The Chicago Bulls point guard catastrophe continued in Sunday’s game 4 104-95 loss. In the wake of Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Willams unable to make an impact, Fred Hoiberg resorted to Isaiah Canaan, who made his first playoff appearance of his career, to try and give the Bulls a boost at the position.
The Bulls have been unable to replace the reproduction and presence of injured guard Rajon Rondo. And guess what, it’s impossible to. His ability to find the open man and leadership on the floor cannot be duplicated.
Canaan finished as the only Bull with a positive +/- on Sunday at +11. In 34 minutes off the bench, Canaan had 13 points on 4-10 shooting, 3/7 from beyond the arc to go along with three assists, two steals and zero turnovers. An overall solid game, especially for making his first appearance in the playoffs. Also, Canaan picked up Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas full-court, pressuring the skilled guard.
Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg obviously liked what he saw in game 4, naming Canaan the starting point guard for game 5 in Boston on Wednesday.
This is not that surprising. Both Grant and Carter Williams played under ten minutes in game 4. They have failed to make an impact and too many mistakes put them on a short leash with Hoiberg.
It is still unclear why Canaan was removed from the rotation back in December. The former 76ers got significant minutes off the bench in October and November, averaging 7.6 points during that span. His ability to shoot the outside shot was a spark off the bench. But come December 21st, Canaan would be either a DNP-CD or play in garbage time to finish out the season.
And now you are telling me he is the Bulls starting point guard for a playoff game. Strange is only one word to explain it.
You may be asking yourself, is there another option? Yes there is, but Hoiberg is not going to go that route. 2016 lottery pick Denzel Valentine could play some point guard but Hoiberg said on Monday that Valentine has fallen out of the rotation due to his “defense and wanting to go a shorter rotation.” Makes sense. Valentine’s defense was nothing notable during the regular season. At times it was not good at all. Another option would be Cameron Payne but Hoiberg will not play the second year player out of Murray State.
Game 5, with the series tied at 2, will be in Boston on Wednesday.