Isaiah Thomas is a hell of a player,” Hoiberg said (h/t ESPN).
“An unbelievable competitor — he’s a warrior, everything he’s going through right now. He had a hell of a game tonight. But when you’re allowed to discontinue your dribble on every possession, he is impossible to guard. He’s impossible to guard when you’re able to put your hand underneath the ball and take two or three steps and put it back down. It’s impossible to guard him in those situations.”
Hoiberg stated that he has brought his concerns to the officials on numerous occasions and that he was told that the officials would make a call if they see a carry.
Hoiberg was asked when a carry is called in the NBA.
“That’s a great question,” Hoiberg said. “They talk about it every year. They talk about it every year, being a point of emphasis. It should be called. I’ve said all I’m going to say about it. I’m not going to talk about it anymore.”
Hoiberg’s players declined to get involved with his take.
“Isaiah’s a terrific basketball player,” Bulls Jimmy Butler said. “So I wasn’t paying attention to whether he was carrying the ball or not. It’s not my job to watch that.”
“I’m not getting into the officiating,” Chicago guard Dwyane Wade said.
Wade went on to commend Hoiberg for standing up for his team.
“It’s great,” Wade said.
“All players want coaches to have their back. Whenever Coach does that, it makes guys want to do a little bit more for him. Want to give him a little bit more. So it’s always great when you feel that your coach has your back.”
While Butler didn’t get into the Thomas debate he did talk about his incident with Boston guard Marcus Smart during the game that saw the two players having to be separated.
“As far as the Marcus Smart situation goes, he’s a great actor,” Butler said.
“Acting tough. That’s what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that. I’m the wrong guy to get in my face. [Smart] needs to take it somewhere else, because I’m not the one for that.”
“First time,” Butler stated.
“Last time, too. We’re not going to sit there and get in each other’s faces like that. He’s not about that life, so he needs to calm it down.”