Bulls continue to prove fight in triple overtime win

Bulls continue to prove fight in triple overtime win

Chicago was down by double digits in the third quarter, but kept chipping away. It wasn't a pretty game, somewhat reminiscent of the playoff battle between the Bulls and Celtics which was epic more for its length than quality.

Each team made big shots to extend the game, Jameer Nelson tied it up with 11 seconds in regulation. Mike Dunleavy hit a three with 13 seconds left to tie it at the end of the first overtime, and Glen Davis hit the big three with four seconds left to tie it at the end of the second.

However, the Bulls clawed ahead in the third overtime off Tony Snell's dribble drive pull up mid range jumper with 48 seconds to go, and the Magic didn't score again.

On the one hand, it's fun to see the Bulls fight hard and come up with a win. On the other hand, the fight was with a team that's fairly awful normally and was missing two of its best starters. The Magic have won just one of their last 10 games and were annihilated in their other recent games without Vucevic and Afflalo.

Joakim Noah brings it

Sure he airballed a jumper that would have iced the game in the second overtime, but he came right back to knock down a runner on the pick and roll a few plays into the third period after the Magic jumped out to an early lead. He led the Bulls in scoring, rebounding, and six assists.

I'm only 75% kidding when I say I think it'd be fun to let Noah play point guard full time the rest of the season just to see how many triple doubles the Bulls could get them.

He left us with a typical Noah quote:

"The only thing it defines is us going on a plane right now a lot happier." Noah said. "There's nothing better than winning a basketball game. It feels good. We know we didn't play great basketball tonight but we found a way."

I'm not sure how long Noah will remain with the Bulls. I don't know how long his body will hold up. It's kind of sad with professional sports that you can root for players so much, but eventually their bodies fail, and you eventually want them to move on. It will be a sad day when that happens with Joakim.

There you are Tony Snell

Tony Snell played quite well in his first game after the Luol Deng trade, but mysteriously was played rarely the couple games after that with the Bulls electing to go with recent D-League call up Cartier Martin for 26 minutes one night and eight the next rather than give Snell extra playing time.

Snell turned in one of his best performances of the season, perhaps the best given he created a jumper off the dribble with under a minute to go in the third overtime that put the Bulls ahead for good. He scored 15 with seven boards while on the court for 35 minutes.

Tony needs to work on his aggressiveness. On the plus side, he plays well within himself, and he rarely makes mistakes by trying to do too much. On the downside, he's limiting his own potential by not stretching his boundaries. I think Tony Snell can become more than what he's shown, but he'll need to have a bit more faith in his dribble game to do it.

He did that in spots last night, soaring for a big dunk and creating that mid range jumper near the end off the dribble, but he hasn't shown any consistency on his willingness to attack. He's a hit and miss player, sometimes giving you last night and sometimes giving you a 1-7 or 0-8 type performance.

How is this even possible?

Jimmy Butler just set the Bulls franchise record for minutes in a game.

Think about that for a second. Luol Deng played here for three and a half seasons under Thibodeau. You'd think there'd have been at least one triple overtime game that Thibs made Deng play wire to wire.

Nope, apparently 60:20 will get it done. In the three overtimes and regulation, Butler rested a total of two minutes and 40 seconds. Jimmy Butler has officially replaced Luol Deng as Thib's security blanket.

Not much incentive to tank anymore

Maybe management intended to tank when trading Deng. There were rumors that they had committed to the draft. However, this just goes to show, management doesn't tank, they just control the roster. Players either give up or don't give up, and these players don't give up. Hard not to be proud of that as a Bulls fan.

At this point, I'll be okay if the Bulls miss or make the playoffs. I would have been happy to see them lose when a top three pick was a realistic possibility, but I struggle to turn in that fan card that derives joy from watching them fight and win just to get the 10th pick in the draft.

Some of the teams in the west are falling, the 9th team in the East will no longer pick 9th which could bode well for Chicago as the Bobcats have a chance to miss the playoffs now but still convey their pick to Chicago.

In fact, if the season ended today, the Bobcats would give the Bulls the 11th pick in the draft which would be the absolute best case scenario for Chicago to receive the pick this year as the pick is top 10 protected.

It also means if the Bobcats miss the playoffs but pick 8th-10th there's a much better chance they won't significantly improve the roster as well, meaning Chicago's odds of getting a truly great pick will still be somewhat in play, but I'd take 11th this year over my chances in the future.

Teague is back

No he didn't play in the game, but the Bulls did call him back up from the D-League. Kind of any interesting decision on that. There's no role for him on the present team unless a trade comes down. He's certainly not likely to earn minutes over Augustin or Hinrich unless he's playing under management's order.

This means one of a few things is likely:
1: The Bulls have a trade for Hinrich ready to go down
2: The Bulls want to showcase Teague to try and trade him (or were requested by an interested team to get him some more minutes)
3: The Bulls simply want to lose and figure Teague is just the man to help them do it (unlikely or else why get Augustin and send Teague down in the first place)

Whatever the case, good luck Marquis, may your stay in the NBA work out better this time than earlier.

Derrick Rose on the bench

So Derrick Rose traveled with the team and sat on the bench. As I noted yesterday, not a fan of this. I'd much rather have Rose focused on his rehab in a consistent environment back at the berto center or whatever clinic he wants to workout at rather than trying to travel with the team.

If he wants to sit on the bench at home games, then why not? Give the fans something to cheer about for 10 seconds a game, and it doesn't change his rehab schedule any. However, there's no benefit to the traveling with the team.

Let's just hope it doesn't start up a round of "Derrick Rose is coming back this year!" rumors.

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  • Doug this what makes me furious. Butler has had his share of injuries and just missed a game with thigh injury plus the turf toe and thibs plays him 60 mins!!! He doesn't learn..starting to not like thibs coaching this team now as well as for the future.

    Tony Snell vs Jimmy Butler..i have very disappointed in jimmy as I thought he would show vast improvement this year and even more so with deng gone but he is more than anything been consistently inconsistent. Still can't shoot, passive on attacking the rim and taking open shots. I notice he can't make entry pass to the post. Taj or booz is wide open but he chooses to swing ball around and or refuse to take the jumper. If the man is not open in the post then he chooses to throw it in which always results in a turnover.

    I like Tony Snells game he looks as if he can create his own shot a threat from long range and a decent defender.seems as if Snell will be the better player

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Did not see the game. Snell better than Butler? Really? Well, I'm high on Butler and luke-warm (cautiously optimistic) on Snell, so I'll take that as good news. In my mind, if Snell can just get to Butler's level at some point (next year or in year 3), the Bulls have two starting wings.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I'm not saying Snell is better than Butler now. I'm just saying I think he will be down the road. My evaluation is not from the game last night. Just what I have seen overall from both players.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I think Butler is playing hurt, that's why he is not moving well. I've been noticing on last few games. Snell has great potential and has Scottie Pippen flashes sometimes. This year might be a great opportunity for his development. On the other hand, Teague coming back from D-League may be a result of a trade coming soon (Kirk).

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Hmmm well jimmys not going to get any better with the way thibs is playing him it's ridiculous. Snells game is just real smooth to me. He don't really force anything lets the game come to him. His shooting touch is smooth. He handles the ball pretty well he has a sneaky quickness to him...will be interesting to see what kind of player he will develop into. Wonder who wants Kirk since the warriors who was interest made a trade with Boston

  • Have been noticing the bottom of the West starting to fall, so we could get that Charlotte pick around 11-12 if they just miss the playoffs. Nice.

    You know, this draft may be slightly over-rated from what I'm hearing. Top 3-5 guys could be solid, perhaps a few perennial all-stars, but not anything franchise-changing.

    Which leads me to the Bulls - to tank to not to tank? I think it does not make much difference. The draft is somewhat deeper than usual. There will be good options at 12 and good options at 20.

    I like the other Jabari - Jabari Bird on Cal. 6'6" SG. Can shoot and is high level NBA athlete. Saw him play earlier this season. He's missed a couple weeks with injury, but he looks just as good as anyone outside the top 5. ESPN has him going in the low 20's, but he probably rises when he gets healthy. Outside of Wiggins, he may bet the most athletic wing that can actually shoot well. Rodney Hood has size and can shoot, but not all that athletic. Gary Harris, CD Wilcox and Wayne Selden are not shooters.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I went to Kentucky for undergrad and watch all their televised games. Not that impressed with any of their young studs - including Randle. Randle can dominate, but he also disappears a lot. I do think Randle will be a better pro than college player due to the NBA rules. College teams are collapsing on him, so that may be part of the issue with him.

    Wiggins has been passive. Jabari Parker is solid and NBA ready, but only above average NBA athlete - nothing elite. (I guess Paul Pierce was not elite, so we'll see... Embiid looks like a high ceiling prospect, that's for sure!

  • In reply to Granby:

    My thoughts on Randle are that he is a Zack Randolph type player. Really good but not going to be "the man". The player I am trying to find out more about is Zack Lavine. Most of what I see is rumor of how amazing he is.

  • I'm not happy with the fact "bad" Western Conference teams get into the lottery when really bad EC teams fall out of the lottery because the conference is so bad that they make the playoffs. It is a major reason why we don't have parity between the conferences. The Nuggets, Grizzlies and Timberwolves should not be in the lottery. Sucks to be the Nets and the Pistons right now. There is a lot of basketball left and things could change but it sure seems like a change is needed.

    I think people are being unfair to Jimmy Butler. Butler is not a star. He is a solid role player who plays tough defense and might turn into a Luol Deng. If he turns out to be better it would be shocking since we picked him so late in the first round. That would be a major feather in Garpax's cap if he does that. I think that under Thibs Butler and Snell can turn out to be really solid role players at the SG and SF positions just like Taj is at the PF spot. We should temper our expectations.

  • Snell's dunk was awesome last night, took off pretty far from the rim and had full extension almost like a 'statue of liberty' dunk. He can shoot the 3, dunk and play some D. I like his skills, but agree with Doug he can seem lost or have those off nights so hopefully we'll see more consistency out of him going forward. Maybe this game will earn him more trust from Thibs and more minutes. Also like that Stacey is calling him 'the predator' now.

    Thibs, wow. He rode with that lineup of DJ, Jimmy, Snell, Taj and Jo for a loooong time. Jo could barely run back down the court on D and Jimmy was limping badly. I know Jo wants to win every game too and read his comments, but man I don't like running two 'core' guys and/or tradeable assets into the ground during a January game against the Magic in this type of season. Clearly, Thibs is never going to change his ways, for better or worse.

  • Im hurt I'm hurt ...I'm rich I'm rich.

  • I agree with your take on rooting for the Bulls to win, despite wanting us to tank for a better draft slot. I found myself falling into regular fan mode last night wanting the Bulls to pull out the victory when it looked like a lost game on several occasions.

    Thibs proved(again) that he has no understanding of the human body, as he(again)played the same 5 five guys for virtually every second of the 4rth quarter and all 3 overtimes. It was clear that guys just didn't have the energy or legs to do the things that they usually do, especially Taj and Jimmy, and even Noah to a lesser extent.

    While I credit Taj for being part of the lineup that wiped out the 15 point deficit to start the 4rth, he really wasn't all that effective, and by the overtimes, it appeared that he was giving up on play after play, particularly on D. It really wasn't a Taj type of game, as the Magic played Davis at center and never had a power forward in the game. If we ever needed proof, Taj really can't guard small forwards. Harris, a small forward, played power forward most of the night and he led the team with 16 rebounds and knocked down some 3's, pretending to be a poor mans Kevin Love.

    Also, interesting last night was the fact that Bozo had a great game for 3 quarters(well, what passes for a great game for him) while to Bulls fell behind by 15. He then goes to the bench for the rest of the night, and the Bulls come all the way back in about 6 minutes before fighting the rest of the night for the victory. Proving, once again that whatever he supposedly does well on offense has absolutely no correlation to winning and everything else that he doesn't do( you know like, try) has an extremely positive correlation to losing. Also interesting that in a game with no big stiff center to hide him on D, he only had 1 rebound, even the guys on NBA TV noticed that.

    On that note it is probably time to start the countdown that I should have started on January 1st, only 165 more days until amnesty day.

  • The more of these Bulls Superstars not with us, the better this team gets.

    Did the Heat just lose three games in a row?.......Jordan championship era never saw nothing like that.

    Can we get two first round draft picks from the Knicks for Coach Thibs?

    Time for Rose to make more pizza tv ads.......it helps him not to get moody as he hobbles around.

    Noah, you might be playing for the poor Bulls fans, but it is the rich fans who are paying your salary by buying those court side seats.....so don't be a Racists and treat ALL Bulls fans equal.

    Deng - you turned down $30 million extension from the Bulls......enjoy Cleveland.

    Snell is climbing the Bulls education system faster then Butler did when he joined the club.

  • Gary Harris from Michigan St. would be a nice fit for this Bulls team.

  • Besides the usual killing guys with minutes problems, Thibs was particularly bad with his play calling at nearly every crucial juncture last night, like at the end of the 4rth and at the end of each overtime.

    Unless the players weren't executing, he called one bone headed play after another. Including but not limited to, never replacing Taj with Dunleavy for offense on those last shot game winning situations. Dunleavy wasn't having a good night, but he still one of our few shot makers, he should have been on the floor on every one of those game winning/closing situations.

    Also, did it occur to anyone, including Jimmy Butler, that all he had to do was miss that final free throw and the game would be over, with only .4 of a second left on the clock. Was anybody on our bench awake at the end of the game. and then Nelson just missed making a 3 at the other end to win the game.

    It didn't seem like a huge deal at the time, but the Bulls had a good defensive game going against Charlotte two games ago, holding them to 80 points with less than 4 minutes to go in the game. They then gave up 17 points in the final 4(a 51 point quarter) and barely held on to win the game. That mental letdown seems to started a pattern as they gave up over 100 points in consecutive games to the Wiz and Magic. Additionally, Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo, the starting backcourts for the Bobs and Magic averaged over 30 points each against the Bulls in those 2 games. whats up with that D.

    Interesting to see if the Wiz kicks our butts again Friday, they beat the Heat last night after blitzing them 43 - 18 in the first quarter.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You're right on target with all the excessive minutes Thibs has his guys on court and the bad play calling--its almost like Thibs does not care about the team's players and wants out of here--maybe for New York. Are these obvious signs of him not wanting to be in Chicago?

  • Look it's simple, all the Bulls have to do is the following:

    1. Trade a player that we don't want for a high pick, not top-3 but let's say, 6th.

    2. Correctly identify the best player in the draft.

    3. Wait for 5 other GM's to pass on that player.

    4. Draft the best player in the draft. Voila! A second superstar.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    We would all like to see that, Roman.

    1. Who is the player that is worth a top 6 pick AND the Bulls do not want?
    2. ID the best player -- let's make that players (plural, hoping to have multiple 1st round picks.)
    I had to laugh at a BR (Bleacher Report) about the top ten "steals" from last year's draft. There is hardly one we would care much about having on the Bulls! Snell was not among them, BTW.
    This, of course, is not what you, Roman, mean, nor is it what the Bulls need. The Bulls need the "second superstar," as you noted. He will probably be there at #6, but which guy is he? If we are talking about an Aldridge guy versus Tyrus guy. It does not look like there is a Durant or even a Carmelo this year.
    But someone will turn out to be a gem -- hope the Bulls get that guy. They need him.

  • What should the Bulls do about their Tom Thibodeau problem? Last night against the Magic, Thibodeau's penchant to physically punish the roster reared its ugly head again. Jimmy Butler -- in his second game back from a thigh bruise and still recovering from a turf toe injury that sidelined him for 11 games earlier in the season -- played 60:20 in the win over Orlando. Thibodeau laughed the whole thing off:
    Hey guys this explains what I've been talking about, Thibs is not an athlete and he plays his players like their part of a video game to me.
    Read http://www.blogabull.com/2014/1/16/5315292/chicago-bulls-tom-thibodeau-jimmy-butler

  • Spot on analysis. Thibs is becoming more of a liability than a positive, if New York wants a pic for him them go for it.

  • Turf toe and a thigh bruise? Funny.

    People should really pay attention to the other 29 teams in the NBA, I can't think of any players who would worry about a thigh bruise. Guys play hurt all the time, every night, on every team.

    Oladipo played over 57 minutes, Nelson 54 the other night.

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