Bulls bounce back against Clippers

Bulls bounce back against Clippers

For a moment in the second period, it seemed like it'd be the same old Bulls. Chicago went through one of those classic stretches where they simply couldn't score and the Clipper lead ballooned out to 14. Things looked grim for our heroes.

Chicago fought back. It wasn't pretty. Despite shooting under 40% from the field and horrible from the three point line, the Bulls somehow cut the lead to two points going into the half thanks largely in part to the play of Jimmy Butler who's closing half three point play (amongst others) after Taj Gibson tipped the ball away from Jamal Crawford into his hands helped close the gap.

Then the Bulls came out strong in the third and slowly built the lead higher and higher throughout the entire period until it swelled to 19 points. The Clippers would never make a serious run on the Bulls for the rest of the night.

Bulls don't need a SG

Jimmy Butler's PER on the season? 22.6. That's legit all-star caliber. His scoring per 36 minutes has swelled to 19 points a game. He's getting to the free throw line at a 7.1 attempts per game clip which is also in the star category.

His TS% is up to 62.5% which is rather eyepoppingly good as well. In short, Jimmy G Buckets is finally actually living up to the name. Maybe he was scared Dougie would still his nickname, not happening at this rate.

He's giving all that offense with elite defense as well. If Butler even stays close to this level by season's end, his max contract will be a formality, and we won't be debating about whether it's worth paying. He'll have gone from a guy we thought was worth 8 million to a "no brainer" max contract guy.

He continues to be the guy who bails the Bulls out whenever they need something regardless of what that something is. Key basket? Key stop? Steal? Assist? Butler's dominating this season.

Dunleavy/Hinrich comes up big in the second half

The Bulls first half three point shooting was poor, down around 25%, but in the second half, Hinrich and Dunleavy combined for 6/10 from beyond the arc which was the biggest factor in the Bulls big scoring third period.

Chicago started moving the ball well and knocking down shots.

There are plenty of games where Kirk Hinrich lets you down with his offense, but then he also gives you games like this one where he delivers great play on both ends of the floor and destroys it from the three point line.

When Kirk has a hot shooting night, the Bulls become an entirely different team.

Dunleavy has continued his quality play overall this season while McDermott has struggled mightily ending any thoughts about McDermott gaining starters minutes.

Front court steps up with Gasol out

Joakim Noah started off the season slowly, but he's rounding into form and is starting to more regularly look like an all-star. He was dominant on the glass and helped the Bulls keep a rebounding advantage over the Clippers athletic front court.

Noah was left free to roam around at night as he was matched up with DeAndre Jordan and left him frequently to double team. Jordan scored efficiently (5/6 from the field) but not with any volume and rarely made the Bulls pay for Noah locking down the paint.

Taj Gibson finally shared the ball recording six assists on the night, only his second game this season with more than two. He also went 9/13 from the field and overall dominated on offense. He outscored Blake Griffin on fewer shot attempts and kept Griffin out of the paint for most of the night.

In the end, the Bulls locked down the paint, especially in the second half. Chicago held the Clippers to just two fast break points and 24 points in the paint. The Clippers were content to chuck (and miss) jumpers and the Bulls cruised to an easy victory.

Big win for the Bulls

The Bulls played big against a quality opponent and without two of their premier scorers. Why is it that the Bulls are struggling at home (1-3?) or that they've been in dog fights (and lost a few of them) with some really sub par teams? Who knows.

However, it's nice to see Chicago come out and perform at a high level against one of the teams expected to be a premier team in the Western Conference, hopefully they can keep the momentum going against Sacramento and Portland.

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  • Last night Noah was back to being the Noah of last year, which begs the question, "have his sub-par results to date been a function of his health or from playing next to Pau"?

    I hope the former, of course, but fear the latter. He was an emotional beast last night and it may have been because he was back in a position in which he is the most comfortable.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    If he's struggling to play next to Pau, I think that's ok right now. They'll figure out. Great players always do.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Noah had these same issues the first year Boozer joined the team as well, and they eventually figured it out and even with Boozers many, many limitations, the Bulls became great on the defensive end and rebounding the ball. Its only natural that Noah playing with Taj hed be more effective. In addition, because Gasol actually has a pulse on defense, it means Noah is out more on the perimeter than locking down the paint, and therefore gets less chances to rebound, wheras last year he had to be everywhere because Boozer was useless.

  • In reply to ShurikenSam:

    Great point. I had forgotten how bad Boozer/Noah looked for the first few months together.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    just the first few months?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bjb57:

    Good point! I fear the same for Noah & Pau. Maybe it's because Pau clogs up the lane which limits Noah's ability to crash the boards. They will work it out tho, by April they'll be fine.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Well the numbers say that he was back (10/16/6). However, if you were watching closely he was still getting shoved under the rim(and out of rebounding position) quite a bit. You really can't rebound from under the rim. Noah lets himself get pushed there, then he leaps up and flies out of bounds while letting out a boozer lite scream in an attempt to draw a foul.

    This has always been a tactic of his, but it seems that he started relying on it way too much in the second half of last season, just like he did a few too many times last night. While you could argue for the shove in the back foul on almost every rebound, you just aren't getting that call unless it is blatant.

    I realize that Noah isn't the strongest guy in the world, but part of staying out of that position(under the rim) is sheer will, and even though he brought the emotional quotient up a bit last night, he still let himself get overpowered by Griffin and to a lesser extent Jordan.

    Even though the Bulls won the battle of the boards last night, it seemed like the Clippers were contesting every rebound on our end, while Jordan in particular was gobbling them up uncontested on their end.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    http://sportsmockery.com/2014/11/video-joakim-noah-harasses-blake-griffin-like-school-yard-bully/

  • In reply to 5stringking:

    Last night, just as the Bulls had the Clippers number, Joakim Noah seemingly had that of Blake Griffin.

    The Bulls center, who spares no expense in being as animated as humanly possible, may have added to a list of NBA enemies that already includes the likes of Kevin Garnett and LeBron James.

    Didn’t catch the game?

    Check out the video evidence below.

    Here, Noah steamrolls over Griffin like he’s not even there. Get ‘em Jo.

  • What a game! Games like that are what make me believe this is a championship team. Noah was amazing. My favorite thing about Noah is his presence on the bench. There was a play last night when the clippers had the ball in front of the Bulls bench and Noah was up and clapping his hands right behind the ball handler. I love the emotion that he and Thibs give from the bench.
    I thought that the Clippers could win it all this year, but now I'm wondering if they need to break it up. That team is clearly flawed, and I'm not sure if there is an easy, quick fix.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    The Bulls are looking good but the only real test they have had is the Raptors and they are kind of overrated. It was good to see us handle Blake as he usually has a field day but Clips are ranked 14th offensively and 23rd defensively this season.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    So if the Raptors and Clippers played a 7 game series right now you'd take Toronto?.. I wouldn't, the Clippers may be ranked 14 O/23 D, but we're barely 10 games in, those averages are relatively meaningless at this point. The most you can take from those rankings is that the Clippers haven't played great through 10 games, but even that could be false if they had two or three truly awful performances mixed in with a bunch of good ones. I'd count this among the regular season's "real tests". I use quotes because in reality there are a total of zero real tests in the regular season, the regular season as a whole might constitute a test, but individual games? Not a chance. How did the Bulls A+ regular season test scores against Miami work out for them come playoff time?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I'm sure glad that we lost out on the JJ Redick bidding 4 or 5 years ago.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You think? Reddick is not a great player but he would have been a good fit for this team, I believe.

  • I'm sticking to my prediction that Mirrotic will be an All-Star one day.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    He looked very comfortable out there. He does not appear to be the least bit intimidated by playing in the NBA. Of course, nights like last night help, where he knows he will get his minutes regardless of how well he plays.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I was very impressed with Mirrotic's play. I'm surprised Doug didn't include him in his analysis. I was especially happy with his defense, although he needs to eliminate the silly touch fouls.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Mirotic did look good. That fake three he had where he stepped into the mid range was really smooth. He looks a lot better when he's not stuck with that crappy lineup the Bulls use in the 2nd quarter.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I am starting to wonder how good of a 3 point shooter that he will be, as you have noted he seems to need a lot of space and time to wind up his 3 point shot. I guess other guys with less than classic form have been good 3 point shooters, Marion, Martin to name a couple.

    He absolutely looks like he will be the better all around player over McPillsbury. He seems quite willing to mix it up physically with anybody even if he is giving up a few lbs.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    You might add he was playing with a true 5 in Noah

  • The game was on TV, but on the East Coast I could not justify staying up late. I saw they were down early. I did a double take on my phone this morning. Amazing with no Rose and Gasol.

    Nice to see Mirotic fill up the stat sheet a bit. McDermott not so much, however...

  • In reply to Granby:

    Same here, East Coast blues.

  • We should'nt have lost to the Pacers or Celtics but Rose has only been healthy for 1/5 home games so that has to count for something.

    Good to see Jimmy playing like this, still not the second creator we need but he's definitely getting there. Withing the team concept he's playing outstanding basketball. Rose sitting out does have it's silver lining, we have to put up with more Kirk but to see Jimmy lead this team will only do him wonders.

    It's rare to see a player make this offensive jump at 25. He's taking advantage of any post oppurtunities, he loves that mid range shot of the dribble and he's actually driving to the hoop in an iso situation, that we would have rarely seen last year. Butler's offensive surprise has kind of made up for offense we expected from McDermott.

  • I was thinking about why the bulls perform poorly against terrible teams earlier. the obvious answer is that the bulls are hurt and can't afford to play poorly. Also, it's a purely psychological reason as to why it happens.

    Everyone blames it on poor coaching. As if thibs isn't able to get the team motivated, but the truth is, the bulls staple is the no mistakes brand of Thibs defense coupled with an extra umph of intensity brought by the players.

    Whether we care to admit it or not, it's impossible to bring that extra umph of intensity, which separates the bulls from your average teams, against a poor quality opponent. That extra gear that makes the bulls play every game as if it's a playoff game it can really only occur if you think you're opponent is a good/decent opponent.

  • It doesn't take a genius to realize that Jimmy Butler, is, on a regular basis, showcasing an emerging array of skills that could best be spelled MVP(of the Bulls of course not the NBA) for a Chicago Bulls squad favored by many to come out of the East. Last night's triumph over an out-hustled Clipper's squad was as good an example as any with a Pippenesque line of 21 points, six rebounds, and two steals to go along with eight big time assists.

    Jimmy G's(the G stands for.. well, you know) hang time three point play against Blake "The Fake" Griffin shows just how strong the fourth year baller out of Marquette has become. He is increasingly the go to guy for the Bulls not just on defense, but on the offensive end as well.

    Butler on a nightly basis is using that steely strength to great advantage wearing down overwhelmed defenders on quicker then you think mid lane and baseline drives to the hoop. His emerging mid range game/J's evidence an evolution in the fourth and crucial free agency year of one Jimmy G. By the way, I'd rather call him Jimmy G or just G(for gets buckets) then the whole phrase. I just don't like buckets as a nickname period including for McDermott "Dougie McBuckets" it just sounds.. well I'll just say lame and stay PC.

    Still, despite his overall stellar performance, strictly speaking offensively I don't know that his Kevin Martin free throw garnering ability is enough to declare that game an offensive masterpiece for Jimmy. He shot just 25% on volume threes(4 attempts), and just 6-17 overall good for .353 from the field. And while he did accrue eight assists etc. it took a Thibsian marathon 45 minutes to pile up those numbers.

    One thing that baffles me about Butler is how good his stroke looks at times, and yet there are nights where his shots look awful hitting the front of the rim or even off to the side of the rim sometimes missing the entire basket altogether. On one three point attempt I did detect him pushing the ball more then shooting upward. Maybe he needs to concentrate on set shots off a dead stop instead of so many leaping jumpers where sometimes he's almost falling back.

    Anyway you slice it though, there's no denying(haters cry on three) Jimmy is looking more and more like a brilliant pick by Gar/Pax. And Taj(who in all honesty was my choice as well) is a great late first pick up as well. We'll see if the late first round mastery ala the Spurs continues with Nikola and MCD. I really wish someone would tell McDermott to slow down. He is just spazzy out there. And Nikola, please practice your layups or if you can't get comfortable with that then just try dunking the ball. Anythings better then a big missing all the chipees you do. If he can take advantage consistently of his ability to drive he could be lethal.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to RoadWarrior:

    MVP? Well there's Steph Curry (GSW) who's my early favorite to win the award. However, Jimmy is right up there with Demarcus Cousins for MIP.
    The only thing that concerns me is how many mins Jimmy plays. It would be wise for Thibs to sit him out a game or two every once in a while to keep his body from breaking down in Apr, May & June. 40 mins per game is a lot when a player is exerting himself on both ends of the floor. Hopefully, Thibs doesn't run him into the ground.
    What happened to Dougie McBuckets? He's been pretty much a no-show, and seems to be on par to join Tony Snell at the end of the bench. Wakeup! I'm rooting for him to have a breakout game, but so far he's a bust. The Bulls need for him to produce so that Jimmy Butler can sit sometime. I've posted this before, and state it again... Both rookies must shine in order for the Bulls to win the championship. So far, Niko seems to fit in nicely for the Bulls, with his rebounding, passing and inside/outside scoring, now it's McDermott's time to put his input on the team. Hopefully he's not Jimmer Fredette pt II

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    No need to worry, because it is guaranteed that by playoff time Thibs will have played Butler into fatigue.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The minutes are particularly worrisome with Butler because he plays a very physical style that is punishing on his body as well as that of the opponents. While he doesn't put the same kind of stress and torque on his body that Rose does, I am worried that Jimmy's style is not all that sustainable either, and will catch up to him especially when overworked by Thibs.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Nice job on giving GarPax their due for making some very nice late draft picks. It's one thing they've done pretty well at overall throughout their tenure, even if not always.

  • Man, I hate to put it this way, but did you actually watch the game.

    You Said, "Noah was left free to roam around at night as he was matched up with DeAndre Jordan and left him frequently to double team. Jordan scored efficiently (5/6 from the field) but not with any volume and rarely made the Bulls pay for Noah locking down the paint.

    Taj Gibson finally shared the ball recording six assists on the night, only his second game this season with more than two. He also went 9/13 from the field and overall dominated on offense. He outscored Blake Griffin on fewer shot attempts and kept Griffin out of the paint for most of the night."

    This is simply not the way the game went.

    Taj was not primarily matched up with Blake, Noah was. And Noah was not primarily matched up with Jordan, Gibson was. I am certain of this because I was furious about the matchups from the opening tip. I figured that Noah was so used to covering for boozer that he just naturally matched up with Griffin forgetting that boozer was no longer around. They occasionally switched assignments, usually after Noah picked up a foul while getting bulldozed by Griffin, but its clear that Thibs wanted Noah primarily on Griffin.

    Doug, you are better than that. This is what the typical lazy fan or sportswriter does where they just compare the stats of the PF to the opposing PF and likewise for the center position. Or for that matter what the childish Bulls do as they announce the starting lineups at home games, calling Gasol the starting PF, and Noah the man in the middle. I cannot believe that grown men in a billion dollar business behave so childishly.

    Noah and Taj(31&21) more or less played Griffin and Jordan(29&27) to a draw, but they were still physically overpowered on a number of occasions. This victory was even more amazing because it felt like other than Butler the Bulls were at a physical/athletic disadvantage at nearly every other position.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I guess I noticed the possessions where they were switching more so then. The announcers were even commenting about Noah roaming around when he was matched on Jordan and how the Bulls didn't bother guarding him.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    No. You were right Doug. I read this guys post sometimes and I wonder what the he was watching. Majority of the time, Taj was on Blake. Early in the game Blake hit a few long 2's over Taj but the shots were given and the ones the D are designed to let the other team have. For most of the game Taj did a great job on Blake and Jordan. Gibson and Noah just switch so seamlessly. He and Noah work very well together on both ends. Jo is more effective playing back in position and not forced into the PF spaces on the floor, where he has never excelled, and has been a lot with Pau.

  • In reply to 5stringking:

    No he didn't Blake hit a bunch of long jumpers over Noah early in the game with Noah not really close enough to him to contest them, until Noah went out around his normal time 4-5 minutes left in the first.

    Then you turn around and say that Taj did a great job on both guys, so I guess he wasn't just guarding Blake. Of course I wouldn't call giving up 29 & 27 a great job, especially while only getting 5 rebounds myself.

    I suppose that you are also going to try and tell me that Noah didn't start both the game and the second half guarding(assigned to) Blake, as in his primary responsibility. Maybe since it is 2014 you should get with the times and get a DVR so you can rewatch the game and see what actually happened.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I didn't feel the Bull were overpowered at all. I kind of expected the Bulls to really struggle against the Clippers front court, but I was pretty pleased with how they generally kept Blake out of the paint and while Jordan got free for a few dunks didn't really feel like he impacted the game much to me.

    I guess I just have "blake griffin's a superstar" nightmares from the past few times he's gone against us. He looked pretty pedestrian relative to his other efforts. He's typically been a Bull killer.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Taj was on Griffin most of the time that Mirotic was on the floor, so maybe that influenced your perception. But Noah started the game and the 3rd on Griffin. If you remember Blake hit a number of wide open mid range jumpers in the first quarter with Noah too far away to close out on him.

    You are right, he didn't absolutely kill us numbers wise(19&10)but I tend to watch the game differently, especially with a DVR at my disposal. I go back and look at a lot of rebounds and fouls to see what really happened, especially away from the ball. In general it felt like the Clippers were playing a lot of Bully ball, specifically Blake and Paul. The Bulls all(always) look a little bit physically intimidated by Griffin, almost afraid to go after him. I don't know if they can't handle the physicality or they are afraid of getting high light reel embarrassed.

    I guess that I am too much of a task master perfectionist type. Guys are what they are, they can't be what you want them to be. When I played, I always played a very physical game, I never let anyone push me around, and I tried to make sure that no one ever put me on the floor. As a fan, I Iook for that kind of play from the guys that I root for, almost taking their basketball skills as being second nature. Noah and Taj are both more active than they are pure physical players.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    so Bulls weren't unwatchable last night? hahaha I love watching the Bulls, and even with Rose out they are entertaining with their high effort and team play...but of course can't wait to see Rose on a regular basis

  • In reply to Keep:

    I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    What are you talking about? It's like you watched a different game than the rest of the World. Like we don;t have DVR's or something. Who doesn't have a DVR in 2014?

  • In reply to 5stringking:

    Yea, that's exactly what I was saying, that I'm special because I have a DVR in 2014, you are such a genius for pointing that out.

    Your comment(or should I say the snarky ignorance of it) proves my point. Just like every other modern convenience in life we all use our DVRs in different ways and for different purposes. Most people use the DVR to view programs at times other than their live showings and to skip through the commercials. I use it focus in on parts of the game that most fans don't focus on, small things that don't show up in the box score, things that coaches probably focus on when reviewing the game. I try to see why something happened, like our guards and wings pretty much never boxing out allowing their guys to crash the boards to grab offensive rebounds over our bigs, i.e the Ben Gordon method.

    No I didn't watch a different game that the rest of the world, but yes, I do watch the game differently than the vast majority of fans.

    While your childish comment was meant to make you feel superior to me, all it really did was reveal your childlike stupidity.

  • Blake scored several times matched up one on one with Gibson. Noah guarded him a decent amount as well, but Noah spent plenty of time on Jordan. Watching Jimmy go baseline and completely overpower the Clippers guards and forwards was fun to watch. He did it over and over. Rose should be able to do the same thing against every point guard in the league. He is so powerful and can finish. I wish he would learn to slow down and use his strength and size against smaller opponents instead of always playing 1 million miles per hour. I always thought Rose could become a cross between Dwayne Wade and Chauncey Billups as he matures. Mirotic is going to be a beast. His court sense and quick passing ability is amazing. The defense needs work, but the tools and the will are there. He needs 15 lbs of muscle and to spend next summer working with Thibs. I love this team

  • Living in San Diego, I get the Clippers(and Lakers) as my home team on Direct TV, so I watched the Clippers broadcast of the game and stuck around for their postgame show. Corey Maggette is one of their analysts. He doesn't sound all that bright, but it was kind of funny to hear him continuously refer to Butler as Jimmy Buckets, I thought that was just a Stacey King thing, or at most a Chicago thing.

    The Clippers guys were brutal on their team, they just completely ripped them a new one, and then another and another. I'm not sure I've ever heard Chicago guys go after their team that way. They gave the Bulls their credit, but in general I kind of agreed with them, other than the 3rd quarter, it felt like the game was more about what the Clipper were not doing than it was about what the Bulls were doing.

    Finally, the Clippers are kind of an annoying PAB(punk ass bitch) type team. I don't know if it is just because of Chris Paul, but they have an unwarranted arrogance about them that makes them easy to dislike. I can see why a number of teams in the west have issues with them.

    Double finally, did you guys get a load(and I mean load) of Big Baby. The guy was always big, but he is the incredible bulk these days, he looks bigger than Shaq ever did, without the height of course. He looks a lot more like a pulling guard in the NFL than a basketball player. It is hard to believe that a guy that size can even go up and down a basketball court. I was praying that he wouldn't snap Mirotic's spindly legs like a couple of twigs on the forest floor.

  • By the way, was there anybody else who thought that we might need to sig Tony Snell on Jamal Crawford when it seemed like he was making every single shot he took no matter who was guarding him. I'm actually surprised that Thibs never went to that match up, especially since we were down 2 starters.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It appears Snell is in Thibs' doghouse. Maybe because he is a dog

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yup, because I didn't want Kirk on him and Jimmy would've worn down more if he got assigned to Crawford earlier. I felt a little bad for Tony. Not a single second on the court, and he's from SoCal too. Hell, even Moore played more than he did.

    But I'm not surprised Thibs didn't call Snell's number.

  • Clearly we should aim for 8th place so we can get more road games in all our playoff series.

  • Jimmy Butler has started this season playing like a max player with All-Star level play. I was a 6-8 million a year guy on Butler when he went a full season shooting under 40% from the floor and under 30% from three. He still played elite defense last season, but was only really effective on that side of the ball. Watching him brick three after three last year was cringe-worthy. This season is a different story. I don't blame the organization for making him stay hungry through the season without an extension, because I don't think his offensive leap was by any means a foregone conclusion. If he's still playing like this at the end of the season, he'll have earned a max contract. There's a bigger story about how the soon to swell cap is changing the way teams hand out contracts. Gordon Hayward wasn't a max player a few years ago.

    My main worry with Butler, other than him sustaining this level of play, is the minutes he's logging. He's not going to have much left the playoffs if Thibs keeping playing 40, 45 minutes a night. He's going to wear down like Deng did. There's got to be a way to get him some rest.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Good points. Butler is worth max money since the cap and probably max contracts will be increasing. He's still young, but he can't be routinely playing 40+ min/game.

    Rose coming back would probably help reduce his minutes.

    It's good that Rose is taking the time needed to heal, but his absence increases the load for his teammates. So, I think Rose needs to play as soon as he can. Just keep his minutes to around 35/night. And, on the bench late in the game during blowout victories.

  • In reply to Granby:

    It's tough because we literally watched Deng seem to age ten years in just a few under Thibs' regime. It was like the difference between Lincoln before the Civil War and at the end of it. I was reminded of that, Deng, not Lincoln, when one could plainly see how tired Butler looked at the end of the Clippers game.

    Thibs still can't make small short-term sacrifices in favor of long-term playoff returns. Thonus makes a good point, though, about the day Thibs bags are packed in Chicago, a worse coach will replace him. Thibs is just that good about the things he does get right.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    From experience, we know Thibs will only play impact starters reasonable minutes when management puts a minutes restriction on individual players, i.e. Noah and Rose.

    In other words, only way Jimmy doesn't continue logging 40 minutes per game is if GarPaxDorf intervene. Thibs doesn't have the intelligence/wisdom to do so himself, unlike Thibs own self-proclaimed gold standard Spurs/Popovich.

    Even young Spurs Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is averaging only 30 mpg, while Tony Parker leads the Spurs with 32mpg. Jimmy Butler is averaging an NBA leading 40mpg - great way to induce fatigue for the playoffs.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    LeBron is currently 3rd in the NBA at 39mpg.
    LeBron is publicly saying his minutes must decrease.

    http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/11/lebron_james_my_minutes_have_t.html#incart_social_feature

  • In reply to Edward:

    It's rough because just on this one issue you want to shake some sense into Thibs. Why can't he see what everyone else sees? LeBron is a freak of nature, but even he needs rest. He seemed worn down, for LeBron at least, in last year's playoffs. I think Pop has proven that logging heavy regular season minutes is a regular season consideration, which can only hurt your playoff chances if/when you get there, not help them.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Well said.
    Though some fawn over Thibs, proclaiming him to be a "super genius," I have serious doubts Thibs can lead a team to the promised land. Thibs doesn't understand some very basic things.

    When Thibs points to Tim Duncan playing heavy minutes when he was young, what is lost on Thibs (and some others) is Pops has become a better coach over the years. He's learned and continues to learn. Pops no longer plays his starters heavy minutes in regular season, he's learned keeping players healthy and rested for the playoffs is paramount. Thibs just doesn't get it, as a head coach he's stubborn and flawed.

  • Maybe the coach is right. Maybe 4 or 5 minutes more a night does not cause a real problem. Maybe injuries are related to other factors like each individuals body, etc.

    It just seems that a very intelligent coach who has every statistic available plus inside information on the players with every incentive to do the best long term thing would get it right. What "everyone else sees" is very, very often wrong.

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