Tag Archives: Robert Covington

BULLet Points: Bulls take season finale over Sixers

The Chicago Bulls ended their season on a high-note, winning in comeback form over the historically bad Philadelphia 76ers (10-72) 115-105 at the United Center Wednesday night. The Bulls ended the season a disappointing 42-40, a record that would’ve made the playoffs in the East most other years.

  • The strangest thing happened Wednesday night: The Bulls were going through the motions and getting beat down by one of the worst teams in NBA history 60-39 in the 2nd quarter, the lead was 24 at one point, and then the crowd started to boo mercilessly.
  • Except instead of digging themselves an even bigger hole, they began to click and showed some energy, knowing down 3’s from all over the court and playing pretty stifling defense at times. The result was a demanding 32-4 run by the Bulls to put them up 71-64 and they never looked back.
  • The comeback charge was led by Nikola Mirotic and Justin Holiday. As for Mirotic, the forward shot lights out from deep, 7/11, on his way to 32 points. We knew Mirotic could knock down a few shots, but it was the rest of his game that impressed those in attendance. The Montenegro native stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds, four assists, five steals, and even three blocks. Mirotic making the hustle plays seemed to spark the rest of his team to do the same. The fact that he only turned the ball over only twice in 39 minutes is just an added bonus for Niko on the night.
  • The other spark plug on the night was Justin Holiday. The guard dropped a career-high 29 points in the win over the Sixers and must have impressed Fred Hoiberg with his ability to run the offense. Holiday showed great court vision and made the right decision with the ball more times than not on Wednesday. Holiday also proved to be a two-way player causing havoc on the defensive side of the ball with his length, and athleticism. The season-finale was a strong audition from a player hoping to stay in the rotation for next year.
  • It wasn’t just Mirotic and Holiday knocking down threes on the night. The Bulls as a team shot 63% (15/24) on the night as the Bulls pleased their coach by finding open jump shots early in the shot clock on a consistent basis. The key to this was the quick ball movement and unselfish basketball. Once the Bulls started their comeback there was little standing around on offense and everyone was making the extra pass on the perimeter to set up an even more open shot. The result was the Bulls putting up 99 points over the final three frames.
  • One of the bright spots for the 76ers was Robert Covington. The Bellwood, Illinois native must relish playing against his former hometown team. Covington put up 25 points the last time these two met and was just as good last night. Covington put away 27 points on 7/17 shooting, including 7/7 from the charity stripe and was the reason the Sixers had such a big lead early in the 2nd quarter.
  • Coming up: The 2015-2016 season comes to a close as the Bulls fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. This is a crucial offseason for Gar Forman and John Paxson to correct the dysfunction within the organization.
  • A note from DRaT editor Jake Weiner: Thank you so much to everyone that joined us for our coverage of all 82 Bulls games this season. It’s been a depressing year for Bulls fans, but we’re so glad to have been able to share the ups and (mostly) downs with all of you. We’re looking forward to joining you all again next season!

BULLet Points: Jimmy Butler goes Super Saiyan

Chicago, losers of three straight, should have come into Philadelphia with laser focus and turned the game into a blowout before halftime. Of course, these are the Bulls, notorious for playing up or down to their competition. While a cleanly won rout would have been better for my cardiovascular health, at least I was treated to an inspiring comeback and a memorable performance from Jimmy Butler.

  • Jimmy Butler was incredible once again Thursday night. On a night when no other Bull scored more than 17 points, Jimmy Butler put the whole team on his back by scoring 53 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists. Butler’s huge scoring outburst was done in extremely efficient manner. The All Star shooting guard was 15/30 from the field, 2/4 from three and 21/25 (!!) at the free throw line. Butler simply refused to let the Bulls three game losing streak continue against the lowly 76ers.
  • Butler’s performance was the first 50 point game by a Bull since Jamal Crawford in 2004! I vaguely remember watching that game! I think it included a play where Jamal passed it to himself off the backboard for a dunk.

  • Despite an exciting win, this game has to be viewed as a disappointment for the Bulls. Philadelphia has played better since re-acquiring Ish Smith in a trade with New Orleans, but they are still giving heavy amounts of minutes to guys with no business being on an NBA court. Jimmy Butler, who is playing through calf and ankle injuries, should have been able to enjoy a soft night on the schedule. Instead, the league leader in court time was forced to log 49 minutes of grueling basketball to overcome a 24 point first half deficit.

  • Butler’s 25 free throw attempts speak volumes to his unguardability. There are few players in the NBA capable of slowing down Jimmy Butler, and even fewer capable of really stopping him. Like Toronto before them, Philadelphia does not have any of those players.
  • A huge turning point happened at the 2:24 mark of the fourth quarter when Robert Covington fouled out of the game. At the time, the Bulls led by just one point, and a big reason they didn’t lead by more was the hot shooting of Robert Covington. The former second round pick scored 25 points and was 6/10 from three, constantly killing any momentum the Bulls built during their mini runs. The only thing that stopped Covington were the five fouls Jimmy Butler drew off of him driving to the basket.

  • Doug McDermott was the only other Bull who looked alive on offense in this game. Doug led the team in plus/minus at +19 in 33 minutes. Doug shot 7/12 from the field and 1/2 from three and even managed to grab a steal at mid court, a rare occurrence.
  • In addition to the steal, Doug did something else pretty awesome that we rarely get to see.

  • Joakim Noah has yet to find any offensive touch since coming back from his shoulder injury, but he was able to make positive contributions in this game. Starting in place of the injured Pau Gasol, Noah grabbed 16 rebounds and wracked up eight assists to go along with six points scored. His +13 was the best of the big men in this game.
  • The Bulls badly missed the big Spaniard in this one. Pau comes with his set of issues, but there were times in the first half where the offense needed to slow it down for a possession. Gasol loves quieting runs with a quick post up basket. When things looked to be getting out of hand in the second quarter, I longed for an angry Pau back down and demand for the ball.
  • The win cures all, but this was not a game to remember for the Snell-Brooks-Portis second line that was playing so well during the win streak. The three reserves combined for just four field goal attempts (making just one) and five turnovers. Nikola Mirotic was also abysmal against the NBA’s worst team. He shot 2/13 from the field and was the only starter with a negative plus/minus. The Bulls excelled when Hoiberg mercifully benched him for the rest of the night.
  • With Derrick Rose sidelined nursing knee tendinitis and Brooks struggling, minutes became available for E’twaun Moore. Moore had a fantastic game, scoring 14 points on 6/8 shooting, including 2/2 from three. Jimmy Butler was running on fumes in the five minute overtime, but he was able to take a few possessions off thanks to Moore’s personal 7-0 run against Philly.
  • Every time it seemed like the Bulls finished off the 76ers, Ish Smith knocked down a clutch, difficult shot. Ish scored 24 points and was the only man on his team capable of generating any offense down the stretch. Ish has bounced around the NBA but is finally putting together some impressive stat lines in a big role with Philadelphia. In what looks to be an extremely thin point guard free agent class, Ish Smith could be playing himself into a contract worth $10 million a year.
  • Next up, the Bulls come home to the United Center to face off against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks on Friday in the latter half of a back to back.

One is Better Than None

For some reason, Madonna’s hit song from 1984 was running through my head after the Sixers had won their first game to quietly evade history: “Like a virgin, touched for the very first time.” It kind of perfectly encapsulates the season thus far. The Sixers are a team without any experience, and a large bulk of the players on the team had never even won an NBA game before Wednesday. And in case you were wondering, no, I don’t have any qualms comparing my team to a Madonna song.

I know we shouldn’t be celebrating a team that had lost 17 straight games and who narrowly avoided one of the more embarrassing records in NBA history (18 straight losses to begin a season). But sorry I’m not sorry. This win actually felt great as a long suffering Sixers fan. It just felt like a huge chip had been taken off the city’s shoulder. Of course we understand the long term goals of the Sixers and there is virtually no difference between starting 1-17 and 0-18 but as fan you really start to feel and empathize with these players. Regardless of how much talent they lack, they give 110% night in and night out because most of these guys are just trying to stick around in the NBA for more than a couple months.

Michael Carter-Williams is a guy you have to feel for. He’s a true NBA talent and if you watch you can sense the mounting frustration that piles on him every day. He’s going to incur a lifetime of putrid NBA basketball games before the Sixers final roster is complete in a few years. They say in sports there are also moral victories; I think this win belongs in that category as well for MCW. It was also great to see this team get a win because they have been close so many times and the streak needed to end.

This is typically how I am forced to watch Sixers basketball:

Wednesday’s game against Minnesota could also be described as one of the worst basketball games ever played. The first half ended at a paltry 34-32 and there were more turnovers in this game than in a Dutch bakery. But that was actually a perfect recipe for the Sixers to finally chalk one up in the win column.

The Sixers had given up a double digit lead in the first half and I kind of thought the inevitable was going to happen: the T’Wolves would regroup and take out the Sixers. There are certain things you can count on in life; death, taxes, and the Sixers losing in terrible fashion. My expressions during this game were varied. I started out hopeful, then sank into despair, and this finally turned into ecstasy.

There were some unlikely heroes. How about Robert Covington? If you don’t know who Robert Covington is, I’m not going to crucify you because I didn’t know who he was until a few weeks ago. But he’s actually a pretty accomplished NBA D-League player (huge oxymoron), so he was a perfect fit for the Sixers. He came into the game in the fourth quarter and was unconscious and knocked down some critical three point shots for the Sixers. The Sixers were holding a six point lead inside one minute and to tell you the truth I kind of expected them to lose still. Somehow, Mo Williams was going to hit a three with MCW in his face and then steal the inbounds and do it all over again like he was a reincarnated Reggie Miller. But for once the Sixers held on and I couldn’t be happier.

Since I started this piece on a bit of a pop-culture kick…

The Sixers represent Happy Gilmore, the most unconventional golfer of all-time. The Sixers are the most unconventional team ever assembled in the NBA. Unconventional in terms of assembling a team with no talent or chance of winning games, when all other teams are trying to do the complete opposite. Happy’s final putt kind of represents this Sixers-TWolves game. The Sixers are looking at this huge obstacle (setting a bad record) in front of them. Happy’s shot takes all kinds of twists and turns, and the crowd is just in this awkward gaze. This is similar to watching the Sixers; many times I catch myself with just a stunned look at watching the reckless abandon and complete lack of basketball IQ they play with. Then finally when the putt sinks you can’t help but to feel overwhelmed with joy and amazement. I had to kind of pinch myself after the Sixers game had ended to make sure they actually won. I couldn’t help but to get up off the couch and celebrate, also because I don’t know how many more times I’ll be able to do that this season.

This win will likely amount to nothing, and when they play the Thunder on Friday they will most definitely get blown out. However it was fun to bask in this win for about 48 hours and I know Brett Brown will be giving this speech in the locker room before the next game.