Tag Archives: Andre Drummond

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls Fail To Spread Around Scoring, Fall To Pistons 102-91, Dropping Their 3rd Straight Game.

The Bulls were looking to turn the tide against their conference rival Detroit Pistons Tuesday night, after suffering 2 losses in a row to the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers. The Bulls welcomed the return of Rajon Rondo to the lineup tonight after his one game suspension. However it was not enough, as the Bulls again became one-dimensional, relying on Jimmy Butler to carry the team. This common narrative has bitten the Bulls over the last few years, as their lack of a diverse group of players who can score at will and create their own shots, has cost them a chance at truly competing in the Eastern Conference. NBA experts continue to say you need more than one star on a team to win a championship, and while Wade and Butler can “play” those roles, the inconsistency and unreliability of the two every night has Bulls fans frustrated.

  • The Bulls struggled out of the gate to create efficient scoring opportunities, as they we unable to penetrate the paint early. Once the ball reached the elbow; it was quickly kicked back out for an ill-advised 3-point or long-range 2 attempt that missed consistently.
  • Because the Bulls were unable to produce scoring from different areas of the court, they tried again to feed the ball to Nikola Mirotic. In 23 minutes of playing time, Mirotic only totaled 5 points, and was 2 of 7 from the field, 1 for 4 from behind the arc. The Montenegro native has been getting extended opportunities with the injury to Doug McDermott’s and off-nights for Dwyane Wade and has not been able to deliver on the promise of a scoring threat the Bulls were sold on when they drafted him in 2011. It may be time for Fred Hoiberg to give another scoring option a chance, as Mirotic has not been able to deliver so far this season.
  • The #3 ranked defense of the Detroit Pistons showed its muscle tonight, forcing the Bulls to shoot contested shots every chance they had.
  • When the Bulls were, however, able to break through the Pistons’ defense, the big-man game of Robin Lopez, Taj Gibson and Cristiano Felicio, yes, Felicio was efficient and impressive. The trio combined for 22 points and 24 rebounds and showed Bulls fans what it looks like to have a post presence, especially going up against one of the premiere centers in the league, Andre Drummond. Bulls’ fans that were used to watching Joakim Noah on offense have gotten a pleasant surprise from this “new” trio down low.
  • Gibson continued to impress tonight, recording a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
  • As halftime approached, the Pistons offense slowed, as the Bulls cut into the lead and trailed 51-44 at the break.
  • The Bulls started the second half strong and were able to score 7 unanswered points. At the 5:19 mark in the 3rd, the Bulls, who once trailed by 17, took their first lead of the night 62-61.
  • But as I wrote in the recap of the Bulls vs. Mavericks game, turnovers were the story again tonight. The Bulls ended the game “leading” the category 14-9, and midway through the 3rd, they had already given up 20 points on 11 turnovers.
  • The Bulls comeback was riding on the shoulders of their premier scoring option, and only scoring option of the night, Jimmy Butler. While Wade had a quiet 19 points, it was Butler who emerged as tonight’s star, totaling 32 points. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the Bulls have been plagued by this “single-scoring option” offensive approach. While Hoiberg does not try to implement the “Butler-only” game plan each night, it is what the Bulls are left with, based on the talent they have, at this point in the season. Wade can contribute when needed, but it is not consistent. The only true shot-creating, constant scoring threat is Butler, and if the Bulls are going to advance in the Eastern Conference, they need more than one scoring weapon.
  • The Bulls continued to chip away but to no avail. Tobias Harris lead the way for the Pistons with 22 points, and Andre Drummond held his own in the paint with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
  • The story from 3-point land tonight showed again the lack of diverse scoring options for the Bulls. While the Pistons weren’t anything to write home about, shooting only 38.1 % from behind the arc, the Bulls shot a forgettable 13.3%, going 2 for 15.
  • With a healthy Dwyane Wade, Jerian Grant only saw 4 minutes of playing tonight, and Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine did not play. Hoiberg’s use of a shorter bench tonight proved ineffective, as the Bulls were unable to get enough scoring from their starters and role players that entered the game.
  • Up Next: The Bulls try to snap their 3-game losing streak as they square off against the San Antonio Spurs at home on Thursday night.

BULLet Points: Pistons defeat Bulls in 4OT thriller

The Bulls and Pistons are extremely evenly matched teams. This is obvious to say after a game that required twenty extra minutes to decide, but it’s worth discussing as these two teams could find themselves in a playoff series come spring. Sometimes a close game isn’t as close as the score indicates. One team could have unexpected contributions from a hot shooter or two, or benefit from a few kind whistles from the ref. But Friday night that was not the case, as the Bulls and Pistons traded punches throughout a game that easily could have gone to a fifth overtime.

  • Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 43 points in extremely efficient fashion. Butler shot 14/29 from the field on a variety of challenging shots. Even better than the great shooting was the patented aggression going to the basket to draw contact. Butler took 16 shots from the charity stripe, connecting on 14. Butler wasn’t able to find his three point stroke, but he did knock down his only three of the game in a high pressure situation to bring the Bulls back to within one point of Detroit with just seconds remaining in the fourth overtime.
  • Butler wasn’t the only Bull to notch a season high point total. Derrick Rose was not shy about looking for his own shot off of pick and roll drives in this game, and that aggression allowed him to score 34 points. Rose went to his right-handed floater early and often throughout this game and was able to take advantage of Detroit’s conservative defensive scheme and avoid having to meet Andre Drummond at the rim.
  • The downside of those finesse beauties is they don’t often lead to shooting fouls. Rose was 14/34 from the field, but only attempted five free throws. In order for Rose to boost his often atrocious efficiency, he’s going to need to get to the line more often.
  • Early in this game it was obvious Rose was making an effort to push the ball across half court early in the shot clock. The early initiation of the offense allowed him to glide the rim a few times before Drummond could get down the court and clog the paint. But once again in the fourth quarter and overtime periods, Rose took his time getting into the offense. The Rose-Gasol pick and roll is a reliable way to create offense, but when it starts with less than sixteen seconds on the shot clock it often results in a contested attempt taken without the time to create secondary action on offense.
  • Joakim Noah continues to look more like the guy who finished fourth in MVP voting than the broken down liability he was last season. In 25 minutes on the floor, Joakim scored six points, grabbed 11 rebounds (five on offense) and dished out four assists.  My favorite Joakim moment from this game happened after Jimmy Butler knifed through the lane and found Jo, who had perfectly timed a cut from beyond the arc, for an uncontested dunk. The off-ball cut is just another way Joakim is able to squeeze offense out of his limited skill set.
  • The Bulls bench struggled overall in this one. The only Bull to post a positive +/- who didn’t start was Kirk Hinrich’s +1 in 13 minutes. This is very disappointing considering the complete lack of bench talent on the Pistons. Fred Hoiberg missed an easy opportunity to hold and build upon the lead created by the starters by never having Pau Gasol in the game when Andre Drummond was on the bench. Gasol was very good in this game, scoring 30 points, 10 of which came at the line. But the majority of his shot attempts came on elbow jumpers after the kick out from a driving guard. Pau could have had an even bigger impact on the offense had Fred given him some run in the 13:35 that Joel Anthony was in the game. I understand the value of Pau’s ability to space the floor with the starting unit, but Detroit presented a perfect opportunity for the Spaniard to bang bodies against second unit scrubs.
  • The Bulls received virtually no contribution from the small forward spot in this game. Tony Snell was 1/7 from the field, all three point attempts. Detroit picked on McDermott’s defense a lot in his 22 minutes of action. Doug was forced to track his man through numerous off ball screens and found himself switched onto Reggie Jackson twice in the pick and roll. Doug is likely experiencing some post-traumatic stress from the ordeal. McDermott has improved his off ball defense since the start of the season and is able to work comfortably within the Bulls system. But his on ball defense still has a long way to go, and will need to improve to justify heavy minutes when the postseason comes around.
  • Andre Drummond is a monster. He presents a huge challenge in the pick and roll and opens up wide open shots for his teammates by sucking in defenders when he dives to the rim. It’s rare for a guy who has no ability to hurt you from outside the restricted area to actually help your offensive spacing, but Drummond’s incredible size and athleticism allows him to do just that. Drummond’s defense waned down the stretch of regulation and overtime after picking up his fifth foul with five minutes left in the fourth, but he was able to last another 19 minutes on the court before fouling out in the final minute of this marathon.
  • Coming up: the Bulls head to New York to play the Knicks…right now!

BULLet Points: Bulls drop first game in OT loss to Pistons

  • From the start, last night’s game against Detroit felt like one that would come down to the wire, and it did not disappoint. Unfortunately, the Bulls never seemed to make shots when it mattered, even though they ultimately shot better from the field (40.5%) than the Pistons (37.5%). However, Detroit had 20 offensive rebounds, leading to 20 more shot attempts than the Bulls.
  • First quarter: Both teams entered the night 2-0, and though the Bulls scored first on a Pau Gasol basket, the Pistons responded with a three pointer almost immediately from Marcus Morris. This proved to be a microcosm of how the rest of the game would turn out, as Detroit never really shrunk from any sort of lead the Bulls put up. Tony Snell got into early foul trouble, drawing two within the first three minutes and E’Twuan Moore had to come in earlier than normal. From there, the Pistons capitalized on some poor Chicago shooting in the first quarter and took a 23-19 lead.
  • Second quarter: This time it was the Pistons’ opportunity to look a little sloppy, and after the Bulls went on a 7-0 run, Stan Van Gundy called a timeout that ended up stalling the scoring on both ends for several minutes. The second quarter was the lowest scoring overall, with the two teams combining for just 32 points. Eventually, baskets from Aron Baynes and Anthony Tolliver ignited the action again. With 2:50 left in the half, Jimmy Butler tied it at 35, and shortly after Chicago had a chance to take the lead. Shortly after, Butler stole the ball just after Detroit brought the ball past half court, and a Tony Snell tap-in from Butler’s missed shot gave the Bulls the edge. They added another basket before the half, going up 39-35.
  • Third quarter: The Pistons fought back and tied the game at 41 with 9:26 remaining in the quarter. Just a minute later, Reggie Jackson put them up by a basket. By the 6:37 mark, they were up by 8 points, and Fred Hoiberg had to call a time out to try and right the ship. This seemed to do the trick, because a Pau Gasol pass to Nikola Mirotic for a bucket brought the Bulls within three. A few minutes later, a pair of free throws from Butler put the Bulls up by one. But, once again, Detroit would not be stymied. They responded with an immediate basket and took back the lead. This was the catalyst for several lead changes that would continue for the remainder of the quarter until a beautiful dunk by Taj Gibson left the score tied at 64 to end the quarter.
  • Fourth quarter: Though Doug McDermott provided a rallying three pointer a minute into the last quarter, the Pistons surged ahead by five points. The Bulls kept responding themselves, though, and a classic Derrick Rose drive to the basket set up a basket by Taj Gibson. This preceded a Mirotic three pointer that tied the game at 72. Andre Drummond and Butler exchanged free throws near the end of the quarter to swap the lead back and forth, but regulation ended with a tie at 83.
  • Overtime: The overtime was just hard to watch. The Bulls came out looking sloppy and never really got it together. Detroit went on a 7-0 run and things just never really changed from there. Hoiberg called a timeout after that, but even that didn’t do it. The Bulls shot really poorly at the worst possible time, and that left the game in Detroit’s hands. They won it, 98-94. The Bulls shot three for ten in overtime compared to five of eight for Detroit.
  • Though the Bulls outshot the Pistons last night, they couldn’t quite hit the ones they needed to prevail. From here, the Pistons take a break until Tuesday when they will host the Pacers. The Bulls return to the United Center to host Orlando on Sunday night before hitting the road next Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets.

BULLet Points: Healthy Starters Fuel Win Over Pistons

  • Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah all started a game together for the first time and the results were very enjoyable. Each starter had a positive double digit plus minus, while all the bench players were negative.
  • Rose looked great after sitting out the last two games. He was active early and often in his 32 minutes, scoring 24 points on 9/20 shooting and dishing out seven pretty assists. SB Nation has all sorts of highlights in Vines for you. The play that really stood out to me was a double clutch pass that shouldn’t be physically possible. Jo grabbed it and finished inside.
via @_MarcusD_
via @_MarcusD_
  • Speaking of Joakim Noah, he had by far his most complete game of the season. He finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes of his own. He only shot 5/13 and is clearly still working his way back, but the results were encouraging.

  • Pau Gasol locked up his fifth double double in eight games…by halftime! He finished with 17 points, 15 boards, four assists and four blocks. While his defensive rebounding had quietly been an issue, Pau did a much better job boxing out tonight. He’s been the Bulls’ most consistent player by far.

  • The Bulls finally won the rebounding battle, outboarding the Pistons 49-46. It was pretty much even throughout the game, but with a starting lineup including Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond (not Drummund), the margin was more than satisfactory.
  • Jimmy Butler played 43 minutes, including the entire second half. Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott got ten minutes combined. Tony Snell did not sniff the floor. Something to keep an eye on.
  • A late foul by ex-Bull DJ Augustin gave Derrick Rose the Big Mac clinching free throws that the fans were craving. The Bulls have played three home games but were yet to deliver the Macs.
  • No one on Detroit had a particularly good game, although it is extremely entertaining watching Stan Van Gundy shake his head after terrible Josh Smith shots and pull Brandon Jennings for Augustin.
  • Greg Monroe pissed himself while getting a DUI this summer. It has nothing to do with the game, but I think it’s important we remember this. Have any of your friends ever gotten so drunk that they peed themselves? They were probably too drunk to walk, let alone drive, right? Screw Greg Monroe. He put innocent people’s lives in grave danger. Remind people about this when you can.
  • The Bulls get two days off before taking on the conference leading Toronto Raptors on Thursday. The off days should do wonders for the banged up Bulls after a stretch of five games in seven nights.

 

Flawless Predictions for 2014-15 that won’t be wrong at all

Last year’s Big Preview didn’t go so well–probably because I was guzzling #TheReturn kool-aid like a fat guy takes oxygen after a defensive touchdown. But have no fear, readers. This year I’m back, hardened and wise. AKA I won’t be picking the Bulls to win the Finals.

Dramatization of me drinking #TheReturn kool-aid
Dramatization of me drinking #TheReturn kool-aid


Eastern Conference

  1. Chicago Bulls
  2. Cleveland Cavs
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Charlotte Hornets(!)
  6. Atlanta Hawks
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Detroit Pistons
  9. Brooklyn Nets
  10. New York Knicks
  11. Indiana Pacers
  12. Boston Celtics
  13. Orlando Magic
  14. Milwaukee Bucks
  15. Philadelphia 76ers

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavs over Bulls

Western Conference

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Los Angeles Clippers
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Golden State Warriors
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Houston Rockets
  7. Memphis Grizzlies
  8. Portland Trailblazers
  9. Phoenix Suns
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
  11. Denver Nuggets
  12. Los Angeles Lakers
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves
  14. Sacramento Kings
  15. Utah Jazz

Western Conference Finals: Spurs over Clippers

via NY Post
via NY Post

NBA Finals

Spurs over Cavs

I’ve learned my lesson picking against the Spurs. Whatever your argument against this team might be has been invalidated over the last few seasons. Despite holding his stars to around 30 minutes per game and routinely sitting them, Coach Popovich has proven that his rosters go 10-12 deep, even in the playoffs. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker should all be able to contribute as they did last year. Kawhi Leonard is a budding star, and the second youngest Finals MVP ever after Magic Johnson. As for Cleveland, it’s just difficult to imagine any other team in the East taking them down. While Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving’s playoff inexperience (zero combined games) could be a huge factor, I can’t forget LeBron single-handedly shutting Derrick Rose down in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Combine an offense that could be historically great with the defensive potential of LeBron guarding the opponent’s best player, and you get a near unbeatable team. However, if any coach and system can take advantage of the flaws that year one in Cleveland expose, it’ll be the Spurs and Pop.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.20.37 PM

MVP

  1. LeBron James
  2. Kevin Durant
  3. Steph Curry
  4. Derrick Rose
  5. Blake Griffin

As my friend Spencer explained so very well, it will be nearly impossible for Kevin Durant to win this season’s MVP because of the broken bone in his foot. That makes LeBron a heavy favorite with the added narrative of the prodigal son returning home. Steph Curry makes the list because he is fantastic and the Warriors look to take a step up. The same goes for Blake and the Clippers; a Chris Paul injury would make Griffin a serious contender. As for Rose, the narrative will be overpowering if he returns to form as part of a #1 seed Bulls team. How could I leave him off?

Defensive Player of the Year

  1. Dwight Howard
  2. Serge Ibaka
  3. Joakim Noah
  4. Marc Gasol
  5. Tyson Chandler

I’m stealing my reasoning from last season: “Dwight is the best defensive player on Earth and now that he’s (presumably) healthy again everyone will remember.”

Pumped Taj

Sixth Man of the Year

  1. Taj Gibson
  2. Jamal Crawford
  3. Manu Ginobili
  4. Isaiah Thomas
  5. Draymond Green

Taj deserved to win this award over Crawford last year. But points are usually voted for more than defense, so the same could happen once again.

Coach of the Year

  1. Rick Carlisle
  2. Tom Thibodeau
  3. Mike Budenholzer
  4. Greg Popovich
  5. Doc Rivers

I’m feeling a big season from the Mavericks, and I think Coach Carlisle will (deservedly) get his share of the credit. Thibs, Pops and Doc are perennial candidates while Budenholzer has a chance to make a name for himself with a healthy and talented roster.

Rookie of the Year

  1. Jabari Parker
  2. Nerlens Noel
  3. Andrew Wiggins
  4. Elfrid Payton
  5. Marcus Smart

Last year I didn’t even have Michael Carter-Williams on my roster, but that was a fluky season. Jabari figures to get the most minutes and scoring opportunities, so he’s my favorite. Nerlens should put up big numbers too, but he’s not as much of a scorer so he’s less likely to snag the award. You already know about Andrew Wiggins, and Elfrid Payton is the experts’ dark horse. Normally I would laugh that off, but these are the same people who were whispering about Damian Lillard before his rookie year. Marcus Smart should get plenty of minutes in Boston, especially if (when) Rajon Rondo gets traded.

Stat Champs

  1. Points: Kevin Durant (we’re going by averages)
  2. Assists: Chris Paul
  3. Rebounds: Andre Drummond
  4. Steals: Chris Paul
  5. Blocks: Anthony Davis

PS: this was the category I did the best in last year. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed/were engraged by my predictions and I welcome anyone to sound off in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter. The season begins tomorrow on TNT with Dallas @ San Antonio!

 

 

Some quick predictions from Bikshorn:

Baller shot caller
Baller shot caller

Steph Curry will win MVP

LeBron is a fine and noble choice, but I get the sense King James is going to let the other young stars on his team get theirs. Everyone and their grandma knows MJ won six rings but not many people can tell you how many MVPs he won (five). LeBron understands this and I predict he lets his game flow naturally on the Cavs rather than take over for big stretches.

Steph is my choice for a couple of reasons:

1. He is The Man. There is no bonafide second superstar on that team. They go as he goes.

2. His style of play. Bombing threes, breaking ankles and dropping beautiful dimes. Voters watch Sportscenter too.

3. His new coach. People who defend Mark Jackson, do you realize the Warriors were 12th in offensive efficiency last year? I think Kerr, despite his inexperience, will unleash Curry, allowing him to reach heights we’ve never seen from a point guard.

The Clippers will represent the West in the Finals

blake

I’m predicting a monster year from Blake. Last season’s injury to Chris Paul was the ultimate blessing in disguise, giving the former top pick the opportunity to develop as a ball handler and distributor. Darren Collison may have been penciled in as point guard on the lineup card, but Blake was running the show.

Griffin is not content with just adding one new facet to his game. Blake spent the summer refining his jump shot, smoothing out what was one of the least asthetically pleasing things in the NBA. Combine that with his rebounding, post game and the aformentioned handling skills, and you’re looking at a force of nature.

Oh btw Chris Paul is on the Clippers too.

The Cavaliers will represent the East in the Finals

It pains me to write this, but it’s true. The concerns in regards to defending the paint are real, but not real enough that I see anyone in the Eastern Conference winning four out of seven against Cleveland.

The Cavaliers are going to be terrifying on offense. They are the perfect blend of modern NBA philosophy, employing superstars who either a) get to the rim b) shoot threes or c) all of the above. If LeBron can add horse whisperer to his resume and convince Dion Waiters that being Jamal Crawford is super cool, there will be no stopping these guys.

The Cavs will win the NBA Finals

Three superstars > two superstars

The Bulls will annihilate the Pacers on 11/15 and I will enjoy every second of it.

bulls pacers

My girlfriend got us tickets for my birthday and I cannot tell you how excited I am. The Pacers are going to be garbage this year, especially early in the season when George Hill will still think he’s a threat driving to the basket.

I despise the Pacers and everything that they stand for. Being able to witness, in person, the carnage that the Bulls will leave behind at the UC is going to bring me so much joy. This might not be a great game to watch on TV, especially on a Saturday night, but I urge you to watch until the end so that you don’t miss my victory dance. I’m going to put Marlins Kid to shame.