Marco Belinelli turn around fallaway finishes off Boston in OT

The Chicago Bulls blew opportunity after opportunity to put Boston away and looked like they were going to lose in both regulation and overtime, but clutch shots by Kirk Hinrich and Marco Belinelli lifted Chicago over Boston in the most exciting finish of the season.

Chicago maintained a small lead for the majority of the night largely vacillating between one and eight points. However, Boston closed out on Chicago at the end of the game, and the Bulls missed opportunity after opportunity. Poor free throw shooting in the clutch hurt them as well as they repeatedly split free throws rather than knocking down a pair.

With a three deficit, the Bulls had the ball with 20 seconds left on the clock. Kirk Hinrich looked to take Rondo off the dribble and Rajon gave him an intentional foul to put him on the line for two free throws with 12 seconds to go. Kirk split the free throws, and it looked like things were over for Chicago.

However, Joakim Noah forced a jump ball with Paul Pierce instead of a foul. He won the tap to Belinelli who dribbled out of control in the paint and lost the ball which happened to roll over to a wide open Kirk Hinrich who knocked down the mid range jumper to tie up the game.

The teams went back and forth in overtime where Chicago again split free throws to give Boston an edge. With Chicago up one, the Bulls had the ball with a shade over 40 seconds on the clock setting up a classic two for one with the lead. An incredibly strong position to close out the game.

In the first attempt, Marco Belinelli frustratingly dribbled for about 15 seconds before dribbling into a trap and heaving a horrible looking turn around three while contested by two Celtics. Carlos Boozer had the offensive rebound knocked out of his hands, and the Celtics took control with 20 seconds left, down by one.

The Celtics ran a Pierce/Terry pick and roll and Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague were confused for a second on who was defending who. With the delay, Terry got a wide open look at a 15 footer which he knocked down to put the Celtics up one with 12 seconds to go.

Chicago looked like they had nothing going whatsoever on their final possession. Joakim Noah was trapped with the ball outside the three point line. He eventually got the ball to Boozer who was heavily covered far out from the basket and tried to dump the ball off to Belinelli in the post. Belinelli lost the ball on the pass, but picked it up while turning around and falling backwards heaved up a eight footer which splashed through the net.

The Celtics had three seconds left but with no timeouts settled for a heave at a three point shot which missed, and Chicago escaped with a win.

Luol Deng reinjures Hamstring

Deng injured his hamstring against the Raptors and attempted to play through it. While driving through the lane on a breakaway, Deng pulled up in obvious pain. It seems unlikely that Deng will go tonight against Memphis, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's out for awhile.

Memphis tonight

For the third time this season, the Bulls will go for their fourth consecutive win. With Deng likely out for the game, the Bulls will be in tough shape against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have struggled recently, dropping three of their last four, but all three losses came to quality opponents (Mavs, Clippers, Spurs).

That said, all three losses were also by 20+ points. Zach Randolph may miss the game for the Grizzlies with a sore back. He skipped last night's game against the Kings, and if he's limited or unable to go, it will ease the pressure on the Bulls frontcourt, in particular, Carlos Boozer.

The Grizzlies play excellent team basketball and spread the ball around, scoring from all five spots on the court. The Bulls frequently struggle with these types of opponents as their defense does well against pressuring star players.

I'm not optimistic that the Bulls will make it four in a row tonight.


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  • I'm disappointed in Thibs for playing Deng in this game. I really don't like the way he overworks his players. 40+ minutes a night and somebody is bound to get hurt. I understand that Deng being on the floor is an important element of our success thus far, but to over play him in this manner knowing he injured himself was not a good coaching decision even if Deng insisted.

    As for Carlos Boozer I've been very impressed with him as of late. I don't know where it's coming from or how long it will last but I like what I'm seeing. For the 1st time since we signed him he's starting to resemble something of what we hoped he would be. He's still not quite out the dog house, but he's graduated to parole status.

    Overall good game for the Bulls and good job to Belli for coming through when the team needed him.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    The Bulls medical staff appears to be a bunch of yes men who just say everyone is good enough to go out there and play regardless of their condition.

    Granted, the players are obviously somewhat culpable as well as they always say they're good and go out there anyway, but it'd be nice if the training staff actually kept guys out when they could make things far worse.

  • What a lucky shot last night...even though Noah was getting hacked several times before passing the ball.

    Belinelli is no dribbler.....

    Nate takes wild shots...

    Teague cannot play defense....

    but somehow this team is surviving and beating the good teams.

  • Surprised nobody really mentioned anything about Jimmy Butler so far. Looked great in that OT period, scoring at least 6 points from what I can remember. Lots of good cuts leading to easy buckets, along with his typical solid defense. Interested to see how well he plays in tonight's game matched up against Gay for extended minutes.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Butler's generally been a nice positive this season for sure. I thought he was kind of iffy last night offensively. He made some nice cuts, but they kept giving him the ball on the perimeter, and it was typically a waste of shot clock because he'd hold it for 5-6 seconds and do nothing with it.

  • Even without Deng it's disappointing how awful the Bulls continue to be at home.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    And they cut it from 17 to 1 ... I got to keep saying this team sucks. ;)

  • Why is Noah on the bench when Gibson and Boozer of totally gased? The are getting killed on the glass.

  • Mr Garbage Time(Bozo) getting destroyed by Gasol physically and on the boards the entire game, but especially down the stretch in the 4rth and in overtime.

    He may have been in the game during the entire comeback but he contributed nothing, and the Bulls were doomed once Gasol reentered the game. Not sure if Noah would have faired any better but I would have found out.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    as I've been saying for ever, Noah should be guarding the center, and if Bozo the Garbage time Clown can't guard the power forward then fuck him and bench him.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Noah didn't come back when Gibson fouled out, I think he was hurt and Thibs had no choice.

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