All posts by elpjuly4

Note-A-Bulls: McBuckets gets hot and Jimmy finishes the W in fashion as Bulls down the Grizzlies in Me

One of the more undervalued traditions that the NBA does each season is that every Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Memphis Grizzlies play a home game to honor the Civil Rights Leader. One day after beating the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis, the Bulls hopped on their charter to play in the annual MLK game at the FedEx Forum. Memphis is about the last team you want to play in a back-to-back, because of how hard they play and the mentality they had as a team.

Proving they are one the best fan bases in the league, the FedEx Forum was filled with navy blue. The Bulls sported their typical red road jerseys, while the Grizzlies sported their alternate dark blue sleeved jersey. Robin Lopez squared off against superstar Marc Gasol at center court, and Bulls basketball was on the air. Continuing to serve as the starter in lieu of the struggling Rajon Rondo, Michael Carter-Williams gained possession off Lopez winning the tip. Taking advantage of his start tonight, Paul Zipser was the first player to register a point in the game. As one might expect when playing the Grizzlies, the quarter started out very slow, and points were at a premium. Both teams occasionally got the ball to sink home, as the first half of the quarter wasn’t very eventful. As the first quarter pushed on, the Bulls offense continued to spiral. Missing open jump shots, free throws, and inefficient basketball led to the Bulls scoring fourteen points in the first quarter. However, Memphis wasn’t able to capitalize on the Bulls poor offense in the first. The score after one was 19-14, in favor of Memphis.

The second quarter was about as opposite a quarter as one could see in a basketball game. Points were not at a premium in the second quarter. The first four minutes of the quarter were almost all Memphis, as they extended their lead to seven at the 8:40 mark. JayMychal Green hit a three to give them that seven-point lead, and the Bulls took timeout. This timeout proved to be of large significance for the Bulls. After the timeout, the Bulls offense woke up.  Keeping on the theme of extended playing time, Doug McDermott took charge of the Chicago offense. He scored ten consecutive points for Chicago, which allowed the Bulls to tie the game at thirty-three, and eventually gain the lead. Of course, Memphis started to see their shots fall, and countered the Bulls’ hot offense. Chicago did jump out to an eight-point lead at the 3:33 mark, and could keep their offense hot until the clock hit triple zeros for the half. McDermott accounted for twenty-two of the Bulls fifty-two points, and Chicago led by six at the half.

The second half began with the Grizzlies cutting the Bulls lead to six off another JayMychal Green three. The Bulls offense looked like it was keeping its game within the first few minutes of the half. Taj Gibson was doing his best to keep the Bulls lead intact, as he had four points and two rebounds in the first five and a half minutes. After the Grizzlies took a timeout with just under six minutes to play in the quarter, Memphis was able to hit their stride. The Bulls led by seven when the timeout was taken, and after the ageless veteran Vince Carter drilled a three, the Grizzlies cut the Bulls lead to two points.  “Vincesanity” kept his hot hand going, as he scored Memphis’ six straight points. But the Bulls were not letting VC give the Grizzlies a lead. Doug McDermott hit a massive turnaround jumper to keep the Bulls lead at three. The third quarter ended just how you would expect it, with Zach Randolph popping a three to give the Grizzlies a one point lead.

Unlike most games for the Bulls, they did not let the momentum for the Randolph three get to them. The second unit pushed the Bulls off to great start in the fourth quarter, as they opened the quarter on a 7-0 run. Rajon Rondo looked useful in the opening minutes of the quarter, as he had a steal off Tony Allen and an assist to Cristiano Felicio. However, continuing to play their style, Memphis would not let the Bulls close the door. Mike Conley hitting a running jumper with just over seven minutes to play to cut the Bulls lead to one. As the minutes dropped, the game got closer. The color analyst for the game, Doug Collins, thought this game would end in the eighties. However, both teams eclipsed the 5:40 mark.  The amount of time continued to shrink, and the Bulls continued to cling on to a small lead. Taj Gibson missed the Bulls’ eleventh free throw of the night, and two possessions later Mike Conley tied the game after hitting a pair of free throws. Jimmy Butler hit a step back jumper with under twenty seconds to play that put the Bulls back up two, and on the other end forced Mike Conley to take a poor shot. The Bulls still led with under ten seconds to play as Doug McDermott got fouled. Dougie hit both free throws, and the Bulls picked up a strong win.  The final score from Memphis, 108-104, in favor of the Bulls.

This game was exactly what you’d expect it to be. The Bulls started out slow after a late game last night, to a team you’d expect to start out slow. There wasn’t much that you could compliment or knock the Bulls on for this game. They had a good offensive outing, considering they played last night, but their defense wasn’t great either. It was nice to see the Bulls’ offense come alive without the likes of Dwyande Wade and Nikola Mirotic. That should instill some confidence for head coach Fred Hoiberg going forward. The biggest knock on the Bulls for the night was how poor they were at the free throw line. You are just asking your opponent to stay in the game if you miss more than ten free throws. This game could serve as a large gain of momentum for the Bulls, as it was a nice win. The Bulls are back to .500 and will travel back to the United Center to take on the struggling Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

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Note-A-Bulls: Jimmy Butler and his cast of misfits hold on to beat Hornets 118-111

With all the major sporting events finished for the day, the Chicago Bulls had a game to play. Growing tensions were certainly swirling around for the Bulls with the uncertainty of their connection to Rajon Rondo, and if Fred Hoiberg is the right man to coach this team. Hoping to break out of a two-game losing streak, the Bulls squared up against the Hornets. Charlotte has had a decent season thus far, coming in at 19-15, with Kemba Walker leading the way for “Buzz City”. 

Dwyane Wade was inactive for the game, which meant that there was added pressure for star guard Jimmy Butler to step up. Doug McDermott got the start in place of Wade, his first of the year. The Bulls sported their usual all white home jerseys while the Hornets wore their typical purple away jerseys. Robin Lopez won the tip with a rather large crowd on hand at the UC, and Bulls basketball was on the air. The first half of the quarter was back and forth between the two clubs. Shots were not falling in the first six minutes, as the score was 11-9 Bulls at that point. A timeout was taken at the 5:30 mark, after Jimmy Butler drained a mid-range jumper to put the Bulls up one. The back and forth play continued, as the Bulls led 19-16 with just over two minutes to play. However, it seemed like the Bulls had their offense in a good position. They were hitting jump shots, something they hadn’t been doing in quite some time. They finished the quarter shooting 50% from the floor. Of course, this solid offensive play did not translate to quality defensive play, as the Hornets kept the game close to the end of the quarter. After one, the Bulls led 25-23, as Jimmy Butler led all scorers with nine points.

Charlotte began the scoring in the second as Nicolas Batum hit a running layup to even up the score of the game.  Both teams had most their rotation players on the floor, and Charlotte capitalized early in the quarter. They opened the second on an 8-0 run, headlined by the scoring of Jeremy Lamb and Frank Kaminsky. Fred Hoiberg took a timeout at the 9:50 mark, hoping to slow down Charlotte’s momentum. Out of all players, it was Michael Carter-Williams to hit a three and open the Bulls’ scoring for the quarter. The timeout had large importance for the Bulls, as they were able to break the Hornets run, and trim their lead. At the halfway mark of the second, the Bulls trailed by three, with the score 41-38. Jimmy Butler was in full command, as he was the only player to have more than five points at this point in the game. Butler finally received some help after the timeout, as rookie Denzel Valentine was hitting threes left and right. The Bulls led 48-43 with just under four minutes to play. They continued to live by the three, as they finished the half shooting just under 50% from distance, and almost 53% overall. Kemba Walker drew a rather questionable foul as the buzzer to end the half went off, and hit both of his free throws to cut the Bulls lead to one at the half. The score after twenty-four minutes of play, Chicago fifty-eight, Charlotte, fifty-seven.

The first big play that came out of the third was a defensive three seconds called on Roy Hibbert. Jimmy Butler hit the technical free throw, and the Bulls had the first points of the second half. The Hornets got off to a hot start in the quarter again, as they were able to jump out to a six-point lead. With just over ten minutes to play in the third, Hoiberg took another timeout in hopes to slow down the Hornets. Once again, it worked. Jimmy Butler continued his hot night by hitting a three, and the Bulls cut the lead down to four, and eventually tied the game with just over seven minutes to play. Butler just continued to be scorching, as he had twenty-nine of the Bulls sixty-nine points. In addition to his contribution through the scoring department, he had nine rebounds and six assists. Yet, Charlotte just continued to answer Butler’s heroics. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Hornets again went on a 11-2 run, putting their lead to eight, with the score 79-71. This game was more or less Jimmy Butler versus the Charlotte Hornets, and Jimmy kept fighting. Due to Butler’s efforts, the Bulls did not let the Hornets pull this one wide open. After three, Charlotte led by three, 85-82.

Looking to get some help for Butler, the Bulls began the fourth hoping to pull out a game in which they did not deserve to win. However, with Butler on the bench, the Hornets took full advantage. While they did not jump out to a large lead, they dominated the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Recognizing Charlotte could break this game open, Hoiberg took another timeout to stop the bleeding at the 8:48 mark. Fans cheered prior to play starting again, hoping that the Bulls could find a way to get this win. Doug McDermott was taking full advantage of the increased minutes, as he not only became the focal point of the Bulls’ offense with Butler resting, but he also was attacking the basket. Which, if you watch any Bulls basketball, know that this is a rare occurrence. With less than five minutes to go, the Hornets led 100-97. Butler, who had played thirty-three of a possible forty-four minutes, just continued to carry the Bulls. Notice a pattern? After hitting his fifteenth free-throw of the night, Butler and the Bulls had tied it at one-hundred. Big Macs were now in play. Just needed the win. The plot continued to advance, and Jimmy just continued to feast. He had eleven of the Bulls last thirteen points. He finished with a career high, fifty points. There is no other way of putting it, Jimmy Butler won this game, not the Bulls. The final score of what turned out to be a thriller, Bulls 118, Charlotte 111.

While the Bulls fought all night, and did come out with the win, this game was not pretty. Without Jimmy Butler, this game would have been over after the first quarter. There is carrying a team, and then there was what Butler did tonight. It was nothing short of incredible. Dwyane Wade is getting up there in age, and these rest nights are going to be more of a reality towards the end of the season. The Bulls will need to find a second option when Wade can’t suit up. Doug McDermott showed that he could be that option tonight, but we will need to see more out of him before we can conclude that. The calendar has switched to 2017, which means every game holds a large value for the Bulls. It’s safe to say that the Bulls are by no means a contender to win the East, but they are a playoff team. Luckily, you can afford to play mediocre basketball in the East and still make the playoffs, so Bulls fans have got that going for them. So let’s all just get used to mediocrity. The Bulls will travel to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers on Wednesday, looking to get a nice win against their division rivals.

Note-A-Bulls: Bucks curb stomp Bulls for second straight night in 95-69 route

The weather outside was indeed frightful outside the United Center on Friday night. On the second night of a back-to-back, the Bulls looked to rebound after a bad loss to their rivals up north, the Milwaukee Bucks. As the white snow continued to increase on the streets of Chicago, twenty-thousand strong packed into the United Center.  One of the bigger headlines heading into the game was whether or not Stacey King would finally pronounce Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name correctly.

As the entire world celebrated the opening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the Bulls celebrated in their own way, with Star Wars night. Benny the Bull disguised as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the team at CSN creating their own twist on The Empire Strikes Back. Robin Lopez and Greg Monroe squared at center court, with Lopez winning the tip and with that, Bulls basketball was on the air. The Bucks supported their all green road jerseys while the Bulls wore their usual white home jerseys. Not to anyone’s surprise, the UC did not have its usual attendance at the game, given the poor conditions in the Chicago area. The Bucks got off to a strong start, leading 9-4 at the nine-minute mark.  Nearing the halfway mark of the first, Giannis was already getting into his groove. The “Greek Freak” had eight points, two assists, and two rebounds at the 6:24 mark as the Bulls took a timeout with Milwaukee leading 18-11. The Bulls did a nice job of keeping the Bucks’ lead in striking distance, as Rajon Rondo created separation on Malcolm Brogdon and scooped home a layup to cut the lead to five. However, Milwaukee just continued to push on the gas. After excellent ball movement and unselfish offense, Mirza Teletovic hit a three to put the Bucks’ lead to eleven, and once again it looked like the Bulls were going to be in for a long night against a bad team. The Bucks were shooting nearly 70% from the field while the Bulls were shooting just under 40%. While the field goal percentage for Chicago was by no means atrocious, you just simply can’t allow your opponent to shoot so well from the floor. The defensive struggles continued for the Bulls, along with the domination by Giannis. In addition to the struggles on defense, the Bulls finished the quarter missing their last eight shots. The team was shooting twenty-three percent after one. Milwaukee led 34-15, and Giannis led all scorers with ten points.

The second quarter began similar to how the first went. The Bucks moved the ball perfectly, and as a result, Teletovic hit another three off an unselfish pass by Malcolm Brogdon. As the clock continued to run, the Bucks continued to make their shots, and with ease. As Jimmy Butler picked up his third foul, Milwaukee led by twenty with just under nine minutes to play in the half. The minutes in the half continued to drop, and so did the Bulls play. Poor movement on offense, not hustling on defense, and just a general lack of effort and sloppy play by the Bulls. At the halfway mark of the second, Milwaukee continued to enforce its will with a twenty-one-point lead, and showing no signs of slowing down. The Bulls hoped that they could just find some sort of spark to close out the half. However, that spark was just never ignited. The same issues continued to hinder any offense with the Bulls, with poor ball movement and wasting possessions. The Bucks’ main point of emphasis was to protect the Bulls from getting to the rim, and it certainly worked.  They were giving all kinds of space to the Bulls guards, and players like Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo (not to my surprise) just could not answer. Simply put, this may have been the worst half of basketball the Bulls have played this season. It was just a hot mess, and the poor play translated into a massive deficit at the half. While the Bulls made a little surge in the final minute, Milwaukee still led nineteen after the first half.

The Bucks began the third with possession of the basketball, as they hoped to continue to put their offense in cruise control. The quarter started rather slow, as Milwaukee only scored eight points in the first five and a half minutes of the quarter. However, the Bulls did not take advantage of the Bucks finally slowing down, as they only made one basket within that span of time. Things just simply were not clicking for the Bulls, as they continued to struggle offensively and miss shots that usually fall. Sensing that a run seemed unlikely, Fred Hoiberg seemed to almost be waving the white flag at the halfway point of the third quarter. Milwaukee led by as much as twenty-eight, and just did not break. As the third quarter ended, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade sat on the Bulls bench with grim looks on their face, draped in their warmups, knowing another loss was headed the Bulls way.

Down twenty-two at the start of the fourth, the Bulls opened the scoring of the quarter as Bobby Portis hit a three from the corner. All five players on the court for the Bulls were off the bench, while Milwaukee still had the likes of Greg Monroe, Giannis, and other role players on the court. The Bucks just continued to enforce their will, and rightfully so. They just played so much better than the Bulls in every light of the game. As the few fans that remained at the UC grew restless, so did yours truly. This game was just an absolute eyesore, and while these kinds of games will happen every once in a while, the panic button may have to start coming out for the Bulls. While they have found ways to beat some of the best teams in basketball, they can’t seem to figure it out against the NBA’s “lower class”. However, after watching this mockery, we have to start thinking how and why the Bulls play like they do. One game you’re looking at a team that seriously might fight with the eastern conference’s elite, and another night you seem a team that belongs in the lottery.

I’m not the biggest fan of pointing fingers, but this has to relate back to Fred Hoiberg. Now one and a quarter seasons in, this team continues to struggle finding its identity. The Bulls do not play till Monday, and I think it’s safe to say that this weekend will serve of massive importance for the Bulls’ success in the immediate AND foreseeable future. Drive home extra safe Chicago, not only because of the weather, but for these Bulls. The final score of the game, Milwaukee ninety-five, the Bulls sixty-nine.

Up Next: The Bulls play host to yet another Central division rival as the Pistons come to town on Monday night.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls hang on to win a close one over the Heat at the UC

It is extremely ironic that the Miami Heat were in town to take on the Bulls on a freezing December night in Chicago. Winter may have hit the streets of the city outside, but indoors at the United Center fans packed in to support the Bulls as they tried to gain some momentum against a slumping Miami team. As both teams gathered to the trademark Bull logo at half court, Robin Lopez and Hassan Whiteside squared up. Surprisingly, Lopez won the tip and Bulls basketball was on the air.

The beginning of the first quarter was quite the see-saw battle, as both teams got off to decent starts. Dwyane Wade broke the 0-0 tie nineteen seconds into the game by hitting a short jumper from eight feet out. To nobody’s surprise, Hassan Whiteside got off to a hot start. At the halfway mark of the first, Whiteside had eight points, two rebounds, and one block. The Bulls took a timeout at the 5:33 mark, with the score even at fifteen. After the timeout, Whiteside hit one of two free throws and the Heat had the lead. Miami was able to extend that lead to 23-19, but the Bulls remained in striking distance. In fact, they were able to gain a lead at the 1:14 mark after Denzel Valentine sunk a pair of free throws. That lead stayed to the end of the first, as the Bulls led 29-27.

Per usual, the bench for both teams was out to begin the second. The likes of journeyman Derrick Williams and Josh Richardson for the Heat, and the usual suspects of Valentine and the Brazilian beauty Cristiano Felicio for the Bulls. The see-saw battle continued to progress, as both teams continued to counter punch each other’s attacks on both ends of the court. Wade was busy on the stat sheet against his former team as the Bulls starters returned to the floor. At the halfway mark, the Bulls led by two as the score was 41-39 after former North Carolina Tar Heel Wayne Ellington hit a mid-range jumper. As the quarter continued to progress, the Brazilian Beauty continued to flourish. At the 2:40 mark in the second, Cristiano had six points and six rebounds in only nine minutes of play. On the other end, Whiteside was feasting on Robin Lopez. Singlehandedly keeping the Heat in the game, he had sixteen points and six rebounds at the 2:40 mark. The push by Whiteside must have been inspired the rest of his teammates, because after the Heat tied the game at forty- nine, they seemed to gain the momentum. However, the Bulls scraped this mini-run by Miami and at the half, the score was tied at fifty-five. In the half, there were nine lead changes with twelve ties. Also, Miami outscored the Bulls seven to four in terms of fast break points in the half, which is surprising, considering the Heat were playing their fourth game in five nights.

The third quarter began as the ball was inbounded to Goran Dragic, who dished it off to Josh McRoberts, which eventually resulted in Wayne Ellington drilling a three to begin the scoring. The Bulls answered on the other end with a basket by Dwayne Wade, who continued to play strong at the start of the third. The Bulls looked like they were starting to hit their stride as Wade again was able to make a play, as he broke out on the fast break and threw down a spinning dunk that resulted in an and-one, and a smirk by Wade at the Heat’s bench as he made his way to the free throw line. The veteran continued to be scorching hot, as he hit another shot to give the Bulls an eight-point lead that resulted in a Miami timeout at the 8:40 mark. However, the timeout strategy didn’t go in Heat head coach Erick Spoelstra’s favor, as the Bulls continued to push their lead on the Heat to ten. The energy of the Bulls was clearly higher than Miami, and rightfully so. It just seemed like a matter of time before this happened, due to the Heat’s amount of recent games they had played. The quarter continued, and so did the Bulls run. Once the Bulls got on this run, the momentum was certainly sliding to Chicago’s side. With just under five minutes to play, the Bulls led 77-66 after Whiteside and Dragic connected on an alley-oop at the 4:30 mark. The strategic timeout by the Bulls to bring in substitutions may have hurt Chicago, as Miami cut the lead to six with just under three minutes to play after Josh McRoberts hit a three off a Goran Dragic assist. This momentum created by Miami was largely due to the Bulls’ bench not being able to put the nail in the coffin. The Bulls looked like they were ready to break this game open, but Miami would not go away. After three quarters, the Bulls led 83-75.

The fourth quarter began with the Bulls hoping to put this game away. Unlike the past few seasons, Miami is a team that you need to go out and beat when you play them. Niko Mirotic began the Bulls scoring in the fourth with a running jumper to keep the Bulls lead at eight. Miami continued to answer the Bulls punches, but Chicago looked like they were not going to squander this one as the Bulls continued to lead by eight as Miami took a timeout with just under nine to play in the game. Yet, the Heat just continued to crawl and scratch back into this game. Seeming to have no life, Miami had the lead cut to four with just over six minutes to go. Surprisingly, one of the biggest moments during this game was when Willie Reed missed both of his free throws to keep the Bulls’ lead at four. As a result, fans at the UC received free Chick-Fil-A sandwhiches because Reed missed both. The quarter continued, and it looked like we were on our way to great finish. While this may not be ideal for Bull fans, it does make for some great drama. As the amount of time continued to drop, the Bulls continued to hang on for dear life. The fight by Miami came up short, and the Bulls escaped with a 105-100 victory. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with a game high thirty-one points, along with Dwyane Wade dropping twenty-eight against his former team. So yes, Chicago did drive home safe, even in the bad weather.

What was expected to be a rather relaxed night for the Bulls that would involve heavy minutes for rotation players turned out to be a very close game where Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler played heavy minutes. These are the kind of games that you must build a lead early, because the NBA regular season is such a marathon, and you need your stars to have their knees under them for more important games. The Bulls are off until Tuesday, where they will face the young and talented Minnesota Timberwolves at the UC.

 

Note-A-Bulls: Cavs leave United Center empty handed after hard fought victory for the Bulls

On a chilly Friday night on the west side of Chicago, over twenty-thousand packed into the United Center to see the Bulls and Cavaliers square off for a key division game. As promised, LeBron James filled his half of the bet with Dwyane Wade and came to the UC in a full Cubs uniform. Both teams were coming off losses in their most recent match-ups, looking to regain momentum.

The teams assembled on the court, the Cavs sporting their all blue jerseys, and the Bulls in an atypical grey sleeve jersey. It was Tristian Thompson and Robin Lopez at center court, Lopez won the tip, and Bull basketball was on the air nationwide.

The first six minutes of the opening quarter were no different from how the Bulls typicalls begin games. A complete back and forth battle, with Taj Gibson starting off very strong. Taj had six points and three rebounds within the first six minutes of play. At the 6:07 mark, the Bulls had a one point lead as Wade hit a driving layup while going hard to the rim. The first quarter continued to march on, and the see-saw battle continued to progress. The typical subs made their way in, and after one the Cavs had a slim lead of 33-30.

The Cavs began the second quarter with an Iman Shumpert shot that wouldn’t go from twenty-one feet out, and the Bulls capitalized on the following possession with Jerian Grant hitting a routine layup. Then the King made his way back onto the court. After Grant hit the layup, the Cavs led 33-32. James returned to the court, and led the Cavs to go on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 40-32 at the ten-minute mark. However, the Cavs did not let the stoppage of play break their momentum. Channing Frye hit a big three to keep the Cavs lead at eight, with the score 47-39. However, after that three, the Bulls found their gear again. They were able to cut the Cavs lead to as small as one as the score was 54-53 after Lopez hit a short-range jumper. Just under one minute to go in the half, Taj Gibson got one of the biggest gift fouls that one will ever see. Kevin Love pretty much “Love tapped” his chest, and Taj laughingly went to the free throw line. The first half ended with a very high score, Taj Gibson continuing to lead the Bulls with eighteen points. Through two it was Cleveland 60, the Bulls 59. The Bulls were 0-7 from downtown, while the Cavs were shooting nearly fifty percent from three. However, this was promising considering that the score was only 60-59.

LeBron inbounded the ball to Kyrie Irving to begin the third, with Irving drilling a mid-range jumper. The Bulls continued to claw with the leaders of the East, as both teams came out strong to begin the third. They looked like they were slowly picking of some momentum, as they led by eight at the 7:30 mark and the Cavs had gone cold. Jimmy G. Buckets and Wade were hitting their stride as they had combined for twenty-five points. The Cavs took a timeout at the 5:45 mark after Robin Lopez hit a sky-hook turnaround shot, and the Bulls continued to keep their eight-point lead. As usual, a timeout proved to work well. Kevin Love drilled a three to start the Cavs next possession, and the Bulls lead was cut to five. The next possession was crucial, as the Bulls needed an answer. Rajon Rondo, out of all players, splashed a three for the corner and the lead was back to eight at just over three minutes left. With under two minutes to go in the third, Nikola Mirotic threw a floater to the rim and Jimmy Butler volleyball tapped the ball right into the basket. After three, the shootout continued, as the Bulls led 88-80. Taj leading Chicago with twenty-one points and nine rebounds, and LeBron leading the Cavs with twenty-three points and eight assists.

The Bulls began the fourth with a missed jumper by Wade from seventeen feet out. In the following possession, LeBron added to his assist total and found Channing Frye for an easy layup. The Bulls continued to maintain the sizable lead with excellent offense and good ball movement. Until (of course), Rajon Rondo made a poor pass and the Cavs capitalized on the fast break and hit a three to cut to the lead back to five. With just under six minutes to go, the Bulls struggled to close the door. However, after shooting 0-7 to start the game, Niko hit a little floater in the paint to put the Bulls back up seven. With just over two minutes to play, LeBron committed his third turnover in the quarter, and the Bulls were able to extend their lead to eight. ON THE NEXT POSSESSION, JAMES COMMITTED ANOTHER TURNOVER. Following that, the Bulls played perfect defense to force a shot clock violation. After a bit of scare within the final fifteen seconds, the Bulls were able to hang on and win 111-105.

With the win, the Bulls improved to 11-6. Not only is it nice to see the win-loss column have a plus margin of five, but this win over the Cavs must serve as a big momentum builder for Chicago. To get a win against a team that has had a chokehold on you for such a long period of time has to inspire the Bulls at least in some manner. However, the Bulls have hardly any time to bask in the victory. Once everyone is ready to leave the UC, the Bulls will hop on the charter and head to Dallas to take on the struggling Mavericks tomorrow night.