Mirotic out, Hinrich possibly back in Chicago North

Mirotic out, Hinrich possibly back in Chicago North

The Bulls will travel to Milwaukee for game three tonight, but they should be greeted by a home court atmosphere that's louder and more raucous than the United Center. It's cheaper to buy tickets in Milwaukee and any fans willing to do the extra drive are more likely to be extra loud.

Nikola Mirotic has already been reported out for the game, but reportedly road the stationary bike and did some shooting at Wednesday's practice. Thibodeau said he has a ways to go.

The fact that he's working on a bike and doing some shooting seems overall like a positive to me though, and I'd hazard a guess he's back in time to face Cleveland or only miss a game of the series.

The Bulls shouldn't need Mirotic to finish off the series against Milwaukee, especially since he doesn't pose any special match up advantage there. However, against Cleveland where he can force Kevin Love to run around the perimeter and space the floor, he could be a big difference maker.

Kirk Hinrich is questionable tonight but practiced fully on Wednesday. I'd guess that he'll end up giving it a go. I'll also resist the urge to say something mean about whether or not that will actually be helpful (but apparently not resist the urge to say something passive aggressive).

As for the game, the Bulls are trending in the right direction against Milwaukee in terms of their habits. They did a much better job rebounding and limiting turnovers in game two than game three while a worse job in shot making.

Derrick Rose struggled to find room in game two and wasn't quite so effective as game one. However, the good news is that if they continue to play with good habits, box out, control turnovers that they can win even without a great shooting night and if the shooting comes alive then it likely becomes a blow out.

Chicago hasn't even gotten anything out of Pau Gasol yet.

Milwaukee doesn't really have much in the way of shot creation so the Bulls defense has looked excellent for the most part, it hasn't really been tested either.

While anything can happen on any given night, but I'd give Chicago about a 75% chance of victory any time they play the Bucks, and see no reason to view it differently tonight.

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  • It's not too often the prospect of a player coming back from injury is a major downer; but here we are.

    I disagree that Rose was not as effective in game 2. Granted he started off with very poor shooting, but ultimately was able to get some points up in the second half, and his total stat line was near triple-double territory. He also hit all his free-throws, and his 3-point shooting wasn't awful. Although not spectacular, If Rose can give that type performance on a nightly basis...I'll take it.

    If I was going to bet on tonight's game, my money would be on Milwaukee. The Bulls are due for a let-down game, and I think the Bucks will come out aggressive, with their backs now against the wall. That being said, I also think tonight will be the only game Milwaukee wins in this series. Hopefully I'm wrong and the Bulls sweep, but we'll see.

  • "Chicago hasn't even gotten ANYTHING out of Pau Gasol yet?" I guess 11 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, and 3 assists isn't anything. I agree Pau has not played as well as he has in the regular season, but come on Doug.

    Last time I checked the team with the most points win, right? Also, rebounds give you possessions, and if you don't have the ball you can't score, right? And I believe that an assist leads to a basket, correct? If Niko had the same stat line that Gasol the other night would you have said that Niko had not given the Bulls anything? (Be honest) If Cameron Bairstow had been forced to play because of injuries and had that stat line people on this board would be delirious with joy.

    Also, consider that Pau has been aggressively double-teamed during the series. This has hampered his performance but has opened up the court for other players. It is fair to criticize players. But to focus on one player and say that he hasn't given you anything- when that is totally untrue- is a disservice to an honest discussion. Curious that you didn't say anything about Taj giving the Bulls 0 points and 1 rebound.

  • i keep hoping that they will play some of the brooks/rose/butler backcourt together. milwaukee traps a lot and brooks/rose together can help make them pay and limit turnovers. i wonder if the greek freak guards butler tonight and they stop doubling pau every catch

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    In reply to piggy7:

    I'd like to see this backcourt too, but Hinrich is more likely to be in the lineup for his defense, and The Bucks have such a long, lengthy backcourt this might be the better matchup for the Bulls to use.

  • Punked. Generally a phrase invoked by those attempting such cowardly action and those receiving as well. More often then not I think the sentiment of a I'll say majority of Bulls Conf. bloggers have advocated "not responding" when teams try to dirty up the game as in rough up Bulls players. Usually this tactic emerges more so in desperation or in some cases is a team's modus operandi though not so much since the league buckled down post Pistons/Knicks.

    Bottom line: it's easy to blah, blah, blah as a fan, but I have always had an emotional tie to players I like and my team in general. That is when they are legit and not a bunch of stiffs paraded out by a franchise that is inept or just doesn't give a damn. And this team is a legit assemblage that's for sure.

    Simply, if I'm the Bulls at the first sign of cheap shot/overly aggressive play from say Cro(as in Cro Magnon aka ZaZa Gabor) or fake tough guy aka skinny ass wannabee John Henson, I simply shove the guy hard in the chest I mean as in slam. You see players that people don't mess with throughout the league do this over the course of time again and again. And when you do that it shocks the other guy. At the same time you say something to the effect of, "Yeah that's right, f-ck you motherf-cker and your cheap ass shit. yeah, f-ck you asshole." And basically you go at them at say half force so that you don't really get to them and get suspended etc. and hopefully your teammates are on the same page and jump in to "stop" you in essence protecting you while at the same time the statement has been made.

    Again, I realize I'm probably going to be the lone voice in the night on this one, and that's OK. And I'm no tough guy or normally a believer in confrontations like that in fact usually karma and the said moron themselves will bring about their own demise. Still, when somebody crosses the line in a physical contest like professional sports sometimes you do have to fight back or it will continue to happen and players like Niko(and Derrick getting slammed to the ground by Dwight Howard and clouted on the nose under the basket by Dirk) will continue to happen just my opinion. I'd be surprised anyway if we don't see more desperate and cheap shot tactics from Cro Magnon and some other fake tough guy stand ins be it the Greek Freek, Jerryd Bayless or whomever. Just sayin.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You are not the lone voice regarding this line of thought. ZaZa is a dirty player, continually making non-basketball plays in a willful attempt to hurt other players. They only way to put a guy like that in his place, is to fight fire with fire. Take a closer look at the dunk Jimmy had over ZaZa in game 2; ZaZa basically went for Jimmy's face, and whacked him pretty good. After seeing the replay, I'm surprised Jimmy was able to complete the dunk (which just shows how tough Butler is both physically to make the play, and mentally to not retaliate against CroMag).

    They only tricky part is not getting ejected/suspended for standing up to these types of opponents. Preferably they can put Nazr in the game to toss a guy on his ass (much like he did to Lebron James). Nothing wrong with a little on-court attitude adjustment.

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    In reply to RoadWarrior:

    We seem to forget how the Bulls lost their heads against the Miami Heat and the Bulls still lost the series. Most teams have an enforcer who will try to rattle the other team by using these bully tactics but a veteran team that is focused on winning will ignore them, outscore them, and move on to the next series.
    You don't want to look like pussies, but you don't want to get baited into cheap technical fouls and possible ejections either. Winning cures all.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    At this point, since his injury a couple of years ago, Pachulia is nothing more than a steroid fueled hockey goon. just check out the backne on that guy, although it doesn't appear to be as bad as it did during the regular season.

    After the Bulls last regular season game against the Bucks, I was worried that if we had to play them in the playoffs he was going to injure one(or some) of our players. Well, it looks like he might have gotten Niko. I also think that the refs could have called a foul on the Milwaukee player(Mayo?) than initially collided with Niko when Niko initially had momentary possession of the ball before the collision knocked it loose and caused the scrum on the floor. This might have avoided Niko's injury and the resulting technicals that ensued. Water under the bridge now, but maybe the refs will take that into account and call the rest of the series a little closer, I'm sure that they've heard from the league since game 2.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I'm on board with you 100% RW. I'm also on board with sending Nazr in the game on a Kamikaze mission to take out Zaza as BullsMan suggested.

  • Resistance to say something on grit and kurt is futile! The "grit-ness" will be in full swing tonight at Chicago North.

    On Rose, ineffectiveness from a shooting stand point, yes, but otherwise, I think it was because of Rose that Jimmy had the opportunity to find his groove. Rose's drives are met by at least 3 defenders (especially when Noah is in the game and his man can just simply not worry about him and with Kurt and Noah playing together, there will be two additional bucks defenders that can focus on Rose and Butler) and so Rose is not only running the team (finding open man as per his assist numbers) but also sucking in three defenders so others have a better offensive outing towards a team win.

    Doug - sidebar comment... not sure if you use a "speech to verbal" software but seems the software can't distinguish between "road" and "rode". Other than that...this other comment is purely semantics but needs review...

    "...and limiting turnovers in game two than game three while a worse job in shot making...

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    The Bulls should win this game, as Milwaukee just can't score enough. They had their chance last game but couldn't make layups.
    I see another good game by Rose, Butler and Pau. Rebounding will be the key. Again.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Noah also missed layups, 3 if I recall right. I know he grabbed a lot of RBs, but come on, layups should be, what, 85% makes. Six points can swing a game.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yeah and tonight it got even worse.. his around the basket game, which has never been great, is really in need of some confidence right now. At least he's been active enough to contribute much more off the ball than he did in the regular season.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    He is evidently now a player who needs to focus even to make layups! If he doesn't, he misses the bunnies. He needs to work on this or the handwriting is on the wall.

  • I know this is pointless now, but Thibs refusal to give McDermott minutes earlier now bites them in ass with Mirotic out. Now we're possibly looking at some minutes for Nazr? And watch Hinrich steal minutes from Brooks tonight. Getting a bad vibe about tonight.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    I also wanted to see McDoug get playing time but I don't understand the connection between him and Niko's absence.

    If they're going to play Nazr it's because they need a fourth big man, which McDoug is not. If they need another shooter type, they can play Snell more.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    McD could have taken some of the "3" minutes when Niko plays small forward. Obviously not an apples to apples comparison, but it would give the Bulls some situational flexibility and options. Moot point since Thibs has rendered the #11 player in the draft useless.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    mehh... I guess Thibs could have played him a little more, but the two main culprits who have "rendered the #11 player in the draft useless" are.. 1. Injury and 2. The #11 player in the draft

  • The connection between McDermott and Mirotic's absence is that Mirotic is often used at SF with Gibson at PF and either Gasol or Noah at center. If McD would have gotten more burn time then he could be seamlessly inserted at backup SF in Mirotic's absence.

  • Any minutes that you think McD should get should go to Snell. The Thibs hatred runs deep here...

  • Be careful Doug, any criticism of one of the top 10 players in the NBA(perhaps even in NBA history, who knows) is simply unwarranted, unwelcomed on this site(even by its host) as well as dishonest, disrespectful and denigrating.

    It is somewhat surprising that his mother is a regular commenter on your site, perhaps you should invite her to your draft party this year. It is also surprising that a woman of her age(and from Spain) would be such an avid follower of professor John Hollinger, perhaps she met him in an English as a second language class at the University of Memphis.

  • As for the Bulls having a "home court advantage" even in Milwaukee, you would think that would not happen at a playoff game, especially their first in several years. I would expect a pretty fired up crowd, urging their underdog team into a frenzied type effort. We shall see.

  • Gee, who could have predicted that in the playoffs teams with even half a functioning brain cell would get physical with Mr. PER and send a double team at him forcing him to give the ball up or commit a turnover by forcing the action thus neutralizing his offense(10.5ppg on 9-29 shooting), oh yea, I did. The only thing the Bucks haven't done yet is run pick and roll at him on every single offensive possession. As offensively challenged as they are you'd think that Kidd will figure this out eventually. I guess that MCW just isn't a pick and roll type pg, you can bet that Brandon Knight would be doing it, as will Irving and the Cav's in round 2. But that is O.K., playoff performance is irrelevant(it can be explained away) as long as you post a regular season PER of 22-23.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yea, the problem with that is their game plan to double Pau at every touch is directly correlated to them getting absolutely smoked by the Bulls' guards. Also, Pau's ball movement and passing have been huge. He's head and shoulders above the best Boozer we ever saw, and he is paid far less than Boozer was. Tonight Pau got raped, the non-calls with him were absolutely astounding. Yes, there were I believe two in which he just fell on his ass and complained, those were meritless complaints. But those two aside, they were over his back to the point where I started having to rewind to make sure what seemed obvious was indeed that obvious. Needless to say, it was still a raping of over the back no matter how many times I did this. Really poor game on the officials part, I'm all for letting them play, but come on.. even if you throw out the non-calls, they badly butchered a handful of other ref decisions in virtually every area.

    Oh, and all those who thought the "Derrick Rose was holding back for the playoffs" thing wasn't legit.. I give you game 3 of Bucks Bulls. The only thing to worry about in regards to Rose is hoping the vicious bastard spinning the universe's injury wheel doesn't strike him down again.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    He put up nine 3s dude.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The threes aren't the proof of what he was holding back. The proof is that he's willingly giving his body up at the basket. Something he's done more in three games in this series than he did in the entire regular season combined(that sounds like hyperbole but incredibly, it might actually be true). Obviously I'm not saying Rose will shoot like this every game, he never did pre 2011. But I am confident that he will drive to the hole with no regard for who's coming to clock him, something many thought he'd never do again.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    **and by "he never did pre 2011" I mean that he never consistently shot that well from deep in his pre-injury prime.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    Rose clearly outplayed Butler tonight. Butler was good on 2s but 12.5% on 3s.

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    In reply to Roman F:

    He made five dude

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    In reply to Roman F:

    and one was at the end to beat the clock come on 5/8 is good no matter how u try to spin it

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    Rose played like an MVP in game 3. Not so much because of his stat line, but rather his ability to take over the game and do whatever needed to be done to get the win. That performance shows Rose is still capable of playing at an elite, MVP level.

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