Bulls edge Knicks as Brewer scares the hell out of me

So imagine this, the Bulls are up by four with 13 seconds left and New York is out of timeouts. They’re taking the ball out of their own backcourt and racing it up the court. With six seconds to go, what do the Bulls do? Take an intentional foul?!

In a serious WTF moment, Ronnie Brewer appeared to intentionally foul Anthony sending him to the line for two free throws raising the Knicks odds of winning the game from about .0001% to 2-3%. Sure it was a minor mistake, but how was this not talked about?

Melo is still 12 feet off the three point line, and he wasn’t in a shooting motion. Figure it takes him 2-3 more seconds to generate a three point shot with some type of move, then the ball is in the air for another 2-3 seconds, and even if he lands the shot the Bulls are up by one with no more than two seconds left on the clock.

They have a time out, advance the ball, and they could throw it to a Knicks player under the basket and the Knicks still probably wouldn’t get off a full court heave in time to have a shot at the game. Instead, Melo makes both free throws, the Bulls in bound and are fouled with 5 seconds left, split the free throws, and New York is now down three with 5 seconds left to go.

Obviously a pretty crappy situation with no timeouts as Melo ends up shooting a 30 footer to try to tie the game. He misses, but they had a reasonable chance, because of a horrible end game situation.

I hope Tom Thibodeau didn’t actually ask Brewer to do this and that it was simply a brain fart on Brewer’s part, but it’s rare that an intentional foul like this would not be called by the head coach. It always scares me how brilliant people can be so stupid at the end of games though.

You see it all the time with clock management, and I think every team would be best to employ a smart person to sit on the sidelines of a game and layout the strategy to be taken when the coach has five seconds to decide it and frequently screws it up. The number of opportunities lost due to time out management and not knowing when to foul is simply breathtaking.

Fortunately, Derrick Rose is still a bad ass

The Knicks really had no answer for Derrick Rose until the end of the game. Of course, that’s the best time to have an answer for Derrick Rose, but he carved them up all night, scoring with ease in the paint and finding the open man with the pass. The Knicks tried a variety of strategies, but Derrick’s simply too big, too strong.. [yeah yeah you know the rest].

There aren’t many more superlatives you can use to describe Derrick, because he’s a true superstar.

That said, the missed free throw at the end of the game has to be at least a twinge concerning. I still feel confident with Rose on the line at the end of games. He’s missed on three free throws in the fourth quarter all year. Unfortunately, two were against Miami for the lead, and one was against the Knicks that would have completely sealed the game.

The Miami ones potentially cost the Bulls the victory, the Knicks one will be forgotten tomorrow. Hard to rip on a guy for missing free throws when he’s shooting around 92% in the fourth quarter, but it’s tough when all the misses are in critical situations.

Your PF struggling? Play Chicago!

Carlos Boozer chipped in plenty of efficient scoring for the Bulls. He had 16 points on 12 shots with a couple of assists and nine boards. Nothing to complain about there right?

Well he did help limit Stoudemire to a season high 34 points, on 59% shooting with 11 boards, 2 assists, against only 1 turnover. Knicks fans have spent half the season trying to figure out how to free up Stoudemire for better looks. The answer was obvious, go up against Carlos Boozer.

To be fair, this was a tough match up for Boozer who doesn’t have the athleticism to stick with Amare who typically set up on the perimeter and drove past him. The Bulls needed to get more help defense around the basket, because there’s no way Carlos is going to check Amare on the perimeter.

They know Carlos can’t stop a guy, but they didn’t put the right scheme in place to provide him help.

Jimmy Butler representing

Jimmy Butler had an encouraging performance including a clutch 12 footer at the end of the game. He came in and played some excellent defense late which is what the Bulls need from him.

Unfortunately his offensive flaws were on display as well. He missed Boozer wide open under the basket on a fast break opportunity and looked scared to shoot at times forcing the Bulls to take worse shots later.

However, given his limited role, those are minor complaints. It was nice to see Butler building on his strengths and playing some tremendous defense at a critical time against great players.

Omer watch starting

After a strong start and some tremendous defense, Omer hasn’t been impacting the game as much as in the past. His limited offensive repertoire is still on display, but his beastly defense and rebounding have trickled off a bit.

Not panic time for the guy, whom Bulls fans have probably hyped up beyond reasonable expectations [seriously, I’ve seen people saying he’ll get 10 million dollar a year offers next season], but his struggles have been noteworthy. Hopefully we find ways to continue to maximize his strengths and hide his flaws.

Gimmie the hot sauce

Kyle Korver’s one guy who’s really stepped up with Deng/Rip out. He’s helped the Bulls provide plenty of offense in his typically efficient manner. His defense has been steady as well [and quite honestly, better than his athleticism should allow].

The Bulls miss Deng’s rebounding when Kyle is in at SF, but Kyle’s doing all you could reasonably ask of the guy and probably a bit more with his extended playing time, so he gets my ‘atta boy!’.

Wish I could say the same of Brewer

Ronnie Brewer’s been a bit of a roller coaster. After a strong start, shooting the ball, his jump shot has tailed off.

The Bulls need more from Brewer offensively, and it may not be fair to ask that of him. It’s just not his skillset. However, with both Rip and Deng out, Brewer’s offensive woes become much more pronounced.

Good win

Yes, it was harder than you’d like. Yes, it was an ugly ending. However, a road win without Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton is a good win and one the Bulls really needed.

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  • If Rose could hit free throws at the end of the game, then Brewer's foul was the right play. By fouling, the bulls insure that the Knicks are never shooting to tie the game. The strategy assumes that the bulls can inbound the ball and hit free throws though. And I like the strategy against Melo, who is one of the best at hitting those late game threes.

    Thibs did say he didn't want the foul at that point, but I have to believe they talked about doing that because there is no way Brewer did that on his own.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    They would have never been shooting to tie the game anyway, the Bulls wer up by 4 not by 3. By the time Melo's shot went down, even if he hit it, there would have likely been no time on the clock or 2 seconds at most. Bulls advance the ball and just throw it in bounds on their half of the court and the game would end, because there wouldn't be enough time to hoist up another shot, beyond a possible baseball throw from full court.

    The foul dramatically raised the Knicks possibility to win the game and Melo, in fact, had a chance to tie the game on a 30 foot three which he would have never had if they had not fouled.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    The Knicks played it pretty terribly as well not going for the intentional miss. Although good luck getting Carmelo to give up a point!

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    So if they play it your way, Melo is taking a 30 footer for the win if Melo hits the 3 or gets fouled in the act of shooting. There is no way it takes Melo four seconds to go 5 feet and take a 3pter. At most 2 seconds come off of the clock.

  • 1. Although Korver has been playing better defense and gives effort....he was giving up shot for shot. Landry Fields was burning him on the other end giving hope to the Knicks.
    2. I don't think you can complain about Butler. He needs more minutes to get comfortable and when he is not the first 4 of the featured players, it is difficult to do those perfect things without a training camp. He looks more smooth than Brewer. Off-course, Brewer is experienced and Thibs will trust him in clutch.
    3. The problem with Asik is his minutes have been screwed. It has just been a bad miss here and there in rebounds. He played well in Philly. He guards the paint much better than Noah and you cannot measure his impact in stats.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    BTW, Butler looks like he doesn't have the happy feet and hands of James Johnson and seems stronger than both Deng and Brewer with almost the same quickness as Brewer.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    actually he looks like he doesn't have the happy feet that he had just a few quarters ago. As I said yesterday, it looks like he has already gotten over his rookie jitters, at least on D.

  • Butler looked great defending Melo in the 4th. When Melo made his moves, he didn't give up any ground and stayed in his chest. He looks a little confused with defensive rotations at points, but that's to be expected from a rookie. Hopefully he progresses to the point where Thibs will rest Deng consistently.

  • Kinda nervous at the end of this one as well, but hey, as you said, Doug, a road win is a road win.
    -Did you notice the look on DRose's face after he missed that first free throw? It looked like someone (I presume a teammate) said something to him and he just looked IRRITATED.
    -I agree, it is nice to see Butler get some minutes. I only really saw the 4th Q, but I agree that he looked really tentative on offense. A couple of times he had the ball pretty wide open on the wing and he didn't seem to know what to do with it - drive, pass, or shoot. But as everyone has said, he's a rook, so he'll get better. What is he listed at - 6' 7"? He looked pretty small defending Melo a few times there.
    -My 18th year old daughter has apparently discovered DRose and how "cute" he is - she was chewing me out pretty good for not telling her the Bulls were on TV. Living in Madison I can't see the CSN games, but they obviously are getting on national TV denough that between ABC, TNT, ESPN, and of course WGN superstation, I've been keeping my Bulls fix under control.
    (I've been a fan since the Bob Love/Dick Motta days!!)

  • In reply to MadTown56:

    I think Rose was just pissed at himself. I don't think his reaction was related to teammates, though I know what you're talking about when someone came up to him and tried to give him the encouragement.

  • Doug im glad you pointed this out. On the broadcast, the intentional foul was a 'coaching tactic', Reggie went as far as saying he liked the foul. It appeared Thibbs had this call all the way. My question is why in the world would you put the ball in there hand with a chance to tie?

  • Doug, many good points today.

    I've been concerned about whats going on with Asik since the game that he started and played 39 minutes, against the Bobs I think. What has concerned me most however, has been that since that day Thibs has started treating him like the rookie that he was in the first half of last season. After playing 39, he played like 40 minutes in the next 5 game total. Asik has always seemed to me to be a guy who plays much better when he gets some extended minutes, 2-3-4 minutes a half isn't going to cut it. So what happened first,did he start playing bad and lost his minutes, or did he lose his minutes which lead to the diminished play.

    I also like that Thibs went with the straight up match-ups at 4 5 with Noah taking Chandler(at center) and Boozer faking Amare(at power forward). I think that you minimize Noahs strengths by making him guard 4's that play away from the basket, and it further breaks down our entire team D. Boozer is a disaster for the team no matter who he covers. Let him get destroyed by whomever, but put the rest of the team in the best position to maintain our normal team D, that means Noah playing the center position, at least there will be someone near the rim to pickup whomever Boozer is escorting down the lane.

    Boozers new knickname, the Spectator or the Escort.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    rofl, I'll go with the escort, that's priceless.

  • Did you see Jimmie Butler's defense on Carmelo Anthony during the 4th quarter last night. I believe he held Carmelo to just 4 points in the 4th quarter--and when Butler scores he looks good? The kid can flat out play!. Thibs has got to let this kid play at least 20
    minutes a game as he learns how to play with the team and they with him so they get to know him better--and get playing confidence in him. He looks like he could be Deng's backup.

    Trade for Howard?
    When we compare other teams to the Bulls, the Bulls team we have now stand out as being outstanding. Who likes the Carmelo Anthony deal (Denver and not New York)--what would Chicago have left--after giving away Noah, Deng, Asik, and/or Gibson--Howard can only play one position. Even though we Chicagoans want the Bulls to be the best team and have the best players--it's more practical to keep this team together. And look how many years it took the Bulls to get us where we are now, as a legitimate contender for a possible championship.
    Denver got the better of the Anthony trade and what does New York have now as a result of giving so many players away to get just one player who can only play one position--a losing team. Haste makes a waste--have we all forgotten that? Even though we
    wanna win now--this year--but the Bulls can still get better this year with the right deals--being maybe just one offensive player away.
    I am also sorry to say, that the Bulls just need to acquire players to replace Deng and Hamilton for this year--and I know that seems like an impossible task and no one can replace the experience and talent they have--but Butler could use the experience and who knows how good he can be with some playing time and it looks like he can play defense and also score. There's another 2 guard out there that the Bulls can acquire with a injured player exception for Deng being out the rest of the season. Training Butler and another 2 guard to play with the current team may be the best route for the team.
    Why should the Bulls jeapardize all the money they have invested in Deng and Hamilton for only one season??? The other Bulls players must make up for their defense and offense--and we must realize that no one is irreplaceable. The Bulls can win even without Deng--who really needs an operation ASAP on that
    wrist--and then the Bulls would acquire an exception they can use to get another player this season. Sure, the problem is that a player like Deng is almost irreplaceable--but, in reality anyone can be replaced and that's the reality Deng must face. The Bulls need his services not just for this year and for several years ahead--but why should he be allowed to put his future in jeapordy. I am sure the Bulls have insured their players--so they are not losing any money if they are really smart.
    Hamilton needs more time to heal also--his injury is no fun neither. I had an injury like Hamilton's while running track and playing baseball--it never seemed to heal at first--until I just stopped playing for a season. I am not saying Hamilton should take off the rest of the season--but the reality is that he and the Bulls cannot afford to allow him to keep re-injuring himself over and over trying to play--his injuring lingers on from trying to play injured with Detroit and guess what--he may also need much more
    time to heal.
    Sure these atheletes are paid millions of dollars--but still they are not super human but only flesh and blood--and a healthy Hamilton and Deng could just make the Bulls a championship team to remember next year--and look at what Dallas did last year when Butler was injured--they replaced him and went on to a championship.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    I wouldn't worry about trading for Howard. He doesn't want to be here, and he's not coming here.

    I disagree with your rationale though. Rose is much better than Melo, Howard is much better than Amare, the pair of them also fit much better on the court together because they play in different spaces.

    It'd be nothing like the Knicks situation, it'd be much closer to a Shaq/Kobe situation IMO. The Bulls would likely win multiple championships if they acquired Dwight Howard. It'd just be trivially easy to put together the rest of the pieces.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Because of the fit at a minimum, Rose and Howard, would be a better tandem than even Lebron and Wade.

    Hopefully, if it happened the personal dynamic between Rose and Howard would resemble the one between Lebron and Wade moreso than the one between Kobe and Shaq.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Anthony held Anthony to 4 points in the 4th quarter ... when he stopped trying to be a point forward and decided to iso to be the hero.

  • fb_avatar

    I was going crazy thinking why on earth did he foul Melo, and the announcers acted like it was the most normal thing in the world to do.

    That was crazy! And it was obviously intentional, he seeked him out, fouled him and didn't complain or go "oops" or anything. WHY?WHY?WHY?

    Anyway, if we lost 'cause of that I would have cried.

  • In reply to Micdiddy:

    Yea, my neighbors may not have know what was happening at that moment, but they sure knew that something was happening.

  • In reply to BigWay:


    I almost fell off my treadmill when that happened.

  • Jimmy Butler needs more playing time...PERIOD!!! I have been saying since the beginning of the season, the kid has game and he's ready to contribute now. And glad to see the Bulls pull out the win but hopefully the team can get healthy soon and beat a team that aren't bottom dwelers.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    You and I both!
    I've been on the Jimmy Butler bandwagon all season. He just needs floor time to play through some mistakes and find himself. The fact that he defends well is such a bonus, it should allow him some leeway to develop on the offensive end.

    Jimmy will have his ups and downs but in the end he will prove to be a solid contributor on a bargain 4-year rookie contract.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I am virtually certain that Brewer will be gone next season(for financial reasons only), and Butler will have to take his place in the rotation, so hopefully we can get him enough time this season to be ready to contribute as a regular rotation player next season.

    I'd love to see him develop enough to contribute in this seasons playoffs, but given the depth of our roster that seems to be a bit much to hope for.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If Deng is healthy to come back soon and Butler falls out of the rotation it's no big deal. I don't think he needs a lot of developing (that's the point of picking 4 year players), give him a couple of dozen games to work it out next year and he'll do fine.

  • Somebody mentioned how tall is Jimmy Butler? He's listed at 6'7" but measured 6'7.75" with shoes(almost 6'8"). Although he doesn't have an impressive wingspan(6'8"). He's kind of narrow so it makes him look smaller than he actually is. I like the way he bodies his opponent(kind of like Keith Bogans used to do) and gives up little air space and he's pretty strong for his small frame. I would like to see him in spot minutes against Lebron James next game to see if he can slow him down. If he can, then having Deng, Butler and Brewer cutting off the head of the snake should be an interesting dynamic should they meet again this post season. Carmelo Anthony is a strong player so he played defense at an elite level....let's see if he can continue his development. On offense, well the whole Bulls offense seems a step late and chaotic at times....Thibodeau has to tighten that up.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    If that with shoe measurement is from the NBA predraft camp, then that makes Butler a solid 6'6", a big 2 or a small 3. To me he looks a little bigger than that, bigger than Brewer I would guess.

    Since we are having a bit of a Jimmy lovefest today, some nice predraft Butler stuff.

    Cool statistics:

    Butler ranked among the Big East leaders in six categories: scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, offensive rebounds per game and minutes played.

    Fairly impressive given that the Big East is a no slouch league.

    Reminds me of: Wesley Matthews, not a horrible result for a late first round pick. I'd be thrilled if he turned out to be Thabo with more O.

    What Insiders Say: Marquette coach Buzz Williams

    "Jimmy is the smartest player I've ever coached."

    "Being able to have switchables, I've always believed in. But being able to have the switchable that's as intelligent as Jimmy has kind of turned the tide for us, because it allows us to hide some of our deficiencies, but it also allows us to enhance some of the things that I think that we do well. And it allows our guys probably to have more of a defined niche defensively because of Jimmy's ability to adapt to whatever it is that we're doing. Somebody used the word linchpin yesterday. I think that's a really good word, because that's kind of what he is."

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Butler measured 6'6.25" without shoes at the pre-draft camp. He must wear small shoes though because he looked a touch shorter than Melo when he was guarding him and Melo measured as the same height.

    I don't know if Butler is really going to be capable of guarding the 2, and if he's just a 3 then that's going to limit his minutes to 10 a game even with Brewer gone unless the Bulls shift Deng over to the 4 more often. Which I'm all for, Deng as a stretch 4 is something the Bulls should do more, and Boozer on the court is something the Bulls should do less. ;)

  • About the Howard trade, if it were to occur, we have a lot more depth than New York did when they made the trade. I don't think that we give up 3 of our 4 bigs but I could see including Watson since he has been playing out of his mind. If the deal is Deng, Noah, Asik and Watson for Howard and Hedo I think we are fine.

    PG Rose/Lucas
    SG Rip/Brewer/Korver
    SF Hedo/Brewer/Korver/Butler
    PF Boozer/Gibson
    C Howard/Gibson

    Gibson and Boozer are on the floor for 12 minutes together, and Taj is playing 30 minutes a night for the rest of the season until we can sign a ring chasing vet min in the offseason. We still have a bit of depth unlike New York after the trade.

  • I am curious is even the multiple reining defensive player of the year good enough to make up for the deficiencies of "the Escort"

  • The NBA measurements are kinda off when they include "with shoes". For instance Westbrook is listed at 6'3" and so is Rose but Westbrook is a little bit taller and Rose even said that before. Butler is 6'6.25" without shoes, Luol Deng I think is 6'7.5". It's too bad Omer Asik doesn't jump very high, I think I remember reading somewhere that he had a standing reach of 9'3" or something like that. If he could have better timing and jumping ability, he'd be the white Dwight Howard in blocking shots.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    Yes, and if Kyle Korver had better athleticism, passing skills, and defensive ability, he'd be the white Michael Jordan.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    Listed heights are meaningless. Team's can list a guy at whatever they want.

  • Derrick Rose's Fatal Flaw: A Mid Range Jump Shot

    I like Derrick, I really really do. We haven't had someone like him since MJ.

    A few games ago he choked missing two free throws at the end of the game against the Heat. He knows it, we know it, and the league knows it. I wouldn't be surprised if some teams try a Hack a Rose strategy in future games to test his free throw shooting.

    But what I didn't see in the Heat game is a simple Rip Hamilton mid-range jump shot from Rose. In the last minute I saw him try his one handed push shot from 12 feet out instead of a good old fashioned jump shot. Am I wrong about this?

    Rose either shoots a 3 pointer or does one of his incredible drives to the bucket (halfback style cradling the ball next to his chest or his 44 inch vertical leap push shot).

    I don't remember Derrick just catching a ball 15 feet out and taking a good old fashioned jump shot for an easy score. I heard he worked on a post up move during the summer.

    Am I missing something or perhaps don't see enough games (I drive a lot and listen to games on the radio)? Does Derrick have a good mid-range jump shot? (Somewhere, Chet Walker is smiling.)

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    I agree and you're not missing something with your point, Rose 15ft jumper is suspect. He's an all star but his mid range game is iffy at best and his free throw percentage at the end of games can't be too ideal either. That's why I've said in the past that although he's good, there's still room for a lot of improvement to his game. He's young and still learning so he should be ok in the foreseeable future.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Rose had a great mid range jumper two years ago, but he stopped shooting it so much in order to focus more on three point shooting last year.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Exactly! Towards the end of the 09-10 season Rose was becoming nearly automatic from 16-18 feet - his elbow jumper.

    In addition to expanding his 3-pointer, Rose now shoots many more floaters. In fact it seems like he has a 2-3 different versions: the floater, the push shot, the jump hook, etc. And Rose has extended his range on his floaters out to about 14 feet at times.

    The floater has become a more important shot in the NBA the last few years. I think the quick release is the main advantage. It is used primarily by guards shooting over bigs.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    The problem with this theory is there's no such thing as an easy score from 15 feet out. Even the best shooters from that range score well below league average efficiency.

    Rose is doing the right thing trying to score either at the rim or from three.

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