Butler rises to the occasion, helps put away Phoenix

Butler rises to the occasion, helps put away Phoenix

This is the Jimmy Butler I've been waiting for this year. The guy who aggressively fired up 23 shots, and canned several of them down the stretch. Butler's 32 points was a season-high, and came on the heels of his game-saving block on Paul George back in Chicago. He's looking more and more like he did early in the year, where his stardom seemed to be rising further.

What's special about Jimmy is his ability to close out games on both ends, especially in tight situations. Last night, Phoenix was drawing a dark cloud of concern over the game, but Jimmy decided to not let it turn into a game of fate:

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 19.55.13

That's Jimmy scoring nine points in the final 2:46, effectively ruining the Suns' evening and acquiring the Conference lead for the Bulls. I honestly didn't think I'd type that out after 11 games.

Also, kudos to Kirk Hinrich for showcasing his 2005 self. I've found myself feeling less and less concerned when Kirk is shooting, primarily due to his lesser role. But last night, knowing full well he'd get extended run, I caught myself actually maintaining that lack of concern. It felt good. Now, obviously, by expressing this I've jinxed him for the rest of the year probably.

BTW, Mark Karantzoulis made this and it is brilliant:

But let's talk about the big thing: No Derrick Rose. Even though the Bulls handed over 19 turnovers, there were times when the offense had a better flow offensively. When Rose is active, a lot of time is spent pounding the ball on the high top, whereas last night the ball was swung more, which created better movement. I'm hoping this isn't completely lost on Rose himself for when he returns, or the coaching staff in general for that matter. That's the type of offense that generates good looks, which begs the question: Will inserting Rose back into the line-up remove some of those looks? I'm not judging based on his absence, but I'm saying it's something that needs some attention.

The Bulls are in Golden State tomorrow evening to take on the Warriors, and I can't decide whether to have a Blu-Ray on stand-by for when Steph Curry scores his 27th point in the early stages of the second quarter, or if I should take off the Bulls glasses and just enjoy excellence. Unless of Jimmy succeeds in convincing Fred Hoiberg in guarding Steph from the get-go. That could be downright interesting.

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  • Mort, thanks for the recap and keep'em coming. It's a lot to ask for a recap after every game, but that's what you and Mark signed up for. Running a blog ain't easy!

    We used to complain that Rose had to do everything by himself, but I'm starting to think that was the role he was best in. Now that he is surrounded with legit offensive options, it's becoming clear that he's not really a ball distributor, floor general type. The Bulls might be better off with that kind of player at PG, especially now that Rose's explosiveness has diminished.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I agree with Roman, Glad to have your blog analysis soon after the game, Mort.

    Thanks, Mark, for a great video recapping some hilights of Kirk's excellent night. Even seeing his play throughout the game I could hardly believe it!

    And thanks,Kirk, for a very entertaining evening for Bulls' fans! Keep it up, man.

    I could not believe that Fred was starting Kirk. Obviously Hoiberg saw something. Good coaching, Fred.

    Now coach Rose to try a similar type of game.

  • What would have been the odds prior to the season that we would be debating after 11 games who is the better point guard for the Bulls- Hinrich or Rose?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Absolute zero!

    Of course, one game does not a PG make. But, when Rose returns, imagine what Kirk will add to the backups if he continues to play like this.

  • Snell and Noah combine for 0 points in 39 minutes. Pathetic. And I don't know what Niko is doing, but it's not related to basketball. If the reason Useless Tony is starting ahead of McDermott is because of Niko's lack of defense then I would bench them both and start McD and Taj.

    Kudos to Butler for nutting up. And good timing for Hinrich to have his one in five good games.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    I'll take 11 boards in only 20 minutes(minus the zombie passes). Noah doesn't have to score is you play him with 4 guys who can, do we have 4.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    "Minus the zombie passes"! When you are on it, BigWay, love your comedic talents!

  • Oh no, the dreaded Hangdog quote from Hoiberg

    "He does such a great job of getting us into our offense and getting our defense organized," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said about Hinrich, who had season highs in points and assists (six)."

    He is still excruciatingly painful to watch play offense or run our offense(into the ground). I’ve been watching the Bulls for nearly 50 years, just seeing him on the court makes me want to stop(not to mention wanting to puke), even when the stats suggest that he might not actually totally suck.

    Without some Hero Ball at the end from Jimmy that game is a major blowjob and we're having a completely different take on Hangdog's game, along with just about everybody else. Brooks was much better than Hangdog in the second half, and we looked cooked when he left with the hammy, until Jimmy happened.

    While I liked Noah's activity(on the boards), he was having one of those mental zombie nights where he makes up his mind to throw a pass into the teeth of the D before he even gets his hands on the ball and despite staring right into the teeth of the D without noticing that the pass has no shot of getting thru. He pulled at least 3 of those last night, one alley oop and a couple of back cuts in the lane. But I'll take 11 rebounds in only 20 minutes of action. Why only 20 Fred? White privilege again?

    Kind of a painful game to watch despite the win, as the Bulls were getting thoroughly outplayed(effort wise and physically) for at least the final 2.5 quarters.

  • Roman F - the 4 comments ahead of mine are a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

    Why the fuck do 2 of the 4 only deal with negativity? The Bulls won a big game to start the Circus Trip against a good team that had won 3 in a row, and it's just "we were lucky, these guys all sucked, what a painful game to watch".

    Watching your team win is PAINFUL???

    Can someone please direct me to the INTELLIGENT Bulls conversation on the internet? When I first got online like 15 years ago, it was RealGM. That ship sailed 5 or 6 years ago, and it was HERE for a while.

    Now that's gone, too.

    Can anyone tell me where to go so I can enjoy an 8-3 team that is the #1 seed in the East?? ANYWHERE?????

    All I can get here is:

    But Hinrich sucks

    But Brooks is too selfish

    But Niko is too soft

    But Pau can't defend pick and roll

    But Snell shouldn't even be in the league

    But McDermott is the slowest, least athletic player EVER

    But Noah can't score from 2 feet out

    I guess I should just check myself out from discussing the Bulls online, because I can't find anyone who doesn't think this team sucks.

  • Hey Don, we've been sympatico for a while now, but after the first quarter, it's hard to find anything enjoyable about last night's game, other than Jimmy going Hero ball at the end. I'll take 26 & 12 from Brooks and Hangdog, and 11 boards in 20 minutes from Noah, but it didn't look/feel all that.

    If you have championship aspirations, which Bulls fans do even if we really don't have the horses to do so, then the only time that any win is a good win is in the playoffs. Perhaps a regular season win against the Cav's, Warriors, Spurs or OKC maybe Clippers qualifies too.

    I know that you are a big Niko fan, and unfortunately he looks lost right now, which none of us really expected coming into this season. Being 8-3 is obviously better than being less than 8-3, but it's hard to say that the team has looked particularly great in getting there. They have 2 maybe 3 good wins and a bunch of meh games. Even Lebron got on his own team for not playing the right way, with the right passion, and they're 8-3 just like us. He knows what a championship team looks and feels like, and he doesn't like how they look right now despite their record.

    Some people are glass half full types and some are glass half empty, a lot of the time that changes from game to game depending on how it went. Unfortunately, I know I'm a glass half empty guy, the product of a nothing short of perfection is good enough upbringing. I'd probably be happier being a glass half full type, but that's just not in the cards at this point in my life.

    I guess you don't do BAB, because there is a lot of hate over there, even if a lot of it is accurate.

  • I guess we find different things "enjoyable", to me any win is enjoyable. I don't care if it's 70-69 or 140-139, a win is a win. I honestly don't know what you mean by "it didn't feel like 26/12".

    Though I can understand an "ugly" 26/12, Magic Johnson putting up 26/12 would be much prettier than the Hinrich/Brooks play last night, but to me that's all about the results. I know basketball is supposed to be a "pretty" game where the individual plays are spectacular, but I'll take a win is a win is a win no matter how ugly it is.

    Niko has looked like shit most of the season, no doubt about it. And I'll admit, if you watched a game with me, I'm MUCH more emotional than I let on with my post-game comments. I yelled "what the fuck Niko" more than once last night, when he made nice pump fakes to get wide open for 12-15 foot bank shots that he damn near broke the glass with.

    Great fucking point about LeBron calling out his 8-3 team, I guess in my eyes the difference is that they went to the Finals last season and brought back the same coach, same system PLUS added Love (compared to last year's playoffs). Conversely, we've brought in an entirely new system - and much like last year's Cavs started 19-20 on their way to the Finals, I expect this year's Bulls to be MUCH better in the second half of the season... and I'm surprised they are 8-3 while most of the players on the roster are performing at a lower level than we all expect of them.

    You probably summed it up best with your "half empty vs half full" comment. I guess I'm a half-full kind of guy, and I know it's a different sport, but I think it comes from my Patriots' fandomness (yeah I know, not a word).

    We had ZERO business beating Warner and the Rams in SB 36, but it happened. The Giants had LESS THAN ZERO business beating the 16-0 team, but they did. The Seahawks were a MUCH better team than the Pats last season, but we got 'em in the Super Bowl.

    The NBA is different of course, not being a one-game-winner-takes-all system, but the best team also doesn't win a 7-game series all the time. Bad matchups, injuries, cold (or hot) shooting, all that shit matters.

    I just think as long as you are a contender (and this year's Bulls certainly are a contender), you have a chance. And that's all you can ask.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    No one is balanced all the time, especially me. I suppose most of us can be too critical on occasion and too tolerant other times.

    But, of course, BB is just entertainment - unless one is an owner, coach, or player. So, on a blog, we each do what we wish as a fan.

    And naturally it is impossible for us to all agree all of the time. But if we did, what would be the point of the blog? It would cease to be entertaining.

    We have many insightful fans here, and you, Don, are a great numbers guy, often with analysis that most of us do not do. I appreciate it.

    BigWay is also a keen observer and frequently provides colorful analysis. He can tend more toward the profane, which I personally do not care for, but I overlook it because I want to see the points he makes. Besides, he can be reallly funny.

    I try to remember, BB is just for entertainment. We are not ridding the planet of terrorists, nor cancer, nor unreasonable politicians! But if BB helps us forget about them for a while, great!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I agree that it's entertainment and therefore can't understand the vitriol sometimes directed towards Bulls management on this and other blogs (by those who comment, not the bloggers Mort/Mark/Doug). It makes sense to be angry at Bulls management if you feel entitled to something you're not getting, but does not make sense if you see basketball as entertainment. Their job is to provide an entertaining product, and they do. The best thing for a team financially is to win championships, so they are motivated to win, for money if nothing else. But when your competitors have the best bargains in the game like LeBron, Steph and even Duncan, and you're stuck overpaying for D-Rose, you're competing with one arm tied behind your back. I don't think Bulls have a top tier FO by any means but they do a solid job and deserve neither vitriol nor derision. Most of us probably aren't as good at our jobs as they are at theirs.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yeah, I apologize if I come off sounding like a dick, unfortunately it just comes naturally to me sometimes. Ask any of my ex-wives, they'll back me up on this one.

    There's no doubt I'm too optimistic most of the time, and of course it is good to have folks with the opposite view to balance things out.

    BigWay is a dick a lot of the time as well, but like you said he makes so many good points you can't really complain. The truth can hurt, and I'll take an honest a-hole any day of the week.

    Don't get me wrong, for the most part I respect everyone's opinion, or I wouldn't waste my time posting/reading here.

  • I am just happy the Bulls keep winning games and are somewhat healthy. If Hoiberg can keep this team winning the games they should win and keep the team healthy, the Bulls can have a chance to contend.

  • I am not a fan of Hinrich at this stage of his career. But one of the problems with Thibs was playing Hinrich at SG, which makes absolutely no sense. As a backup PG in the regular season he can sometimes be acceptable.

    But the real problem is with Gar/Pax going into the season with Brooks and Hinrich as the backup PGs, knowing full well that Rose will miss some games.

    In my mind its about building a playoff roster instead of a regular season roster. We all know neither Brooks nor Hinrich can truly compete in the playoffs, so what are Gar/Pax thinking??? Backup PGs are VERY IMPORTANT to any playoff team, we watched Shaun Livingston, Mathew Dellavadova, and others play well for their teams. Brooks-Hinrich cannot compete at that level, so how is this a playoff ready roster? Bulls have a patchwork roster that will win a lot of regular season games, but likely fall short in the playoffs.

    Additionally, we are all watching patiently for one or two of Mirotic, Snell, McDermott to emerge as a legitimate playoff-quality starter. Not there yet, but must continue to develop these guys, its a LONG season.

    Must admit to being a glass-half-empty guy myself.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Wow. Dellavedova > Hinrich/Brooks???.

    See, THIS is what I'm talking about when it comes to Bulls fans.

    24.9 min
    .346 FG%
    .316 3pt%
    .434 eFG%
    .476 TS%
    6.8 PER
    108 Def Rtg

    That's Dellevadova's playoff numbers from last season, but to a Bulls fan, THAT's VERY IMPORTANT to a playoff team, BETTER than Hinrich, and considered "playing well" for their teams.

    Nothing personal Edward, because I'm pretty sure every Bulls fan here would take Delly over Brooks and Hinrich.

    You have just made my point better than I could ever imagine making it.

    Nothing more I can say.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Don, what you fail to grasp is that A) Jerry Reinsdorf is an evil, greedy old man who bilks the fans out of hard-earned dollars but refuses to spend any of his own B) Jerry Reinsdorf is a kooky old man who is overly loyal to his guys C) Jerry Reinsdorf is patiently waiting for the new CBA with a hard cap -- Edward posted this at least 80 times, usually with bold so you wouldn't miss his important point D) John Paxson is a dumb, lazy President who has no creativity and never takes chances E) Gar Forman is Paxson's lackey and yes-man and is otherwise a carbon copy of him F) Hoiberg is another yes-man G) unless Hoiberg is doomed to be undermined by GarPax because they hate coaches H) Therefore, everything good that happens to the Bulls is due to luck, everything bad is due to greed, stupidity, laziness and incompetence.

    Where are the multiple titles that we are entitled to as TV viewers? The fact that we don't have them tells you something is wrong.

    Nothing more I can say.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The end. Couldn't have said it better myself.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Well, someone has some personal issues/demons, don’t they? Roman F just gave a textbook illogical “straw man” argument. This is where the respondent argues against points of his own manufacture, while ignoring what was originally posted. Notice none of Roman’s points A–H do I mentioned anywhere in my post on this topic, yet Roman sees fit to go off on a tangent with a personal and emotional rant, of his own manufacture entirely. I’m having difficulty imagining the state-of-mind of someone taking the time to type all this vitriol.

    The points I did make were: Hinrich is a PG, why Thibs played him so much at SG I’ll never understand; it was to Hinrich’s detriment. If one analyzes the Bulls-Cavs playoff series, one will see Dellavadova had an excellent series against the Bulls, while Aaron Brooks had trouble staying on the court with his atrocious defense and helter-skelter style of play. Did Dellavadova regress in Cavs other playoff series? Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact he outplayed the Bulls’ backups.

    Bulls-Cavs Series: FG% and 3pt%
    Dellavadova 17-32 53%, 9-21 43%
    Aaron Brooks 9-31 29%, 1-12 8%

    In watching the games, rather than just looking at stats, Dellavadova was a tough physical competitor, getting under the skin of several Bulls players, and a difference maker in several games. In the off-season, Bulls management chose to resign Brooks rather than upgrade at backup PG. After that Cavs series and knowing the East goes through Cleveland, along with Rose’s injury history, I disagreed with resigning Brooks.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I think what happens, Don, is most of us do not watch huge amounts of NBA. We mostly see other players when they play the Bulls.

    So, when we saw Dellavadova in the playoffs, what did we "see"?
    We saw a guy repeatedly making clutch shots from off the bench, including some 20-pt games. We saw tremendous hustle, even his dives onto the floor going after rebounds!

    Some call this the "smell test." He smelled good because he exceeded his expectations based on his regular season play. Whereas, some Bulls' players stunk because they played worse that their regular season.

    So, we want some more guys who will smell great in the playoffs, not "merely" the regular season. Does the team have them? You can see why many fans are concerned.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I see your point, but the thing is that Delly DIDN'T play better than he did during the regular season.

    24.9 min
    .346 FG%
    .316 3pt%
    .434 eFG%
    .476 TS%
    6.8 PER
    108 Def Rtg

    20.6 min
    .362 FG%
    .407 3pt%
    .472 eFG%
    .493 TS%
    8.5 PER
    111 Def Rtg

    Every one of his offensive numbers were down from the regular season.

    BUT, in Game 6 against the Bulls, he had probably his best game of the playoffs: 19 pts on 7/11 fg, 3/6 from behind the arc. So that's what people remember, which I guess is natural.

    But the first 5 games of the Bulls series, he averaged 6.2 pts and 4.2 ast in 21 minutes a game.

    In the series-changing Game 5, he took ONE SHOT (and 2 FTA) in 18 minutes.

    I think people forget that the Bulls were up 2-1 in the series until Gasol got hurt.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Well, you did make your point. I am surprised Delly wasn't better than that. He felt better to me.

    The refs also helped the Cavs out in that series. With less than 2 seconds left in game 4, the Bulls should have had possession plus a technical FT. That likely would game over and a Bulls win. Instead it was a bonehead no call by the refs.

    Throwing Taj out of the game 5 on what should have been a double T instead was another bonehead call by the zebras.

    Can't be sure it would have changed the ECF victor, but I hate to see the refs decide a game and they definitely did game 4 and maybe game 5.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Like Edward said, Delly was better against us than the rest of the playoffs, but until Game 6 his good shooting percentages didn't mean anything because they only added up to 6/4. Anyone can have a decent percentage for a few games if they only take a shot every 4 or 5 minutes.

    And your point was actually better, the officials screwed us hard, as you pointed out. How that official was staring at Blatt and ignored his TO call is just beyond me.

    And Delly's best play was probably the crap he did to Taj, getting him ejected for absolutely no reason. I thought for sure after seeing the replay the zebras would see it was 50/50, but they nailed us hard on that one.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Rustyw, the reason you felt, when watching the Bulls-Cavs playoff series, that Delly was better than how Don is now portraying Delly is, in fact, Delly was better than Don now portrays him. See my longer reply above.

    Bulls-Cavs Series: FG% and 3pt%
    Dellavadova 17-32 53%, 9-21 43%
    Aaron Brooks 9-31 29%, 1-12 8%

    But the larger point of my original post wasn't to praise Delly, but rather question resigning Brooks. Brooks played very poorly and yet Bulls chose to resign him. I disagreed with that resigning as I don't feel it prepared the Bulls for the 2016 playoffs. Hinrich had another year on his contract.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    What you fail to see is this blog has become a joke. I come on once in a while hoping to see change, but the same moron commentators here that bitch about everything and should watch a different team. These people are a joke, but they entertain each other so good for them I guess

  • In reply to Edward:

    Sorry I meant to add this yesterday, but you're 100% right about Hinrich playing SG. It's ridiculous at this stage of his career.

    But I find it hard to bitch at Bulls' management for investing too heavily in backup PGs, when Rose is making $20 million a year. If anything, they have forced him to "man up" and earn his money, which he absolutely hasn't.

    It should make it much easier to let the hometown boy go when he contract expires, or to trade him if anyone is stupid enough to make us a good offer over the next season plus.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Don, my original post wasn't a Delly love fest as you misinterpreted (notice I wrote, "Shaun Livingston, Matthew Dellavadova, and others.."), but to question the resigning of Aaron Brooks as the backup PG. I still disagree with this resigning of free agent Brooks as I don't believe it prepares Bulls for the 2016 playoffs and going through Cavs again.

    Bulls-Cavs Series: FG% , 3pt%,
    Dellavadova 17-32 53%, 9-21 43%,
    Aaron Brooks 9-31 29%, 1-12 8%,

    And the 4.2 assists in 21 minutes you calculated for Delly for games 1-5? Thank you for proving my point!

    How can you say those assists didn't mean anything? I'll take those assist numbers from a backup guard any day. And in the Game 2 Cavs victory Delly had 9 assists in 36 min. What more is a backup supposed to do?

    Aaron Brooks had FIVE ASSISTS for the entire 6-game series, that's 0.8 assists per game.

    "Nothing more I can say."

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