Tag Archives: Memphis Grizzlies

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.

BULLet Points: Lack of urgency dooms Bulls against shorthanded Grizzlies

Anyone who is still watching Bulls games at this point is undoubtedly familiar with all the different versions of this team. There are the “National TV Chicago Bulls”, a team that plays with effort and energy on both sides of the ball. There are the “Can’t Miss Chicago Bulls,” a team filled with marksmen who spread the defense out and take advantage of their shooting ability at all five positions. And then, there are “Not Really In The Mood Chicago Bulls,” the team that probably has the largest slice on the pie chart of which group has shown up the most this season. It was on prominent display Tuesday in Memphis.

  • The Bulls looked flat on offense from the opening tip. The lack of ball and player movement in the first quarter – following an off day – was downright embarrassing. Over and over again, the Bulls settled for contested jump shots early in the shot clock after just one or two passes, never settling into any type of rhythm or flow. For a team wrapping up it’s 78th game of the season, the Bulls tonight played like a group of complete strangers.
  • Despite the groggy start on offense, the Bulls were able to hang tight for the first eight minutes of the game. Zach Randolph made just one of his first six field goal attempts while being defended by Bobby Portis in the post. But when Portis was subbed out for Nikola Mirotic and Randolph found himself switched onto Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies quickly built a lead they never relinquished. Z-Bo came on strong after his cold start and eventually finished with a game high 27 points on 10/19 shooting. The veteran power forward also grabbed 10 rebounds, five offensive, to go along with four assists and two steals. Randolph brutalized Gasol in the post all night, proving that excellent footwork and body control can more than make up for a lack of height and athleticism.
  • Fred Hoiberg did not take advantage of the opportunity to play Doug McDermott big minutes against a team lacking any threat on the wing capable of punishing Doug on defense. On a night the Bulls desperately needed an injection of energy into the offense, Doug McDermott played just 24 minutes off the bench. McDermott  scored 7 points on 3/5 shooting and was a complete afterthought in the game plan. The beautiful hammer plays that the Bulls were frequently running during McDermott’s hot run in late February and early March were absent from the playbook Tuesday. It’s hard to watch one of the only guys on the team who is clearly a part of the organization’s future become a non-factor in a must win game.
  • A man who looked strikingly similar to Jimmy Butler started at shooting guard for the Bulls and failed to score a point until the game was far out of reach in the fourth quarter. The Butler impostor finished 2/8 from the field and lacked any sort of explosion going to the rim or intensity on defense. After the real Jimmy put on a 9/10 performance against Milwaukee on Sunday and a heroic triple double the night before that, it’s a shame this two-bit impersonator filled in against the Grizzlies.
  • Nikola Mirotic’s hot shooting streak continued. Mirotic was the only Bull with any accuracy from deep in this game and accounted for six of Chicago’s 11 made three point shots. All nine of Mirotic’s field goal attempts came from behind the arc, which is totally fine if he’s splashing home 2/3 of his attempts.
  • Derrick Rose finished with a line of 12 points, five rebounds, eight assists and five turnovers. Rose, who played his one year of college basketball in Memphis, shot a very poor 5/15 from the field, including 0/3 from three. Rose attempted only one bank shot all game, a shot I’ve noticed he has gone away from recently after it using it with great success in prior months. Rose is at his best when he makes up for his decreased athleticism with intelligent shot selection. That was not the case Tuesday.
  • It’s one thing to lose big to the Memphis Grit-n-Grind Grizzlies of the last half decade. This is not that team. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are both done for the season, and the Grizzlies have had to find production from unusual places to maintain the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Against the Bulls, Jordan Farmar started and scored 15 points on 50% shooting. Vince Carter scored 17 points in 24 minutes on an array of difficult jump shots. Some dude named Xavier Munford knocked in a pair of three pointers. While talent is the most important factor in a team’s success in the NBA, the Grizzlies showed Chicago how consistently putting forth your best effort for 48 minutes can make up for any gap in player pedigree. If the Bulls can’t muster the fight to take down this banged up team, they don’t deserve the make the playoffs.
  • Coming up: the Bulls head to Miami on Thursday night.

BULLet Points: Bulls put away Grizzlies with surprising ease

  • Tonight’s win against the Memphis Grizzlies was one of the seemingly rare times in which the Bulls won with relative ease. The Bulls outshot Memphis in every part of the game and overcame a slight negative turnover margin as well. In the end, the Bulls improved to 15-8 with a 98-85 win.
  • This puts them within a game of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who they won’t face until January 23. If the season ended today, the Bulls would have the second seed in the East. They continue to win games in spite of often not looking quite like a good basketball team.
  • Joakim has been earning his minutes. In his last three games, he’s posted a +6, +14, and +7. By comparison, in the three games before that, he was -1, -18, and -1. Whatever has changed, this is a trend that he has not shown with this consistency so far this season, so my hope is that it can continue. Overall, the Bulls have been slightly better with him on the floor.
  • The guards came through. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler played like the dynamic duo that we have hoped to see all season. Rose scored 19 and Butler added 24. Rose got off to a hot start, pouring in 10 points in the first quarter on an exciting array of layups and jumpers. Doug McDermott added 17 points himself, coming largely from his four three pointers. Even Aaron Brooks, in spite of a rough start to the game, was able to add 7 points as well.
  • Is this “Hoiball”? In the quarter season report just a couple of days ago, I wondered when we might start to see glimpses of what the Bulls will look like when they are fully playing the Fred Hoiberg style of basketball. Perhaps this game against the Grizzlies was a bit of a look at what that might be. They shot better than they have most of the season (44.2%), and used a particularly strong third quarter to build a comfortable lead that Memphis could never chip away at in the last quarter of the game with any success. In the third quarter, the Bulls shot 11/26, compared to 5/17 from Memphis. Defensively, they controlled the post play of the Grizzlies and kept them from being able to get the ball into the paint and create any scoring opportunities.
  • The group of Kirk Hinrich, Aaron Brooks, Doug McDermott, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah was surprisingly strong in the second half, particularly, of course, in the third quarter. With the exception of Brooks, all four of the other players in this group were well above even in terms of +/-. McDermott led this group at a surprising +10. After a pretty rough start to the season on the defensive end, Doug McBuckets has been on a nice roll in his last few games as well.
  • Since dropping three games December 5th-9th, the Bulls have won their last four games.  Granted, this included a matchup against Philadelphia, but it lends credence to the possibility that the Bulls might actually be able to maintain their spot high in the standings as the season progresses.
  • Coming up: the Bulls will host the 15-12 Pistons at the United Center on Friday night. They’ll be playing on back-to-back nights this weekend, as they’ll go from Friday’s home game to New York to take on the Knicks on Saturday.

Midseason Love/Hate, Part 2

Houston Rockets

Love: Dwight Howard anointing the Rockets as “Swag Champs”

The Rockets aren’t the first team I think of when I hear the phrase “Swag Champs”. Also I don’t really remember the Rockets winning the “swag playoff bracket” and claiming the title. Although I guess it was pretty swag of Dwight to name his team as champs without actually competing against anyone else.

Hate: James Harden’s beard

I know this is contrary to popular opinion, but if I was James I’d think about shaving it. The constant grooming and filtering through the beard for loose food particles just seems like a huge hassle. Also you know you’d get a great Gillette endorsement out of it. But he might end up being the league MVP so he can do what he wants.

Indiana Pacers

Love: Larry Bird’s stealthy tank job

The Pacers are pretty bad this year and although they probably won’t get a top five pick, they will be relatively high in the lottery. If you combine that draft pick with the return of Paul George, the Pacers become a formidable opponent in the East again next season. Larry Bird trading off some minor assets for more draft picks and clearing cap space could really make this off-season interesting for the Pacers.

Hate: watching the Pacers is the equivalent to watching paint dry

The Pacers without Paul George are by far the most boring team to watch in the NBA. They have zero appeal to anyone who enjoys watching basketball. No thanks Rodney Stuckey, I’ve seen all I need to see. Does anyone really like to watch David West go 6/15 from midrange? Or watch Roy Hibbert foul out in 22 minutes? After a more thorough evaluation of the Geneva Convention, I also found out that forcing POW’s to watch Pacers basketball is an approved form of torture.

Los Angeles Clippers

Love: Steve Ballmer’s enthusiasm

I mentioned his dancing to Fergie earlier, and that was truly epic. But it’s nice to see an owner who is visible and simply loves just being an owner of a sports team. He paid $2 billion for the Clippers and it’s because he straight up really wanted to own a team. I don’t empathize with many billionaire’s but I kind of enjoy the fact that he doesn’t take owning a team for granted… (yet).

Hate: Blake Griffin TV commercials

One or two is fine Blake, but it’s getting kind of ridiculous. I think I’d be more okay with Blake being in so many commercials if the Clippers literally did anything in the playoffs since he’s been there. He needs to have a stipulation in his next contract that says he can only do one commercial spot for every playoff series the team wins. Also I would like to come out and say with conviction that I believe another early exit in the playoffs for the Clippers is likely. Their team chemistry is mediocre, they don’t have the talent on the wings to win four straight series, and their lack of depth off the bench is a problem that will become more evident as the season goes on. They have star power, but I can’t see them getting to the finals unless Blake, CP3, and Deandre Jordan play out of their minds through April and May and just overpower opponents to mask the inefficiencies of the rest of the team.

Los Angeles Lakers

Love: Nick Young recruiting free agents during games

I would really like to live in that fantasy land that Nick Young lives in. How can he possibly think any respectable NBA stars would be willing to play with Kobe (he’s definitely not retiring), himself, and guys like Ronnie Price, Wes Johnson, and Ed Davis. What’s the upside for potential free agents coming to LA? Take less than 10 shots a game and miss the playoffs by a very wide margin. Sorry Nick, but I admire the effort by Swaggy P trying to help out Mitch Kupchak this offseason.

Hate: Julius Randle’s injury

I was really looking forward to getting to watch “Baby Z-Bo” play for the Lakers. Getting hurt in the first game in your pro career must have been extremely devastating to Julius, and Lakers fans being subjected to more Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre than required is a harsh punishment. But unfortunately Julius will just be part of this injury cursed draft class with Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid.

Memphis Grizzlies

Love: Ground & Pound

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph dominating the paint on a nightly basis is a pleasure to watch. The Grizzlies really control the tempo of every game with these two behemoths and force opponents to play in the halfcourt which heavily favors their style of basketball. Grizzlies are my pick to come out of the West, so get your tickets for the bandwagon while they last. The addition of Jeff Green was such a major coup for Memphis. Jeff Green as your number one or two option is not a good thing, but Jeff Green as your number four option is such a great asset. He has the offensive talent, and he will have a few games in the playoffs where he will score over 20 points a game and those games can swing a series in the Grizzlies favor.

Hate: I’m not sure how to pronounce “Joerger”

While you were sleeping the Grizzlies didn’t retain Coach Lionel Hollins and hired Dave Joerger. I always want to say [JORG-er] or [YORG-er]. But it’s actually pronounced [YAY-ger]. Case closed!

Miami Heat

Love: that I was proven wrong as a Dwyane Wade doubter

I truly thought Wade had nothing left in the tank after last season, but he has proven many doubters like myself wrong, and has played at an All-Star caliber level. Although he still struggles with injuries, when he has been active he’s been outstanding. I don’t think it’s out of the question Miami could steal a playoffs series, or at least push a quality team to a seven games if Wade is healthy come April. Wade and Bosh have been great, but it’s still a little puzzling how much worse Miami has been without LeBron. Replacing LeBron with Luol Deng, a respectable NBA talent, seemed like a decent move; and a move that would insure them to be over .500 and around a 5 or 6 seed. The difference in wins from this year and last shows the true value of LeBron on the Heat and how he was kind of carrying Wade and Bosh these last few seasons.

Hate: Miami Heat fans

You Heat fans are all frauds and shouldn’t be allowed to have an NBA franchise. There are 28 other teams that don’t have LeBron. Their fans still show up to the games. Shame on you Miami!

Milwaukee Bucks

Love: replacing Larry Sanders with Jason Kidd’s ex-teammate Kenyon Martin

They both played together on the New Jersey Nets 2002 NBA Finals team; that was almost thirteen years ago! I can’t imagine the Bucks even reaching out to Kenyon Martin if Jason Kidd wasn’t the coach. They both played together so long ago that the Nets have moved to Brooklyn since their departure. The Bucks have probably been in some talks with the Mavericks and Grizzlies to bring back Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter too. I feel very nostalgic about the fact that these old teammates have reunited.

Hate: Larry Sanders marijuana addiction

Dude, you’re getting paid millions of dollars to play basketball. You really can’t lay off the ganja? The problem for Larry is that he’s kind of in a Catch-22. He needs money to buy the weed, but the only way he can get money is to play basketball. It’s somewhat hilarious that he’s prioritizing marijuana over extremely large sums of money. If Larry can put down the bong for a few months the Bucks could really use his defensive presence in the playoffs. Teams in the East would feel much better about their chances seeing Zaza Pachulia rather than Larry Sanders.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Love: Andrew Wiggins making the Cavs regret trading him

Andrew Wiggins has really been stellar over the last month and maybe the Cavaliers won’t regret trading him this year, but it seems like Wiggins is going to be a stud for many years to come. There is an increasing likelihood that Kevin Love is going to leave Cleveland this year in free agency and that should really bum out Cavs fans even more. So now they basically traded a future perennial All-Star for a one year rental of Kevin Love, and in a year that they probably won’t win the title. GM LeBron strikes again!

Hate: Flip Saunders hiring Flip Saunders

The definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Insanity is also the definition of the Timberwolves ownership group giving complete control to Flip Saunders.

New Orleans Pelicans

Love: Anthony Davis’ Player Efficiency Rating

Analytically AD is putting together the best year EVER by an NBA player and is on pace to shatter the previous record for a single season PER. That’s really cool. To put this into perspective, Davis’ PER is 31.82. In the history of the NBA, only ten times has a player recorded a PER greater than 31.00. Of those ten seasons, LeBron James did it 3x, Wilt Chamberlain did it 3x, and Michael Jordan did it 4x. Wilt has the highest PER ever, also at 31.82. Anthony Davis is in some pretty historic territory and exclusive company. The most dumbfounded thing about this is that Pelicans are almost certainly going to miss the playoffs…my head hurts.

Hate: we’ll never get to see Anthony Davis in the playoffs

Monty Williams is a terrible coach, and it doesn’t help that they’re in the toughest division in the NBA. Also the Pelicans roster construction in my opinion is just weird with the trio of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans; and they have almost no cap flexibility to make tweaks to the roster in the offseason. It will really be a shame if we continue to go without “The Brow” during postseason play for much longer. Now watch this ambiguously racist Pelicans commercial!

New York Knicks

Love: the audacity to ask for a 2nd round pick for Pablo Prigioni

There was a report a few weeks ago that the Knicks were shopping Prigioni and asking for a 2nd round pick in return. What?! Who in the hell would ever give up any type of asset for an almost 40 year old third string PG? Phil Jackson should’ve asked for something more reasonable like a washing machine and maybe a deal would’ve gotten done. Optimistically trying to move your worst player for assets is proof the Knicks are committed to tanking. Phil is doing a fabulous job of setting his team up to fail, but it would’ve been interesting to see what the team could’ve done if Steve Kerr didn’t parlay his offer with the Knicks into a coaching job with Golden State. Credit Kerr for his incredible foresight and savvy to not be Phil Jackson’s pawn and instead move to Cali with Steph & Klay and become one of the frontrunners for coach of the year.

Hate: everything else

Seriously, everything else. There’s literally almost nothing to love about this team.

BULLet Points: Bulls Play Sweet Music in Memphis

On Thursday night, the Bulls pulled off an impressive 103-97 win over the highly-touted Memphis Grizzlies, and they managed to do so without Derrick Rose (illness) and Taj Gibson (sprained right ankle). The Grizzlies and the Bulls are built very similarly in their approach – defensive-minded and physical – so it was a fun matchup to watch, and *could* be a preview of the NBA Finals (maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself here). Although Tom Thibodeau says a win is a win, for Joakim Noah and the fans, this was the type of victory they’ve been waiting for, having lost close contests to other title contenders, the Mavericks and the Warriors. Here’s how they did it:

  • It was a gutsy performance that required contributions from everyone in the short rotation, with timely scoring, which even included two clutch free throws by E’Twaun Moore to put the Bulls up four points with under a minute to go.
  • It was the Jimmy Butler take-over show, leading the way with 31 points and 10 rebounds, giving him 66 points in the last two games, the first time he’s scored over 30 points in consecutive games in his career. The 35-point game against the Knicks was a career high. He was a combined 18-19 from the charity stripe.
  • Butler has demonstrated an offensive consistency and reliability that has never before been seen in his career. Once an offensive liability, fans calling on the need for a better shooting 2-guard like Joe Johnson (ha), he is now at times a number one offensive option, even when Rose is in the game. He’s taking guys off the dribble, giving little jab steps and creating space, then swooshing fade-away jumpers. His growth has been incredible to watch.
  • Jimmy is quickly asserting himself as a force to be reckoned with, as opponents are now accounting for him in their defensive game plans. Jimmy will be an All-Star this season, barring some unforeseen set of unfortunate events. Although it’s still early in the season, he’s also running away with Most Improved Player, as no one else even comes to mind in the conversation (he’s averaging 21.9 PPG this season, an increase of 8.8 from last year, which is the biggest difference of any player in the NBA who played at least 50 games last season).
  • Nikola Mirotic with a(nother) breakout performance, scoring 27 points and shooting 6-6 from deep (some from way downtown), no longer hesitating on his shot, and releasing with confidence. His two three-point field goals in the second half came at clutch times when the Grizzlies were trying to close the gap, and he got the Bulls bench on their feet a few times. Niko Suave demonstrated the full package in this one.

  • Noah on Mirotic: “He’s a deceptive rebounder. Tips it to himself and (stuff).” “Niko stepped up huge; such a different weapon with his ability to spread the floor like that.” “I think this guy’s the real deal. And I think that he’s just getting better every game and that’s big for us.”
  • Aaron Brooks contributed 17 points, with more timely shooting. When asked about his inexplicable shot-making below the free-throw line, even he has been quoted saying, “When you watch (some of my shots) on tape you wonder, ‘How the hell did I get that off.’ But in the game it seems little easier to me. It just feels comfortable.”
  • Noah had 10 points and 13 rebounds, saying: “This is the best I’ve felt all season.”
  • The much-anticipated Gasol-Gasol showdown didn’t quite live up to the hype, despite the two having among the best seasons of their careers. Pau, in his worst game of the year, posted just 6 points, 11 rebounds and 1 block; Marc with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block.
    • The real story here was that Pau and Marc spent some time with kids at St. Jude’s Hospital before the game, which is great to hear.
    • For a nice story about the two brothers, read this.
  • The Bulls won despite Kirk Hinrich continuing to frustrate, shooting off-balance and committing a couple of poor fouls late in the game. Luckily, they weren’t as bad as the one against the Mavs, and ultimately were non-factors in determining the outcome.
  • The Grizzlies had not lost a home game to an Eastern Conference team since last year, on December 30th – also to the Bulls.
  • Fun Minutes Fact: Jimmy Butler is 25 years young; his averages in the back-to-back victories: 43 minutes and 41 seconds, 33 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals. Tim Duncan is 38 years old and played 91 minutes in consecutive triple-overtime losses in “meaningless” December games against Memphis and Portland (48 minutes and 43 minutes, respectively). He averaged 27.5 points and 13 rebounds in the two games, with one night of rest in between.
    • More Fun Minutes Facts: Tim Duncan, in his first seven years in the league, averaged the following number of games played/minutes played (rounded to nearest minute): 82/39, 50/39 (out of 50 games), 74/39, 82/39, 82/41 (MVP year), 81/39 (MVP year), 69/37.
    • Final Fun Minutes Facts: Jimmy is averaging 39.9 mpg at 25 years old. MJ at 25 averaged 40.2. Duncan at 25 averaged 40.6 minutes.
    • To those that love scrutinizing minutes played, I say, “pooh-pooh.”
  • Time for some choice Joakim Noah quotations in the post-game:
    • During the E’Twuan Moore interview, Noah kept shouting: “Yeah, how did you feel going to the line? That’s what I want to know! Yeah, yeah, Coach called your number! Yeah, yeah, you weren’t nervous!”
    • When asked if the win was just like any other, as Thibs would say, Noah responded: “I’m not Thibs. Just because he says something doesn’t mean I feel the same way.”
    • “I remember (Butler) working out shooting shots off one foot and I was, ‘Jimmy what are you doing’…He’s shooting shots off one foot against the No. 1 team in the NBA in the fourth with the game on the line (and making them).”
    • “For us it was a big win; Pau told us this game meant a lot to him. I like that sentimental (stuff).”

The Bulls look to improve their record this week in yet another back-to-back, this time against the two top Eastern Conference teams to date, at home against the Raptors on Monday night, and in DC against the Wizards on Tuesday.