Tag Archives: Kobe Bryant

BULLet Points: Bulls hold off Lakers in Kobe’s final trip to United Center

While Kobe Bryant‘s retirement tour is dragging on a little more painfully than some of us would prefer, the Mamba’s last game in Chicago was a delight. Bulls fans came prepared to cheer Bryant toward retirement, and Kobe delivered a few vintage moments in response. Ultimately, the Bulls were too much for Byron Scott‘s atrocious defense, prevailing 126-115.

  • Derrick Rose continued his run of superb production, especially with Jimmy Butler still nursing a knee strain. Rose tallied 24 points, seven rebounds, and six assists on 8/15 shooting; he also got to the stripe eight times. Derrick has been an absolute beast inside the paint lately, converting regularly and drawing more free throws to boost his efficiency. If Rose can keep this up when Butler returns, the Bulls will have their most dynamic backcourt yet.
  • Starting alongside Rose, E’Twaun Moore was fantastic once again, pouring in 24 points of his own on 10/14 shooting in a team-high 41 minutes. Moore, a career 36%  three point shooter, was 4/4 from distance to increase his rate to 46% this season. While that number is bound to drop some, the emergence of Moore’s defense and floor-spacing has solidified his role as a legitimate rotation player. I hope the Bulls can re-sign him.
  • Following up on his career performance against Toronto, Doug McDermott knocked down 6/9 shots (3/4 from deep) for 16 points. He did not record any other statistics. While McDermott’s inability to force turnovers, rebound, or assist is alarming, his shooting ability is truly elite. Hopefully the young wing can start improving on the edges as he hones his scoring game.
  • For the first time in nearly two seasons, we got a glimpse of why Bulls’ management wanted both Mike Dunleavy and McDermott on the squad. Dunleavy added 17 on just six field goal attempts, as he and Doug alternated as Chicago’s premier floor-spacer. It’s really nice to see Dunleavy getting comfortable again. He’s a vital part of the Bulls’ rotation; they were +14 in his 25 minutes and outscored by three in the other 23.
  • Another encouraging game for Bobby Portis. BP had 17 points, seven boards, and three assists in 25 strong minutes. Most encouragingly, he drilled all three of his attempts from long range. Portis is up to 38% (11/29) from distance on the season, and he looks good shooting from out there. It’s a small sample, but a very exciting one. If Portis can utilize the three as a weapon, it will make his inside and in between games even more difficult to guard. Defensively, I’m also excited by Bobby’s positioning and tenacity, even if it isn’t fully translating into results now.
  • Pau Gasol dominated this one, posting 21 points, seven boards, five assists, and five blocks. He was a team-high +19 and did not turn the ball over in 38 minutes. Fred Hoiberg didn’t have much of a choice, as both Portis and Taj Gibson committed five fouls. To be honest though, Hoiberg probably should’ve let Portis play to a sixth foul instead of tacking more minutes onto Gasol. If the Bulls truly want to bring Pau back, playing him huge minutes at age 36 in a basically lost season is a big head-scratcher.
  • Kobe was a very fun 8/20 for 22 points. He actually knocked down 7/13 from inside the arc, mixing in an exciting array of classic Kobe step-backs and fadeaways. Bryant’s absurdly bloated role in LA has probably hurt the long-term development of the Lakers’ young players, but you can’t deny the fun of some of the moments Bryant has provided this season.
  • Briefly: Julius Randle looked pretty awesome, though he has struggled to do anything besides rebound effectively this season. With the NBA downsizing, maybe he can tailor his game more to small ball.  DeAngelo Russell is very clearly a highly talented point guard who I wish had the chance to explore his game under a different coach. Still, if the Lakers retain their top-three pick, fire Scott, and right the ship…this was the best case scenario.
  • Coming up: the Bulls host the struggling Wizards on Wednesday night.

BULLet Points: Bulls easily take care of Kobe, Lakers

The Bulls came out strong on Thursday night and never looked back, outscoring the Lakers in every quarter, and holding a 15-20 point lead nearly the whole game. In Kobe Bryant‘s second-to-last game against the Bulls, Chicago was out to make a statement after a terrible late-game loss against the Heat whose result meant they’d won won just three in their last ten games. Let’s get into it:

  • Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Jimmy Butler led the charge with aggression, ball movement, and efficient scoring. They combined for for 63 points on 27/46 FGs with 24 rebounds and 22 assists in the 114-91 win. They looked like they were comfortable with each other out there, finding cutting lanes, and making nifty passes in creative ways, beyond just the standard pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop, unimaginative offense that we’ve been accustomed to seeing of late. The Bulls showed flashes of this against the Heat, but the Bulls kept the pedal to the metal in LA.
  • With Kirk Hinrich (bruised thigh) and Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis) out, Fred Hoiberg decided to give E’Twaun Moore the start over Aaron Brooks and Tony Snell (who played just four minutes). It’s a group that hasn’t seen much action together, but they got the game started on the right foot. E’Twaun demonstrated his athleticism and the dynamic off ball movement he can bring when he’s out there with the backcourt of Rose and Butler.
  • Pau Gasol was nearing in on a triple double for the second straight game, finishing with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. He’s shown much more flexibility and consistency in the last three games, averaging 22/13/5, and has shown more mental fortitude and focus on the defensive end, along with physicality on contested boards.
  • More on Jimmy Butler because he’s impressive literally every night now. The All-Star reserve (snubbed of the starting spot by Dwyane Wade): in just 31 minutes (phew), he posted 26 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and no turnovers with +31 on the night. He was flying high, playing D, running fast breaks, and had back to back steals for lay-ins on the other end. He’s playing at such a high level – Bulls fans: appreciate what this man is doing right now. Don’t take it for granted.
  • Derrick had a very efficient game. He was attacking with vigor, and although he settled for a couple of threes, was a scorer (16 points on 7/12 shooting), passer (5 assists), stole it once, and only turned it over once, which is impressive considering he was making passes like this:

  • The Bulls really shared the ball well tonight. Part of this is the atrocious, swiss cheese defense of the Lakers, who allow a third-worst 106 points per game, and look lost out there, but a lot of it had to do with the Bulls being proactive in their movement and court vision, and it was a breath of fresh air. This was not a boring game to watch – not by a long shot. Rose was lightning fast, his passes were darts; Pau managed to give Butler a few alley-oops; there were plenty of steals and fast breaks, and only the very rare occasion of an iso fade away (and really only when the shot clock was getting low, or when the game was out of reach)
  • Bobby Portis had his role expanded with all the injuries, playing nearly 22 minutes, but only putting up a +1. He’s providing energy off the bench, but struggles in double teams and court awareness. But a big guy that can rebound, shoot, play in the post, and run the floor is so essential going forward. He had a nice hustle put-back, and pulled down seven rebounds.
  • Kobe didn’t have it tonight – not that he has it most nights anymore – 10 points on 4/13, and he was torched by Butler. He’s more than on his last legs. Side note: it’s still strange to see Roy Hibbert in a Lakers uniform – man, has he dropped off a cliff. Don’t take too much away from this game, since the Lakers are just flat out awful, but it certainly was nice finally seeing the Bulls maintain a large lead against a team they’re supposed to annihilate.
  • Coming up: the Bulls will enjoy a weekend in Los Angeles before taking on the Clippers on Sunday afternoon.

Steve’s FanDuel Winner 1/2/15

Happy New Year!! Study hard and make small steps everyday!!

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The Midseason Bizarro NBA Awards, Part 1

Happy New Year everyone. As of tonight, 2015 is now upon us. We’re over one third of the way through the NBA season and this is when many experts examine some of the awards races throughout the league. It’s always fun to debate which players are likely to take home these awards at seasons end, but I thought it would be more fun to pick who’s winning each award based on the complete antithesis of the usual qualifications. Welcome to the Bizarro NBA Awards race!

Most Valuable Player

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

This award is not an indictment on the talent that Kobe Bryant possesses, because he is a first ballot Hall of Famer and the second best shooting guard to ever lace ‘em up. But Kobe takes home the award based on his awful performance thus far into the season. This isn’t entirely his fault because he is playing with the likes of Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hill, Ronnie Price, Wes Johnson, and others in the supporting cast who really have no business sharing the court with Kobe, let alone being in the NBA.

It’s like the Lakers are this huge Hollywood movie project. They’ve got all the greatest special effects, good editing and sound mixing, and the film sets are brilliant and massive. But the Lakers didn’t allocate enough in their total budget to make good casting hires. They signed on Mark Wahlberg, the star, but they didn’t have enough money left over to sign any other big names. So they had to hire Mark’s brother Donnie and a litany of other D-list celebrities to play fifteen different roles. The final product just isn’t going to hold up.

kobe vs wiggins

Ridiculous Lakers analogies aside, Kobe’s shooting percentage is way down (37% overall and 27% on threes). With his shooting percentage down, there is also a higher focus on his typically questionable shot selection. There have been many a night so far this season where Kobe will take around30 shots and have very little return in scoring. At this point it’s hard to argue that Kobe is helping this team more than he is hurting it (did you see the Lakers dominate Golden State without Kobe??). By having him out there on a nightly basis, the Lakers have a chance to finish outside the top five of the lottery at seasons end. This is a horrible thing for LA because their first round pick will be given to Phoenix if this comes to fruition. It’s not like Byron Scott or the Lakers front office are going to tell Kobe to sit out the season so they can keep their draft pick, but honestly that is the best course of action. Kobe is not only hurting this team with his overall performance, but he will be hurting the future of Lakers basketball if he is able to regain form and win pointless games for this team down the stretch. If Sam Hinkie was the general manager of the Lakers, Kobe already would’ve been dealt for a 2018 second round pick and the right to swap second rounders in 2019. Bob Dylan once said “the times they are a changing”. However, Ron Burgundy nor Mitch Kupchak ever heard that song.

I’m sorry Kobe, but someone has to take home this award and you’ve been pretty bad this year. But it’s not your fault…

Defensive Player of the Year

The entire Timberwolves team

It’s almost unquantifiable how awful the Timberwolves are on the defensive end; luckily for us sports are all about statistics and we can quantify exactly how awful they really are. The Timberwolves love not playing defense almost as much as ownership loves rehiring Flip Saunders to be their head coach. They’re letting opponents shoot over 49% from the field including over 37% from long distance, as well as surrendering over 109 points per game. You’re just not going to win many NBA games when your opponent is making half of their shots every night and you have to rely on Shabazz Muhammad to lead your team to over 110 points. The Timberwolves are like a hockey team who goes down 1-0 in the first period and then inexplicably decides to pull their goalie for the rest of the game to try and catchup. I mean this is the team that gave the Sixers their first victory of the season; they are no world beaters. The reason I couldn’t zero in on just one winner for this award is because the T’Wolves are so bad at defense collectively, I think it would be unfair to leave anyone out of the spotlight. Flip Saunders the president of basketball operations should tell Flip Saunders the head coach that this team needs to play a little more defense. Or the T’Wolves should just start playing defense like the guys from BASEketball…

Congratulations Minnesota you are the first team to win an individual award!

Rookie of the Year

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

It may be a slightly unorthodox move to give Rookie of the Year to a player that is inactive and hasn’t suited up all year, but this is the bizarro world and giving awards to unqualified recipients is not only accepted, it is encouraged. Normal statistics like points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks are overrated. We should be deciding awards races by how well a person tweets or does the Shmoney dance. Luckily, we have a rookie right in our midst that is absolutely stellar at both.

Andrew Wiggins will likely win the actual ROY award because he can do things like jump really high and occasionally score over 20 points in a game, but we need to measure ROY by more intangible attributes. Joel Embiid has been more entertaining so far from the sidelines than any other rookie has been on the court. Another reason why I personally want to give Joel this bizarro ROY award is because he is also acting as a beacon of hope for my beloved 76ers. He hasn’t even played in an NBA game and yet I can’t stop thinking of how amazing he is going to be. For example, I frequently wake up from nightmares induced from watching the previous night’s Sixers game. When this happens I always head over to my computer and watch Embiid highlights from his time at Kansas to calm me down and ease me back to sleep. This one is a favorite highlight of mine…Dream Shake forever y’all

We don’t know what the future holds, and yes there is always the possibility that he doesn’t live up to the hype. But right now he is carrying a tormented franchise every night while wearing a killer suit at the end of the bench. I think that is significant enough to garner him some credit for this fake award I’m handing out.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 of the Midseason Bizarro Awards. Follow me @jeff_berest for more of my NBA musings and general nonsense and follow @DRosesAndThorns for all your latest NBA/Chicago Bulls news and opinions.

Steve’s FanDuel Winner 12/30/14

Unfortunately, we couldn’t follow up our killer Sunday with an equally as awesome Monday Night.  We went 4/20 in GPPs…Disappointing, but we learned some valuable lessons.

1) There’s a time for everything- If you punted Gerald Henderson, Marvin Williams and John Henson in the same lineup, more power to you.  Next time a day like yesterday presents itself, we’ll be POUNDING that strategy.

2) Everyday presents a completely different puzzle. Think about it like poker..study the hands so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.

Follow our Twitter accounts at https://twitter.com/Stavster91 or https://twitter.com/DRosesAndThorns

If you feel inclined to donate to our quest for NBA FanDuel supremacy, we appreciate any and every contribution..Happy Holidays and thank you for your generosity!!  Click here for ourYouTube FanFunding Page

GPPs (as of 12:30 CST):


There is almost 100% certainty that these lineups will change.  I will do my best to update them as frequently as possible.  But, there are no guarantees!!  Remember, YOU are responsible for your money.

We are only asking for one thing in return for our analysis and hard work..YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT TO THE COMMUNITY!!

I would appreciate the referrals for FanDuel or Fantasy Draft if you feel inclined to do so!!