Tag Archives: Dwyane Wade

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls put up another stinker in blowout loss to the lowly Suns

The Bulls have been teetering on the edge of a downward spiral in their last seven games, somehow squeaking out a record of 3-4 by holding on to victory against the Kings after Sacramento mounted a tremendous comeback, and besting the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s going to be a tall task from here on out for the Bulls to maintain their composure and try to sneak into the playoffs, especially with their difficult upcoming schedule.

Tonight, the Bulls had a minor respite against a struggling Suns team, who had lost eight of their last nine games, and came in with a pitiful record of 16-37, the worst in the West. But all did not go according to plan, as the Bulls made things harder on themselves, losing 115-97 in Jimmy Butler’s first game back from a heel injury.

  • The Bulls started off looking pretty good, getting contributions from Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, building a 25-16 lead, but a 12-1 run by the Suns to end the quarter saw it quickly disappear. The Bulls had a similar meltdown at the end of the second quarter, surrendering a 17-4 run to go into halftime with a 13 point deficit, 56-43. They tried to close the gap to start the third quarter, beginning with a 9-2 run, but they could not sustain it, quickly down 13 again midway through the period and would never recover from there on out.
  • On their fifth straight road game, the lethargy was showing. In the first half, Phoenix outscored the Bulls 11-2 on fast break points, weren’t able to bang down low resulting in a 30-12 margin, and relinquished 13 points off turnovers while amassing just eight themselves.
  • It was clear the absence of play due to the heel injury was affecting Butler. He scored 20 points but was just 6-20 from the field. He was able to get to the line for eight points but could not connect from beyond the arc in three attempts, and posted just three rebounds.
  • Robin Lopez had a very respectable game, with the only positive +/- on the team in 23 minutes of play. He was aggressive on offense, going five for nine with 12 points and securing five offensive boards to keep Bulls possessions alive. The Bulls couldn’t do much with those extra possessions, but RoLo did his part.
  • Dwyane Wade came back from an illness that sidelined him against Golden State and although he didn’t have a very efficient game (7-16 from the field), his off the ball movement was on point, putting up 18 points with a few backdoor cuts resulting in dunks.
  • Jerian Grant was awarded the starting point guard role, but didn’t score his first points until a three ball with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. It would be his only points for the game. As the backup point guard, Rajon Rondo continued to struggle with the worst +/- on the team with -17 in 23 minutes. He had just three points, four rebounds, and three assists.
  • As a team, the Bulls shot just 43% for the game. This wasn’t helped by a continued struggle from three point range, connecting on just 5-19 for a paltry 26.3%. For the season, they’re still dead last in the league, at 31.5%. Fortunately, for the Bulls, they were going up against another struggling three point shooting team – the Suns are 25th in the league at 34.1%. Unfortunately, the Suns exceeded their season average by hitting eight threes, good for 42.1%.
  • Devin Booker is really impressive on this Suns team. He’s a young star who we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the years to come. The backcourt of Booker and Eric Bledsoe combined for 50 points on 50% shooting with a +32, dominating the minutes sheet with 33 apiece.
  • Up Next: The Bulls wrap up their six game road trip in Minnesota against Tom Thibodeau’s Timberwolves on Sunday. The Suns travel to Houston to play the Rockets on Saturday for a back-to-back.
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Note-A-Bulls: Bulls bring the noise in a blowout win over the Thunder

Well the Bulls did it again. They played a great basketball game on the road against a quality team and made you wonder just how in the heck the Bulls (25-25) are a .500 team through 50 games this season. This W came in blowout fashion as the Thunder (28-22) lost their third straight since Enes Kanter went down with an injury. Let’s take a further look at how the Bulls managed a 128-100 win after all of their turmoil of the past week.

  • The first quarter was fairly even after the Bulls jumped out to an early nine-point lead. But poor shooting and general inconsistent movement on offense led to a fairly stagnant quarter as the Bulls clung to a 21-20 advantage after one.
  • The following two quarters decided this one. The Bulls shot lights out after the first while even Russell Westbrook couldn’t jumpstart the OKC offense in this one. The Bulls outscored the Thunder 73-53 over the middle two stanzas thanks to scoring from across the board (six Bulls in double-figures) while OKC became a one-man show.
  • It’s easy to attribute this game to a poor shooting night for one team (38% for OKC) combined with an unseasonably hot shooting game from the other (60% for the Bulls) but there was more to it in this one. The Bulls showed the kind of energy on both ends of the court that they often display against quality teas (especially on national TV for some reason). The result, more movement off the ball on offense creating more space and getting back on defense leading to minimal fast break points for OKC (18 on the night).
  • Finding consistency has been the issue ever since Hoiberg took over at the start of last year as they proved tonight they can beat anyone on any given night. While this one feels nice, knowing that they’ve lost home games to the Mavs and Heat take some shine out of it. Stringing five of these types of games together will be essential in what is shaping up to be a jam-packed back end of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
  • There were many positive takeaways on the night but one I want to focus on is Jerian Grant. He didn’t end with the best line 12 points, three assists, three rebounds on 5/7 shooting, but it was his energy in the first that got this team going. Grant had great vision, especially early on, and played very competent defense against a quality backcourt for the Thunder. If he can hit on his jumper like he did tonight with any consistency, Grant may find himself more ingrained in the rotation.
  • The disgruntled duo of Wade and Butler had themselves games as well. Wade ended the night with 18/7/7 on 7/12 shooting while posting a ridiculous +32 on the night. It still astounds me how crafty the veteran can be even after planting his pivot foot. Whether it’s drawing contact to get to the line or finding an open shot, Wade has one of the best pivot games in The Association.
  • Meanwhile Jimmy did Jimmy things posting 28 points on 11/17 shooting with a ho-hum five dimes, four boards, and three robberies against the Thunder. Every time OKC looked like they might creep back into it Butler would get aggressive and bully his way to the basket for an easy layup or getting to the line. He’s what Stacey King used to call Derrick Rose, a “run stopper”.
  • As for the Thunder, the lone bright spot on the evening was the jaw-dropping Russ Westbrook. Westbrook scored 28 points, assisted eight times, and grabbed five rebounds. While he still hasn’t recorded a triple-double against the Bulls (one of only three teams that can claim this), the little offense the Thunder did generate on Wednesday night was a result of him. Even being down 20, Russ was able to throw down a dunk that got me off my couch and generally makes everyone look like they’re in slow motion.
  • It’s obvious, however, that this team misses Enes Kanter. This team was lacking serious depth before the injury, meaning their bench is getting exposed now as there starters are forced to exhaust themselves throughout the game. I’m sure we’ll see a similar pattern as tonight, where the Thunder will stick around early before their depth catches up with them later in ball games. Russ can’t win games by himself every night despite what he might think.
  • Up Next: The Bulls play The Beard on Friday night in Houston as their second game of a six game road trip.

 

Note-A-Bulls: After “Unacceptable Week,” Bulls fall to lowly Heat 100-88.

During one of the most dysfunctional times in recent Bulls history, the new laughing stock of the NBA had to go back to the drawing board and hit the floor against a depleted Miami Heat team. The Bulls played like a team tonight with no purpose, and with 3 outspoken players telling the truth about an organization that just can’t seem to get anything to go their way, their concerns were on full display tonight. From large turnover numbers, an inability to make shots, and a continued stagnation on offense and lack of effort defensively, the now 23-25 Bulls will look to regroup, as they handed Miami their 6th win in a row.

  • As punishment for their comments earlier in the week, Jimmy Butler and Dywane Wade were both benched by Fred Hoiberg for the first portion of the first quarter. Paul Zipser and Doug McDermott took their place in the starting lineup.
  • While in-experienced, the starting lineup including the “young” Bulls was enjoyable to watch and dissect. Without the “me” first players in Rondo, Wade and Butler, the Bulls looked like they were trying to run an offensive system. Players were moving without the ball, cutting to the basket and utilizing the pick and roll. However, when the veterans did end up coming into the game, the offense slowed again, off-the-ball movement stopped and Miami was off to the races. Doug McDermott became a forgotten man, an all too common mistake by the Bulls’ offensive game plan.
  • The Goran Dragic from the Derrick Rose poster-dunk has in fact turned into a nice NBA point guard, and it showed tonight. Dragic finished the night with 26 points and 11 assists and was in full command of a fast-paced Miami offense.
  • The quickness of Miami was thanks to the turnover numbers the Bulls gave up. The Heat scored 26 points on 20 turnovers by the Bulls. On the other hand, the Bulls only scored 8 points off of 12 Heat turnovers. Even when the Bulls grabbed a steal or had a nice block, there was no urgency on the fast break down the floor. Miami took full advantage of a slow Bulls’ defense, and the points off of turnovers were one of the key components in the loss. The Bulls scored their first points off of a turnover at the 10:28 mark in the 4th quarter.
  • The Bulls never pushed the ball up the floor when they had the chance to do so. Miami did push the ball, both on turnovers and regular offensive possessions, which proved to be one of the key differences in the game.
  • After a controversial week for Jimmy Butler, the Bulls’ star did not back up his talking points, finishing the game 1-13 from the field for just 3 points and checked himself out of the game early on after picking up his second foul against the Heat. Not a great showing for the team “leader.”
  • The Heat had a quick first step on offense while the Bulls continued to stand around the perimeter when the likes of Wade and Butler checked into the game.
  • The Bulls kept it close enough in the 1st quarter behind Paul Zipser’s 12 first half points, and found themselves even at the half 53-53.
  • But throughout the first half, the lack of scoring options on both teams was evident, especially for the Bulls. The Bulls were in fact able to get open shots, but continued to miss-fire.
  • The 2nd half was not a great story for the Bulls, as the criticisms surrounding their effort showed themselves again. Dwyane Wade failed to prove his critics wrong, as he was lackadaisical once again on defense by getting back on defense slowly and not being able to stick with his man.
  • This proved to be a constant theme for the Bulls tonight, as Miami, through the great play of Goran Dragic, sliced and diced the defense for wide open layups, or kick-outs for un-contested three point shots.
  • Also missing in this game was proper scouting and in –game adjustments. The Bulls played a Miami team missing Hassan Whiteside, had the height advantage in the paint and did not take enough advantage. The Bulls should’ve given the ball to Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez every chance they had and did not. The two combined only for 21 points.
  • Miami also took advantage of the Bulls inability to stay with their man defensively, mainly the glaring gaps in the Bulls’ defense when the Heat ran the high pick and roll. This should’ve been something corrected at halftime and never was.
  • Towards the end of the 3rd quarter the Bulls were 2/14 from the field, showing again their lack of scoring options.
  • Miami’s Wayne Ellington is an average NBA player at best, but when facing the Bulls, he found himself wide open, and hit his shots, totaling 14 points. While he didn’t have the best shooting percentage from the field, he contributed in a way one would expect Nikola Mirotic to contribute for the Bulls, yet he finished with 1 point in 15 minutes of play.
  • The always entertaining Rajon Rondo finished with 13 points, trying to gain the Bulls trust back, or chose to play well against the Heat to showcase himself for the next team he will be playing for come February.

The final thought in this game is once again the lack of a consistent rotation. Hoiberg has chosen to incorporate Paul Zipser into his lineup, which has been surprisingly beneficial. However, his inconstant use of Bobby Portis and rookie 1st round pick Denzel Valentine does nothing for their development and rapport with the team. While “resting” Wade a few days a week is unacceptable in my book, the idea of trotting out different rotations, with Wade, without Wade, with Portis, without Portis etc, doesn’t allow the team to grow. And for Denzel Valentine to not play on this team speaks volumes to his development as well as the misguided idea by management that this team is a contender this season. Letting the kids play and develop is the only way for the Bulls’ to get better and build a bright future.

  • Up next, the Bulls host the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night at the U.C.

Note-A-Bulls: Herculean Efforts from Wade and Butler can’t save the Bulls from the Hawks

Coming off two wins in a row, the Bulls looked to keep things going Wednesday night, taking on the Atlanta Hawks for the second time this week. After dropping their first game in Atlanta, this time the Bulls hosted the Hawks in Chicago, hoping to be above .500 at the end of the night.

Tonight, Hoiberg’s lineup was Grant, Wade, Butler, Gibson and Lopez. For the Hawks, it was their normal lineup: Schroder, Sefolosha, Bazemore, Millsap, and Howard. Starting off the game, the Bulls looked ready to pick up where they had left off in their previous game. They jumped out to an early lead, holding the Hawks to three points for the first four minutes.

Amidst rallies from Atlanta, the Bulls continuously responded to go up as much as 10 points as the 1st quarter winded down. Even after the Hawks put up a seven-point rally at the end of the quarter, the Bulls closed out with a quick six points to lead 29-22 after 12 minutes. Learning from the Bulls’ 1st quarter, the Hawks decided to up the ante offensively. They scored seven points in less than two minutes to start the 2nd.

By the six-minute mark in the quarter, the Hawks pulled into three points of the Bulls lead, 39-42. Again, the Bulls battled off a Hawks rally, outscoring them 17-9 to finish off the quarter. Chicago went into the half up 59-51, outscoring the Hawks 30-29 in the 2nd.As I have said about too many Bulls games this year, this one was a tale of two halves.

Despite Atlanta’s continuous persistence, the Bulls held off multiple rallies to stay up 10 halfway through the quarter. However, in less than two minutes, the Hawks went on a 9-2 run to pull within three points, and would tie on the next possession. The Bulls, barely hanging on, had one last gasp to outscore the Hawks by five points, leading 83-78.

Unlike previous quarters, the wheels finally began to fall off, as the Hawks would no longer be denied. Despite going up nine points early in the 4th and pushing their lead to 11 with just over five minutes in the game, they would completely collapse. Down 100-110 with three (yes, just three minutes left), the Hawks went on an abysmal 19-4 run to finish off the game and win 119-114. The Hawks scored eight points in the final minute, including six free-throws.

  • To say Wade and Butler carried the team would be an understatement. Butler, who scored a game-high 40 points, was 13-22 from the field. Wade, who turned in a 33-point performance, was 14-24 from the field.
  • The rest of the Bulls lineup from the field? 6-21 from the field, scoring 13 total points. While Taj Gibson grabbed 10 rebounds, there was nothing else to be satisfied with from the lineup. Surely, this performance will have Bulls fans particularly upset
  • Off the bench, Mirotic continued to frustrate. Despite shooting 3-11 in 18 minutes, the worst part may have been his four fouls, which would add up to be a big difference maker in the end. Once again, Felicio added some needed help on the boards, racking up six in 20 minutes of action. Paul Zipser registered a quiet 23 minutes, with no field goals but two blocks.
  • Not only did the Hawks get at least 15 points from each starter, but they also received 17 from Hardaway Jr. off the bench. After a shaky 1st quarter offensively, the group finished shooting over 51% on the night. Defensively, 13 turnovers and 20 fouls still gave the Bulls 26 opportunities at the line, where the Bulls shot 77%
  • Understandably, Bulls fans will be upset at this untimely loss. After a “good Bulls, bad Bulls” narrative has seemed to follow them all season, a three-game win streak and over .500 record would be a big step in the right direction. Despite maintaining their composure for 45+ minutes, the final collapse showed that this team will need more consistency if to finish games out in the future.
  • Up Next: The Bulls play host to Dwyane Wade’s former team the Miami Heat on Friday night.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls win by a hair thanks to a late whistle

After a rough night getting trounced by the Atlanta Hawks for three quarters Friday night, the Bulls looked to rebound against a perennially struggling Sacramento Kings team at home on Saturday. The second night of a back-to-back is always rough, and the Bulls have been known to demonstrate an inability to get motivated for sub-0.500 teams. But thanks to a questionable foul call on DeMarcus Cousins against Dwyane Wade with just seconds remaining in the game, the Bulls were able to hold on to victory, 102-99, improving to 22-23.

  • Neither team held any substantial lead, as it was neck and neck the whole way. The largest lead of the night was the Bulls by nine, but it was very short-lived, and only in the second quarter. There were 17 ties in the game and 15 lead changes. It seemed whoever had the ball last was going to win, and with Wade’s breakaway missed dunk coupled with a phantom shooting foul call on Boogie in favor of Wade, the Bulls got just that, as Wade’s free throw would be all they would need.
  • In a game that was so tight, with neither team holding a lead for very long, and neither boasting a double-digit lead, the difference may have been at the free throw line. The Bulls had a decided advantage of 28-16 from the stripe; Jimmy Butler made all 10 of the free throws he was awarded, while the bulk of the others (12) came from Dwayne Wade.
  • Wade had a solid showing, putting up 30 points on 9/20 from the field, six rebounds, four assists, and four blocks. He got to the charity stripe 15 times, the most out of any player on the court. Still, his +/- was the worst of any Bull, at -11. However, two of his three steals were on key possessions late in the game to help seal the deal. Up one, with under 15 seconds remaining, he picked Boogie Cousin’s pocket, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk on the other end.
  • Jimmy Butler had a noteworthy game, per usual. Butler scored 23 points on 6/14 shooting, with five rebounds and seven assists. He struggled with his shot a bit down the stretch, which is rare for his superman status, and looked uncomfortable with the double team, but was able to be bailed out by his teammates. Butler is still proving to be by far and away the most valuable Bull on the court – in 39 minutes, he led the team with a +14, which is impressive, considering how tight the game was. In those 9 minutes he didn’t play, the Kings gained an 11 point advantage.
  • There aren’t too many sequences that we get to point to this year, so when one sticks out it’s a nice little bonus. One such sequence occurred tonight in the second quarter, after the Bulls began the quarter with a 24-21 lead: Rajon Rondo helped the Bulls get off to a fast start off the bench with a beautiful lob to Cristiano Felicio. The following possession, Rondo whipped the ball on a cross court bounce pass baseline to Paul Zipser for the corner three ball for a quick 5-0 run and an eight point lead.
  • We thought Doug McDermott may have broken out of his slump last week, with a 31 point showing against Memphis but has been just 5/18 for 12 points in the three games since. He had just three points on 1/5 shooting Saturday night.
  • A word about Boogie Cousins. He had a monster game: 42 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and a couple huge threes and some clutch and impressive moves to the basket, but the Kings couldn’t get it done, as there was no other Kings player in double figures (yikes). He’s posted seven 40-point games in his career, but the Kings are now just 3-4 in those contests.
  • Up Next: The Bulls travel to Orlando to face the Magic on Tuesday, while the Kings are back at it Monday night in Detroit.