Butler, Robinson lead the Bulls back, Noah saves the day, and Belinelli finishes them off

Jimmy Butler started the game 0-7 in the first half but came roaring back in the second half knocking down six of his seven shots while Nate Robinson energized the Bulls with his offense scoring nine straight points in just over a minute to bring the Bulls back. Then with the game on the line, Joakim Noah made the save of the day to Marco Belinelli for the game winner.

The Chicago Bulls limped through a first half where the offense couldn't get rolling falling down by nine. The Pistons started the third period with a bang, scoring the first eight points growing their lead to 17. From that point forward, it was all Bulls. The passing improved, the jump shots started falling, the Pistons became rattled, and the Bulls defense suffocated them, particularly on the inside where the Pistons had hurt the Bulls in the first half.

Jimmy Butler played the best half of his career

This may have been Butler's best game overall, which is ironic because he was abysmal on offense in the first half. However, in the second half Butler's offense helped bring the Bulls back. He never lost confidence. He never stopped shooting his shot, and they all fell for him.

His confidence was soaring so high that with two minutes left, he drilled a three with no hesitation and the defense closing out hard on him and even added a nice strut after knocking it down. The shot put the Bulls up two and set the tone for the end game.

On defense, Butler was so good that you rooted for the Pistons to try to go into Tayshaun Prince. He deflected passes constantly, some leading to fast breaks, and at least two or three more that almost did but went out of bounds just on the edge of him saving the ball. His man defense was incredible, his instincts were incredible, overall, just an amazing close out for Jimmy.

Sometimes you need Hinrich, sometimes you need Nate

Last night, the Bulls needed Nate.

Hinrich's done a nice job managing games, getting people involved, playing defense, and playing his role as floor general. Nate Robinson, on a good day, can flat out score. Yesterday was a good day for Nate Robinson.

The Bulls had trimmed down the Pistons lead to 10 when Nate Robinson went off. He knocked down a couple ill advised mid range jumpers that only felt like good shots after they swished through the basket and then knocked down the heat check three. In one minute, Nate Robinson brought a 10 point lead down to one, seizing control of the momentum.

No worries about Joakim's effort tonight

If the Bulls benched Noah for a lack of hustle two games ago, the message came through loud and clear. Rather than pouting, Noah has redoubled his efforts and played consecutive high energy games outworking his opponents. Joakim dominated the glass in this game and down the stretch had two crucial offensive rebounds to help close out the game.

The first with just over a minute to go was a tap out, and the Bulls, nursing a two point lead were able to run 20 more seconds off game clock. They failed to score, but they took away one more possession for Detroit to attempt to score. Then with 10 seconds left in the game and the shot clock running down, Marco Belinelli hoisted a three that fell well short.

The ball started sailing way out of bounds and no one chased after it. Joakim Noah went Dennis Rodman on the Pistons diving into the stands to save the ball. His save barely cleared the baseline (and maybe barely it didn't) to Marco Belinelli who just dove straight to the hoop for the and 1 layup as the Pistons largely stood around listlessly thinking the play was over.

The Bulls mobbed Belinelli as Noah lay in a tangle of reporters and gave a humorous "what the hell guys, don't I get even enough love for making that save for someone to come help me up" gesture. The Pistons, now down by three with 7.5 seconds left in the game actually generated two high quality looks at three point shots, but missed them both.

It wasn't pretty but it got done

You can never feel too good about a game where you let the Pistons get a 17 point lead, but at the same time, you have to admire the mental toughness of the team for coming back from 17 down to win. Chicago's now beaten the Pistons 17 times in a row [crazy isn't it?], and improved their record to 25-16 giving them their highest winning percentage of the year thus far.

The Bulls, at this moment, are on pace to win exactly 50 games, a remarkable accomplishment given the team turnover and the lack of Derrick Rose. The Bulls play has been so good that there will be no pressure on Rose at all to come in and play savior when he returns. Chicago wasn't going to rush Rose back regardless of the record, but beyond that when he comes back Derrick won't need to put pressure on himself to be the man and can just let the game come to him as his teammates have proven themselves on their own.

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  • Speaking of Rose coming back, This game seems like the logical point to bring him back. Tue Feb 26 vs Cleveland United Center, Chicago, IL. It's after the All star break. The first game after the all star break is Miami. A lot of the times, stars come back at home. The next two games are in charlotte and OKC. My money is on the cav's home game. Also, it has the added benefit( at least in the minds of the organization) of letting rose rest a little while longer.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    The first game after the All Star break is New Orleans, on the road. I think he'll be back then as that's a full 4 weeks of full contact practice leading up til then, and there will be less pressure on the road.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think they bring him back immediately after the all-star break as well. It's enough time. Also bringing him back against New Orleans should be relatively low pressure due to the quality of the team as well as the location.

  • Who would have thunk that the Bulls would have a harder time with the Psitons than the Lakers? Strange days indeed.

  • In reply to takdan:

    I can't get enough of bad Laker basketball.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Love that Ron World Peace predicted 70 wins before the season ... they're going to be lucky to get to 35. :)

  • In reply to takdan:

    Prior to the season, no one. Prior to the games, I did. The Lakers are a bad team.

  • In reply to John Lash:

    Very fair way to look at it. I still have a hard time reconciling how awful the Lakers are in my head.

  • can't believe some of you were upset about ronnie brewer, I always preferred Jimmy Butler because of his athleticism which I still think the Bulls need more of. He just has more potential and his jumpshot is slowly coming around(his offensive rebounding ability is pretty awesome). What killed us is losing Asik and Korver(interior Defense and 3pt shooting). Butler is good but no way can he replace Deng, he just doesn't have the length but might be a nice 6th man or role playing shooting guard if he can continue to work on his shot, especially that corner 3ball which he's made a few. Eat your heart out Daryl Morey and keep watching those Bulls games but this time Butler is ours for a few more years.

    I had this team with 45 wins and they are headed for 50 wins, that is remarkable for a team losing Rose, Asik, 3pt shooting. We all seen this team not be as dominant on the boards and the outside shooting inconsistent but they find ways to win games.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    The great thing about Butler is that he has a little more size to go with his athleticism, and I think he's more aggressive offensively.

    I think prior to the season it was a wild card what Butler could bring to the table offensively, but he's been at least as solid as Brewer on that end and has overall been better.

    When the Bulls need to matchup against LeBron, I like having Butler's size more than Brewers.

  • Such a well-coached team. Can Thibs find another level for the playoffs?

    For all the talk that the Bulls "lucked" into Rose, they needed luck because they played too well to get a pick that high.

  • If Rose does come back, start him off the bench so he can get back into the game......would also make our offensive even stronger against opposing second squad.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    It will be interesting to see if they start and just play him 15 minutes or so or bring him off the bench for 15 minutes or so. Either way, I'm betting his playing time is around 15 minutes his first couple games.

  • Does anyone think Jimmy Butler could be the next Gerald Wallace? They are both freak athletes, they both can jump of the gym, and they both don't have great shots, decent shots but not great.

  • In reply to zvodicka:

    I don't think Butler is an athletic freak in the way Gerald Wallace was, but he's definitely athletic. It really does come down to how much Butler can improve on his offense. It's awfully hard to take the next steps up from where he is for most guys.

  • an even more remarkable aspect of the play that Noah made on the game winning shot, is that as Belliini was getting ready to put up the corner 3 that Noah would eventually rebound out of bounds, Noah was actually on the floor near the free throw line after getting tangled up with/tackled by a Piston. That was some serious heart, hustle and muscle.

  • Noah AND Deng on the all-star team? Wow, did not expect that.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I picture more talented players when I think of "All-Star"

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I do too. Quite honestly, Luol Deng has to be on the list of "worst two time all stars", but when I look at the competition, I don't think they were bad choices. The competition is poor this year.

  • Does anybody know anything about Dengs health? I've seen his been listed as questionable for the last two games, so are we talking days or weeks?

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    I think he's listed as day to day.... Thibs may be just resting him up, since Butler has been playing pretty good the last few days. So no need to rush him back.

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    I'm pretty sure that Tom Thibodeau has had Derrick Rose as a game time decision all season long [kidding]. Thibodeau has a history of saying guys are GTD or questionable when they are clearly out. I don't know when the Bulls expect Deng back, but I wouldn't look at the official injury report as a clue unless he's simply not on it at all.

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