For once I just wanted him to speak the truth. Speak to what was really going on in his mind, speak to how he was really feeling in that moment. But to ask Tom Thibodeau -- or any coach not named Rex Ryan -- to do that, especially after having their season end would be like asking someone to make a hybrid car look like something you'd want to drive or be seen in.
Thibs, being the class act that he's always been, after the Bulls loss to the Sixers said all of the right things. PC to a fault. What I wanted him to say and what I wished he'd have said? Totally different than what came out of his mouth.
My wish is that he'd have said this:
"First off, we should be playing a Game 7. It's just that simple. You all know it, you all saw it. There's no way in hell I should be sitting up here talking to you about the end of our season tonight, we should be talking about what my game plan is for Saturday. Instead, here we are.
"Bottom-line, Philadelphia should have never gotten the ball back after Omer (Asik) missed those free throws. That foul was either an intentional or a flagrant. The guy wrapped both of his arms around Omer's neck. In every other NBA game, that's a call the ref has no choice but to make. It's in the rule book. It's an automatic call. Two free throws and possession. Game over. You all saw it! Anyway ... I'm not going to say anything further about it because I don't feel like getting fined, and I don't want to get a phone call from Stern's office telling me I'm right, but I should not have said anything about it. This is the NBA, I've been around this League long enough to know that I shouldn't expect anything different.
"As far as the game goes, I heard someone ask me about the sequences that lead to the loss. Well, for one, everyone of the players on the floor did something wrong. Starting with no one picking up Iguodala after that rebound and stopping him from going unchecked the length of the court. We are the best defensive team in the NBA, and when the series was on the line no one decided to play defense. That disgusted me. On top of that, I'm still trying to figure out why Asik tried to block a shot while running backwards? He should have just challenged the shot by putting his hands up, making it difficult for Iguodala to make the shot. "Hands up straight!" We do that everyday in practice. Why he decided then to do different, I don't know.
"And C.J.? I wanted to look at him and just say, "Really?" He decided to make a first-quarter play in the last 30 seconds of the game? I tell them all of the time, 'In this game you cannot play the first quarter the same as you do in the fourth quarter.' In the fourth quarter you have to play smarter, your decisions have to be sharper. They have a greater impact on the game because there is less room for recovery. You are the best free throw shooter on the team, keep the ball in your hands until they foul you. Very simple. Him passing Omer the ball in that situation is a Basketball 101 no-no. Something all point guards learn in sixth grade. But he decides at that minute to forget that. Ugh. I can't even talk anymore about it.
"Yes, Nick? Why did I sit Carlos (Boozer) for the entire fourth quarter? If you look at his numbers, what was he 1 for 11 from the field? What did he have, three points? We're trying to win a series with two-thirds of our starting lineup out and our second-best player playing at 50 percent. I needed players who are getting paid to step up -- to step up.
"Look, as daunting as this task became once Derrick (Rose) and Jo (Noah) went down, we didn't need players to step in, we needed players to step up. And truthfully a lot of our players didn't that. C.J. looked like he didn't want to be here throughout the whole series, Carlos did the same thing in this series that he did in most of the playoffs last year... Look, I'm not going to get into naming names, but you all know. You all know .
I'd like to thank all of you for sticking around after this loss to hear me out. I know you all are on tight deadlines and want to get into the locker rooms and get your quotes from the players. When you see them, tell them I said ... just tell them what you'd think you'd tell them if you were me right now."
We all know that would never happen. But deep down, don't you kind of wish just once that it would?