Dunleavy destroys the Wizards, Butler comes through in the clutch

Dunleavy destroys the Wizards, Butler comes through in the clutch

It wasn't pretty. It sure didn't look repeatable, but the Bulls managed to win game three pushing the series to 2-1 in favor of the Wizards. No one has ever come back from 0-3, so it's fair to say this was a must win game for Chicago. They won. Unfortunately, in the win, little happened to make me feel that further wins are likely.

Dunleavy scores 35 on 8-10 beyond the arc

Mike Dunleavy brought the Bulls back, built up leads, and overall crushed the Wizards. His 35 on 19 shots gave the Bulls the efficient offense they needed in order to hang in this game. Overall, the Bulls offense was good, but Dunleavy became the shot maker. Noah and Hinrich had just four attempts each, and really the only player to shoot badly was D.J. Augustin.

However, Dunleavy stole the show. It seemed like every second possession he was knocking down threes. His confidence was high, he was hitting threes while doing quick stops off off-ball screens rather than just taking open looks on catch and shoots. He looked like if he was a bit more crafty that by the end of this game, he could have forced about five fouls with guys jumping out at him on his pump fakes as well. Maybe an adjustment for next game.

The Bulls won this game because of Mike Dunleavy, but the scary thing is, you're not getting another 8-10 game from beyond the arc game out of Dunleavy again. As Antawn Jamison said nine years ago, it was his birthday today. Happy birthday. The Bulls will need to find a new strategy for next game, but the Wizards will be forced to adjust.

If they continue to double Dunleavy on every catch off the pick then someone's open, and Chicago just needs to review the game film to see where to pass.

Jimmy Butler wins and Tony Snell almost loses it

With the shot clock winding down on a tie game, Jimmy Butler launched a three. I can't say I was overly confident in this shot, Bulls fans everywhere were probably fairly skeptical about the odds of this one going down. However Butler swished it straight threw and the Wizards couldn't match.

After a few rough plays, and some made free throws, the Wizards had the ball 80 feet from the basket with no time outs and down by five, Tony Snell does the only possible thing he could do to give Washington a chance to win this game. He fouls John Wall 80 feet from the basket while John Wall is attempting a shot.

Did Tom Thibodeau not tell everyone just stay away? It would take them more than four seconds to get the ball down the floor. Even if they threw a three from 80 feet away, the whole shot clock would likely expire while the ball is in the air. The only way the Washington has a chance is if you stop the clock for them.

I'm trying to think of a dumber basketball that I've seen in my life, but nothing comes to mind. Tony Snell's an idiot for not knowing what's going on, but Thibodeau has to take the blame for not telling him. Sort of an irrelevancy as the Wizards lost anyway, but just mindblowingly stupid.

Will Nene get suspended?

For whatever reason, Nene decided he wanted to be Brendan Haywood/Kevin Garnett tough in this one and pick on a guy who's about 60-80 lbs lighter than he is. After Nene hits a layup he shoves Butler out of the way running back up the court. Then Butler gives him a much lighter push back with one hand just to say "I'm here".

Nene then turns around and goes head to head with Butler who doesn't back down. Both players stood their foreheads pressed together in moment where you know the "no punching" rule is flying through both their heads. Jimmy Butler appeared to be saying "let's go" to Nene, who then grabs Butler's head with one hand and then his other.

Butler for his part didn't really react much, a ref intercedes and Nene wound up like he was going to throw a punch which never happened. Nene was the instigator and escalator in this scuffle and was ejected for his douchery. I suspect he won't get suspended for a game because he got held back from throwing the punch, but the league will look at it, and I think there's a shot he will.

Butler would appear safe from any disciplinary action as his shove of Nene was light, with one hand, and the kind of thing that happens 100 times a game. Nene had all the real action after that. Starting, escalating once by going head to head, then escalating again by grabbing Butler with his hands. Still no punches thrown, my guess is he suits up next game but it could go either way.

How do we fix Joakim Noah?

Joakim Noah was supposed to be so good he might get a few MVP votes, but he's completely disappeared for Chicago. The Bulls aren't getting much in the way of assists, he's turning the ball over frequently, and his shot attempts (and points) are way down.

I was concerned in the regular season that Noah's passing wouldn't translate to the playoffs. Nene has shown the blue print on how to stop Noah. Instead of laying off of him and giving him space which opens the passing lanes, he plays right on top of Noah and dares him to put the ball on the floor.

Noah hasn't been all that successful in that area so far, and that's one of the adjustments we'll need to see from Noah.

Thibodeau adjusts

Give a little credit to Thibodeau. We've complained about his lack of adjustments for much of the season, but he found a way to get Tony Snell some burn to give Jimmy Butler some rest in the second period. He also put Mike Dunleavy back in the game in the end when he was hot to space the floor and pulled Hinrich from the end lineup.

He made adjustments based on the game rather than just sticking with his typical rotations, and it worked out well for the Bulls. Hopefully he keeps being flexible the rest of the series.

Curse of the Wizards?

The Bulls were just 20-30 from the free throw line. Noah was 2-6, and Gibson was 3-6. Those aren't rare types of numbers for your typical big men, but they're rare for ours. If Chicago didn't manage to win this game, they'd look back at the missed free throws and smack themselves for it.

That said, the fact that they left some points on the board gives a little more hope for how well they can play if they clean that up next time.

Can they do it again?

The Bulls climbed back into the series. Also down 2-1 right now? Indiana, Oklahoma City, Houston. I know they say the odds of coming back from 0-2 are very slim, but it's worth noting that much of those odds are created by 8-1 and 7-2 matchups where the teams aren't even remotely on the same talent level.

The Bulls now have the odds of the 1-2 team, and those are considerably better even if not great.

To go with the coin flip analogy. The Bulls need to win three of the next four coin flips instead of two of the next four. It's not necessarily likely, but it's certainly not out of the question.

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  • Doug, do you really believe that an NBA player has to be told not to foul someone shooting 80' away from the basket with a few seconds left and the game on the line?

    I watch a lot of D League games. Tony Snell would not be a good D League player. Consider this: in his third year at a middling program (New Mexico) Tony averaged 12.5 ppg and rebounded at 2.6 rpg (not a typo). He shot 45% from the field and 39% of treys. In his third year at Kansas State, Cartier Martin averaged 18 ppg and rebounded at 6.6 rpg. He shot 47% from the field and 42.7 of treys. Martin has NBA experience. Quiz: who did the Bulls release and who is playing for them in the Playoffs?

    I have watched the following Bulls first round draft picks (among others) come and go: Kevin Kunnert, Byron Houston, Tate Armstrong,Kelvin Ransey, Ronnie Lester, Dickey Simpkins, Clifton Pondexter, and Mark Randall. What they all have in common is that they all had very good (some Consensus All-American) college careers and yet all failed miserably for the Bulls. Lester and Ransey had injury problems early on but the others just flat out stunk. ( I suppose you could argue that Dickey was at least good for six fouls.)

    Aside from the statistical and historical evidence above, what in Snell's play would convince anyone that this guy is going to be a legitimate NBA player? He is physically weak, timid, soft, and has not displayed a particularly high basketball IQ. His PER this year was in the basement. He is supposed to be a good shooter but he can't score against the Wiz when put into the game. Didn't the Rockets just bring up a guy from the D League who won a game for them?

    Sorry, got to go. My wife just picked up the phone and I think she is calling the paramedics for me.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Nice post. Snell is not looking real good right now. That being said, dominating college is not a prerequisite for nba success. The nba game is different with better spacing.

    I am hopeful that Snell will take the next step this summer like Butler did. Butler did not impress me one bit during his rookie year outside of having upside on D. The switch flicked on for Butler and maybe it will for Snell within the next 6-12 months. The light never went on for Teague and may not ever.

  • In reply to Granby:

    You are correct that dominating in college does not necessarily translate to NBA success (Tyler Hansbrough).

    I also was somewhat skeptical of Butler at first. But here's the difference. Butler had an NBA body, better college stats than Snell, and was voted MVP of the Portsmouth pre-draft camp. More importantly, Jimmy was drafted last in the first round and there really wasn't anybody on the board much better than him.

    Conversely, Snell was drafted before guys from big-name programs who had stellar resumes. We know who they are and it makes me sick to think of it. Bottom line, if there was such a thing as scouting malpractice, Gar and his staff would be held liable by any fair-minded tribunal in the land.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I'm not, I think that Butler gave us more to hope for. Snell is a slackjawed mope a dope, those guys don't have a switch or a light bulb to turn on. Is Snell even as good as that guy we all wanted a few drafts ago, Marshon Brooks, anybody seen him lately.

    The only thing worse than ruining your career by being a pot head, is looking and acting like you're one when you're not.

  • Typo: " Dunleavy crushed the Warriors" unless you were reffering to Nene's postgame excuses for the altercation that "He is a warrior" lol.

    No more excuses for Thibs for not playing CJ Wats..... I mean Tony Snell, the end of this game was hard to watch. It feels like the Wizards are the Bulls new Miami Heat. They were letting them play in the post but Nene went ice cold from midrange as you predicted.

  • I have to agree with your sentiment that this victory did little to make me think that further wins are likely. I suppose if Nene gets suspended, I actually think that he should. He first slapped Butler in the head with an open hand, then tried to convert it to a mere head grab. Then as they were being separated it looked like he tried to throw and actual punch, but he was far enough away that it didn't connect. Kind of a cheap way to win games but at least it would get us back to even.

    I heard that Snell chased Wall to his car after the game and fouled him as he attempted to drive away. Anybody know if he has moved into Bartman's basement yet. Anybody know how much pot that guy smokes on a daily basis.

    Any chance that Thibs loses his mind and starts Taj and DJ for the rest of the series/playoffs. That would be our most balanced lineup and at least keeps Ariza off of DJ so that he has some space to operate. It obviously creates a John Wall problem, but since Butler can't seem to hang with Beal anyway, switch him to Wall and see if DJ can chase Beal around screens better than Jimmy has.

  • Just to chime in on the Nene/Butler thing, it should be noted that Nene actually had Butler's head in a Muay Tia clinch, which is a common MMA position used to set up knee strikes and short elbows. It may look a lot more innocent to people who don't follow MMA, but it should be put in the proper context. :)

  • ^ Muay thai

  • It's official. Nene is out tomorrow. Last time the Bulls played against Wiz without Nene the Bulls won big. Can they replicate the performance? I hope so.

  • No one is happy with the Snell pick but let's not lose the forest for the trees. A better pick wouldn't result in the Bulls winning anything this year so most of the complainers would just find something else to complain about. The main thing it does in my mind is put a dent in the thinking that GarPax are such good drafters. I still think they're good but no longer very good. It puts more pressure on them to deliver this off season. By "deliver," I mean make moves that will lead to a championship in the career of a healthy Rose.

  • By the way did anybody see the video of Nick(swaggy duchebag) Young throwing out the first pitch at the Dodger or Angels game.

    I don't think I've ever seen anybody ever look more effeminate doing any physical activity nevermind a supposed world class athlete performing a sporting event. Charles Barkley is a better golfer than Young is a pitcher. Carl Lewis is a better singer of the national anthem. boozer might even be better on defense.

    I find it almost impossible to believe how bad some of these athletes, particularly NBA players are at throwing a baseball. I guess it has something to do with all the Willie Mays' of years past turning into the Lebron James's of today.

    I'm 55 and have had multiple surgeries on nearly every joint in my body and I know for a fact that I could walk out on a baseball diamond tomorrow and throw a pitch which would at least hit the catcher if not right in his glove. and Young practiced before the game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The White Sox need some relief pitching. Perhaps Young might ... Hold on a minute, now. After one pitch, the opposing batter could be convulsing on the ground in hysterics. I suppose the batter could still draw a walk tho.

  • "boozer might even be better on defense"

    Are you OK BigWay? Did someone hack your account?

  • Let's look at the positive. Thibs finally got flexible in his rotation. Guys like Butler looked fresher at the end. And the Bulls lost the first two games at the end. To me, this alone gives them a chance now.

  • In reply to EJMF:

    Agreed 100%, Butler played less than 41 minutes, and Dunleavy played almost 40 because he was on fire.

    And DJ only played 24 because he was garbage most of the night.

    But if DJ continues to struggle, we're going to need to see Fredette out there for his shooting. DJ can't defend and he can't play PG very well in half-court, but Fredette can play with Hinrich if it comes to that.

  • i totally agree with your comments about "Joakim Noah completely disappeared for Chicago. The Bulls aren't getting much in the way of assists, he's turning the ball over frequently, and his shot attempts (and points) are way down.". He is the main reason we lost the 1st two games, and he almost lost game 3 for us. What's wrong with him? 2 of 6 from the free throw line...

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