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.