Tag Archives: Taj Gibson

Bulls flat-line at the deadline, wave goodbye to Gibson, McDermott, and a future pick

Well the trade deadline has come and gone, with no superstars swapping teams on the final day. To the delight of many Bulls fans, Gar Forman and John Paxson were able to complete a trade to avoid sitting on their hands yet another year. To the disgust of Bulls fans everywhere, this trade makes absolutely no sense. To be fair, this trade doesn’t ruin the franchise in the way Sacramento trading for 25 cents on the dollar to get rid of Demarcus Cousins, but this trade just makes you want to scratch your head. Trades are either supposed to make you better in the present or the future, ideally both. GarPax managed to somehow diminish both of these prospects with this one. While this wasn’t a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, there is still a lot to break down here so stick with me here.

First let’s get to the deal itself. The Bulls receive: Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joffrey Lauvergne in exchange for Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 2nd round pick. So essentially, the Bulls are giving up the best player in this group (Taj) as well as a draft pick, while also disposing of the man they gave up two first round picks for (McDermott). In exchange the Bulls received one rotation player (Payne) in their ongoing struggle to find a serviceable point guard. And while Payne is a nice player and has some upside, he has pretty much the same skill set as the other 17 point guards on the roster.

Payne hasn’t gotten much of a chance to prove himself yet playing behind Westbrook for his first season and a half in the league, but one thing is already brutally clear, he is just as bad of a shooter as the other Bulls point guards. He is making only 32 percent of his outside shots, 38 percent total. That is basically Rajon Rondo level of clogginess (yes I made up that word) you are hoping to be your future 1. Sure he’s quick and athletic with a long wing span, but somehow manages to only be a mediocre defender so far in his career.

Meanwhile the Bulls gave up their best outside threat, and their best two-way player outside of Jimmy Butler. I want to take a moment to thank Taj Gibson, as so many others have, for his time as a Bull. The dude was the consummate professional during his tenure in Chicago. The guy was benched in favor of two players who were atrocious on the defensive side of the ball because they could hit mid-range jumpers (Gasol and Boozer) for most of his time here and never said a word about it. All he did was show up, do what was asked of him, and somehow remain a consistent contributor to this team despite the madness going on all around him. He will be sorely missed in the Windy City and I wish him the best of luck in OKC.

Back to the Bulls plan, and I use that word loosely. As far as I can tell, GarPax are trying to clear up cap space for this Summer in an attempt to build around Jimmy. I am only speculating because the majority of insiders and experts are just as confused about what the end goal is here as anyone else. The Bulls have stock-piled four point guards (MCW, Rondo, Grant, and Payne) hoping that one of them can stick with the team as a mainstay. Wade and Rondo are signed through next year but that is still up in the air as Wade has a player option and who knows with Rondo. The only asset the Bulls have at this point is Jimmy Butler as their draft pick this summer won’t even be anything to brag about.

At this point I think all Bulls fans can do is wait and see. Personally, I have lost all patience with Forman and Paxson as they have shown no direction at all with this franchise since it was clear Rose would never be the same after his ACL injury. This trade is no exception to the theme of these last handful of years. But hey, the Bulls are in the playoffs if the season ended today so we have that to look forward to.

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Note-A-BULLs: Bulls blast Pistons to break out of funk

The Bulls sputtered and hobbled and stumbled as of late, losing six of their last eight, falling to 0.500, but the slump came to a halt Monday night at home against division adversary, the Detroit Pistons. The Bulls meant business, coming out of the gate strong and leading this one wire to wire, quickly amassing a 16 point lead after the first quarter and a 35-point halftime lead.

  • The Bulls scored 69 points in the first half, their most of the season. This matches their entire point total from Friday night’s embarrassing 26-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. To achieve this feat, the Bulls shot an impressive 72.9% from the field. This is no small task for the Bulls, whose field goal percentage was fourth worst in the NBA coming into the game, at 43.6%.
  • Monday’s performance also landed the Bulls among the daily leaders in the NBA: 34 assists (1st), 59.8% field goal percentage (1st), 100% from the line (1st), 50% field goal percentage (1st), 46 rebounds (2nd), nine steals (2nd), and 113 points (3rd).
  • The ball was hopping in the first quarter, posting 15 assists. This is tied with Golden State for the most assists in any quarter this season – saying this is good company to be in would be just a slight understatement.
  • Rajon Rondo had a near triple double, with 10 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds, helping the Bulls maintain meaningful possessions and execute fast breaks for easy points.
  • The 34 point lead after three quarters allowed the starters some rest – not one of them logged a minute in the fourth quarter; Jimmy Butler led with 30 minutes, Rondo had 28, Robin Lopez with 25, Dwyane Wade with 22, and Taj Gibson with just 19 although not for lack of production – he was 8/8 from the field with 16 points, four rebounds, a block, a steal, and a +19.
  • Astonishingly, the Bulls didn’t need many trips to the free throw line since their shooting was so good – Butler was 6/6 and Wade made the one attempt he was afforded.
  • I could rattle off individual stats up and down the roster on a night like tonight, but what’s more telling about their performance is that they had seven players in double digit point figures, with no player posting over 20; to boot, 34 assists on 49 field goals is an extraordinary sign that the Bulls hope to continue.
  • The team was reported to have a lowlights film session of Friday’s loss to the Bucks, which was said to have impacted the team in a positive way by helping them maintain an open mind to their respective criticisms and identify areas for improvement. It came through in flying colors.
  • As embarrassing as the Bulls were on Friday against the Bucks, the Pistons found a way to equal it. Head coach Jeff Van Gundy said, “We got crushed. It was a disgusting performance by all of us, me included. I mean, it was unprofessional, embarrassing, humiliating. It looks to me like a lack of effort and a lack of heart. And if you don’t play hard, you’re not going to have any confidence. We looked like we were hoping the game would be easy tonight, and it wasn’t. And we just caved.”
  • Up Next: On Wednesday, the Bulls host the Washington Wizards, while the Pistons host the Memphis Grizzlies.

Note-A-Bulls: Cavs leave United Center empty handed after hard fought victory for the Bulls

On a chilly Friday night on the west side of Chicago, over twenty-thousand packed into the United Center to see the Bulls and Cavaliers square off for a key division game. As promised, LeBron James filled his half of the bet with Dwyane Wade and came to the UC in a full Cubs uniform. Both teams were coming off losses in their most recent match-ups, looking to regain momentum.

The teams assembled on the court, the Cavs sporting their all blue jerseys, and the Bulls in an atypical grey sleeve jersey. It was Tristian Thompson and Robin Lopez at center court, Lopez won the tip, and Bull basketball was on the air nationwide.

The first six minutes of the opening quarter were no different from how the Bulls typicalls begin games. A complete back and forth battle, with Taj Gibson starting off very strong. Taj had six points and three rebounds within the first six minutes of play. At the 6:07 mark, the Bulls had a one point lead as Wade hit a driving layup while going hard to the rim. The first quarter continued to march on, and the see-saw battle continued to progress. The typical subs made their way in, and after one the Cavs had a slim lead of 33-30.

The Cavs began the second quarter with an Iman Shumpert shot that wouldn’t go from twenty-one feet out, and the Bulls capitalized on the following possession with Jerian Grant hitting a routine layup. Then the King made his way back onto the court. After Grant hit the layup, the Cavs led 33-32. James returned to the court, and led the Cavs to go on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 40-32 at the ten-minute mark. However, the Cavs did not let the stoppage of play break their momentum. Channing Frye hit a big three to keep the Cavs lead at eight, with the score 47-39. However, after that three, the Bulls found their gear again. They were able to cut the Cavs lead to as small as one as the score was 54-53 after Lopez hit a short-range jumper. Just under one minute to go in the half, Taj Gibson got one of the biggest gift fouls that one will ever see. Kevin Love pretty much “Love tapped” his chest, and Taj laughingly went to the free throw line. The first half ended with a very high score, Taj Gibson continuing to lead the Bulls with eighteen points. Through two it was Cleveland 60, the Bulls 59. The Bulls were 0-7 from downtown, while the Cavs were shooting nearly fifty percent from three. However, this was promising considering that the score was only 60-59.

LeBron inbounded the ball to Kyrie Irving to begin the third, with Irving drilling a mid-range jumper. The Bulls continued to claw with the leaders of the East, as both teams came out strong to begin the third. They looked like they were slowly picking of some momentum, as they led by eight at the 7:30 mark and the Cavs had gone cold. Jimmy G. Buckets and Wade were hitting their stride as they had combined for twenty-five points. The Cavs took a timeout at the 5:45 mark after Robin Lopez hit a sky-hook turnaround shot, and the Bulls continued to keep their eight-point lead. As usual, a timeout proved to work well. Kevin Love drilled a three to start the Cavs next possession, and the Bulls lead was cut to five. The next possession was crucial, as the Bulls needed an answer. Rajon Rondo, out of all players, splashed a three for the corner and the lead was back to eight at just over three minutes left. With under two minutes to go in the third, Nikola Mirotic threw a floater to the rim and Jimmy Butler volleyball tapped the ball right into the basket. After three, the shootout continued, as the Bulls led 88-80. Taj leading Chicago with twenty-one points and nine rebounds, and LeBron leading the Cavs with twenty-three points and eight assists.

The Bulls began the fourth with a missed jumper by Wade from seventeen feet out. In the following possession, LeBron added to his assist total and found Channing Frye for an easy layup. The Bulls continued to maintain the sizable lead with excellent offense and good ball movement. Until (of course), Rajon Rondo made a poor pass and the Cavs capitalized on the fast break and hit a three to cut to the lead back to five. With just under six minutes to go, the Bulls struggled to close the door. However, after shooting 0-7 to start the game, Niko hit a little floater in the paint to put the Bulls back up seven. With just over two minutes to play, LeBron committed his third turnover in the quarter, and the Bulls were able to extend their lead to eight. ON THE NEXT POSSESSION, JAMES COMMITTED ANOTHER TURNOVER. Following that, the Bulls played perfect defense to force a shot clock violation. After a bit of scare within the final fifteen seconds, the Bulls were able to hang on and win 111-105.

With the win, the Bulls improved to 11-6. Not only is it nice to see the win-loss column have a plus margin of five, but this win over the Cavs must serve as a big momentum builder for Chicago. To get a win against a team that has had a chokehold on you for such a long period of time has to inspire the Bulls at least in some manner. However, the Bulls have hardly any time to bask in the victory. Once everyone is ready to leave the UC, the Bulls will hop on the charter and head to Dallas to take on the struggling Mavericks tomorrow night.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls rip apart Blazers in Circus Trip opener

The Bulls came into tonight 6-4 following a two game win streak against the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards. Over the last three games, Jimmy Butler averaged 32 points, capped with a near triple double against the Wizards on Saturday, but tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers he would be without a lot of help. Rajon Rondo was sidelined with an ankle injury, Doug McDermott, who experienced a concussion against the Wiz, and Michael Carter-Williams, who suffered a bruised knee and sprained wrist after a hard fall in Brooklyn. The Trail Blazers needed a halftime pep talk in an embarrassing first half showing against the Denver Nuggets in order to get the win and were looking to come out with a chip on their shoulder. Or so the narrative was supposed to read.

  • The Bulls ran out to a quick 10-0 lead with the revised starting five that included Jerian Grant. They stuck with this squad nearly the entire first quarter, boasting a 35-14 lead to close the quarter. They came to play, never looked back, and went wire to wire.
  • That first quarter buffer proved to be all they would need, as Portland turnovers, poor shot selection, and the inability to secure a rebound (the Bulls outrebounded Portland 67-49) put the nail in the coffin. The Bulls led by 25 on several occasions, and by as much as 26 late in the game, with a final score of 113 to 88.
  • With Rondo out, Jerian Grant was in. And boy, was he in. His number was called and he rose to the occasion, putting forth an outstanding game. He brought energy, heart, and looked to not only fit in, but be a leader on the floor. He finished with an impressive line: over 30 minutes, he scored 18 points on 6-13 shooting with five steals.
  • Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Robin Lopez all had solid games, looking sharp. Butler scored 19 points in the first half along with six rebounds; for the game, 27 points and 12 rebounds in 34 minutes. Wade had 19 points, five assists, and five rebounds. Lopez produced 13 points and 11 rebounds. A well-balanced attack.
  • After Mirotic’s stellar performance on Saturday in which he scored 17 points on 6-7 from the field and 3-4 from deep, he looked uncertain in his first appearance tonight, playing under 10 minutes in the first half, but caught a groove in the 4th quarter and settled in, finishing with eight points on 3-6 shooting, 2-5 beyond the arc.
  • Taj Gibson continues to impress, being a strong presence down low. He put up 12 points and 11 rebounds in a nice effort.
  • The starting five all had at least +19 in the +/- category, and at least 29 minutes of gameplay each.
  • The Blazers just looked flat nearly the whole game. There was a small window midway through the third quarter where they showed some life, but offensive rebounding by the Bulls kept them at bay. CJ McCollum was their only sign of life. The Patriot League alumnus scored 17 points on 7-17 shooting. Damian Lillard posted 19 points, but was just 7-22 in 38 minutes.
  • Up Next: On Thursday, the Bulls travel to Utah to take on the Jazz, while Portland flies to Houston to face the Rockets.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls back to .500 after monster game from Butler not enough to overcome Hawks

Wednesday night at Phillips arena. The seats by no means packed, Dwight Howard won the tip, and Bulls basketball was on the air. After their strong outing against the Magic on Monday, the Bulls played the Atlanta Hawks in a battle of two eastern conference powerhouses.  Jimmy Butler banged two threes to start off the Bulls scoring. After Butler drilled a wide open three, he had a little chuckle with Hawks small forward Kyle Korver, and in typical Stacey King fashion, he made the Kyle Korver hot sauce reference, only in favor of Butler. However, the rest of the game would not be so sweet for the visiting Bulls.

  • Throughout the entire first quarter, the Bulls struggled against the three. The quarter was a complete seesaw. To say the game was going back and forth was an understatement. The only stat where the teams were separated was team rebounds. At around the two-minute mark of the first, the Hawks out-rebounded the Bulls eleven to four. Out of all players on the Hawks, Thabo Sefolosha was giving the Bulls fits in the first. He allowed the Hawks to finish the quarter strongly and opened up their lead to 35-27 after one. Jimmy Butler did finish the quarter leading the game with ten points. Both teams shot above fifty percent in the first, so it’s safe to think that this game was going to be a shootout.
  • The second quarter began, and Sefolosha continued one his best offensive starts in a long time. Seven minutes in, the veteran had eighteen points and an absurd +12. The Hawks took full advantage of the surprise offense from Sefolosha. At the eight minute mark of the second, Atlanta led by a whooping sixteen points. As Atlanta continued to hold the large lead, Dwayne Wade was holding his own. Prior to missing a free throw, Wade hadn’t missed. He had seventeen points while shooting seven of seven from the floor. The Bulls continued to somewhat hang around, but their defense continued to very well below par. The Hawks did go on quite the dry spell towards the end of the first half, but still finished with a ridiculous sixty eight points. The silver lining was that the Bulls offense came alive towards the end of the half, and the shootout was very much alive. At the half the score was 68-61.
  • Taj Gibson inbounded to Rajon Rondo to begin the third. The pace of the game continued to be rather fast paced, and the points kept coming in on both sides of the court. As a result, the players started to open up a bit. Robin Lopez committed pretty much a hard intentional foul on Dwight Howard, and as Dwyane Wade went in on the fast break, Kent Bazemore came in hard from behind. Clearly a foul, Bazemore had his eyebrows quite high as he barked at the officials. Meanwhile, the Bulls kept just clawing back into the game. On the fast break again, Wade hit a step back jumper to secure a temporary one-point lead for the Bulls.  The Hawks went right back down and answered with an and-one by Dwight Howard, who at the time was approaching a double-double of eight points and eight boards. At the halfway mark of the third, the Bulls took a timeout at the 5:54 mark, with the score tied 78-78.  The scoring continued to poor in, and the game continued to constantly go back and forth. The Hawks again finished the third again on a high note, and regained a six point lead and a buzzer-beater from Malcolm Delaney.
  • Surprisingly, within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, both teams started out rather cold to begin the fourth quarter. The waited till exactly two minutes in to get themselves on the board as they were able to get a steal and Wade threw down a dunk on the other end. Almost immediately after the dunk, Tim Hardaway Jr. drilled a three to give the Hawks another large lead and shimmied his way to the bench as the Bulls took a timeout. At the six-minute mark, Jimmy Butler hit a big mid-range jumper with the shot clock winding down to once again trim Atlanta’s lead. Which, if you haven’t been able to realize, had been the theme of the game. At the five-minute mark, the Bulls had cut the lead to two as Doug McDermott hit a nice running floater. Once again, the Bulls had made it a game. With thirty-six seconds to go, Atlanta led 111-103, and it seemed like the Bulls had thrown in the towel. FINAL SCORE: ATL: 115 CHI: 107
    • As the Bulls again looked to be on the verge of tying, the Hawks extended their slim lead, by Thabo Sefolosha hitting a running floater. Sure, why not? The Bulls then went six straight possessions without scoring, and the Hawks went back up eight with just over two minutes to play.
  • One of the major stats of the night was that the Hawks had fifty-two bench points, while the Bulls only had nineteen. Obviously this number of points is a bit extreme for a bench on a nightly basis, but it has to serve as a red flag. You simply cannot have your bench that is going to give up more than about thirty points. The bench just put the starters in a very tough position tonight. If the starters were able every minute in this game, the Bulls would have blown the Hawks out. The Hawks’ starters did just enough to scrap their sixth win of the year, and the Bulls fell to 4-4.
  • Up Next: Wade makes his long awaited return to Miami tomorrow night, as the Bulls hope to right the ship against a struggling Miami side.