MADHOUSE MONDAY #8: JIMMY G. BUCKETS TAKES OVER
Game 29: Toronto at Chicago
If I had told you that Tony Snell would play more 4th quarter minutes than Derrick Rose did, you would put me in a straight jacket and lock me away. But it happened and here I am writing about it. Snell had a really good game, pitching in 22 points in a solid win over a good (?) Raptors team. Though Jimmy Butler didn’t do much, the Bulls still pitched a good collective effort
Game 30: Indiana at Chicago
Why is it that very time the Bulls and Pacers play in Chicago, there’s some controversy that involves Jimmy Butler and Paul George. Like seriously, enough already. The Bulls were able to fight back and win a big game against a division opponent, which featured a game winning lob to – guess who – Jimmy Butler and the Pacers trying to run the EXACT same thing, but to no avail. Like, really guys?
Game 31: New York at Chicago
The Bulls took care of business against the Knicks, who aren’t as terrible as usual. The Knicks came out absolutely sleep walking. I’m pretty sure that more than half of them went out for New Years Eve and were dead tired for the game. Bobby Portis came to play with 16 points and 10 rebounds. As Nikola Mirotic gets more comfortable at the 3, it seems to have opened the door for permanent minutes for Portis. Bulls won big time and continued their roll.
Game 32: Chicago at Toronto
True story: I didn’t watch a minute of this game. Like, at all. See, Ross came up this weekend and we went to the 11 am service at my church and didn’t get home until like 2:30 pm (and no, black church isn’t that long always, we had to make a run after service). I pretty much ate and took a nap afterwards. Before I did though, I saw that the Bulls were down by double digits and I assumed they’d drop one to a pretty good Raptors team.
When I woke up, I couldn’t believe the tweets. It didn’t seem possible that not only did the Bulls win, but Jimmy Butler dropped 40 points in a half.
I’m upset that I didn’t follow through and watch the game, and even more that the local channels weren’t running the replay of the game (which ALWAYS happens). I can say that even though I’ve believed in Butler’s ability since his rookie year when he held Carmelo Anthony to four points in 20 minutes of action, I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Scoring 42 points throughout a game is one thing: to score 40 in a half is another thing. The highlights don’t seem to do this game justice.
Taj says he'd never seen Butler as mad as after he was hit in the mouth. after that, was "a man possessed"— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) January 3, 2016
Again, not a game I watched all the way through, was out doing stuff again (sorry, kinda have a life guys). But 99 of the Bulls 117 points came via the starting lineup, which means everyone got going. I liked that everyone shared the sugar and spread the wealth around. It’s crucial to build on this as they continue to move up the rankings.
Game 34: Boston at Chicago
So, the Bulls need to schedule every big game on Thursday night on TNT. Why, you may ask? Because they’ve won 13 straight games, including a win over a star-missing Boston team, on TNT Thursday night home games. Which is insane when you think about it. The Bulls rolled in this one, with the entire starting five in double digits once again.
Game 35: Chicago at Atlanta
So…the Bulls just didn’t look like they wanted this game whatsoever. Atlanta’s big men were a problem all night for the Bulls, as well as the Hawk’s constant ball movement and player movement. To their credit, the Bulls were able to bring the lead down to single digits multiple times, but could never make their runs last. On to the next one.
Laugh of the Week(s)
It was a bit dry for a while, but Bulls twitter came through with some gems. Presenting the honorable mention from none other than @H00PINATI
Me EVERY time Niko attempts a deep 3 then makes it: "Dont do it Niko u better not Niko ima beat yo ass Niko DAS RIGHT NIKO THREEEKOLA" lmfao— Jahan (@H00PINATI) January 2, 2016
Confirmed: Jimmy Butler killed the dinosaurs— Randall J. Sanders (@RandallJSanders) January 3, 2016
Anyways, here's out gold medalist.
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not
Hot: The Bulls
Again, the Bulls have been playing really, really well as a collective unit the past few weeks, going 6-1 in their last 7 games, scoring over 100 points in each game. The defense has also been a huge factor, allowing a league best 41.9% on opponent field goal percentage. The Bulls have continued to play like one of the best teams in the NBA, but now it’s time to put their money where their mouth is, with upcoming games against Golden State, Cleveland, Miami and the Clippers.
Not: Teams that have played the Bulls (except Atlanta)
Bulls players have had some big games recently, with Tony Snell dropping 22, Jimmy Butler going for 40 in a half and the Bulls starters combining for 99 points in a game. Of course, Fred Hoiberg’s squad can only hope this trend continues.
Stat of the Week: 25.5
That number is Derrick Rose’s usage percentage, his lowest since his rookie year. Usage percentage is an estimate of the percentage of teams plays called for the player while he is on the floor. Comparatively, Jimmy Butler’s usage is at 24.4, an all-time high for the Bulls leading scorer. The duo makes up about 50% of the Bulls’ touches, which stresses the importance of having both healthy and in a groove.
One Thing I Think
Bulls are one versatile wing player away from being lethal. Right now there just scary. The Cavs are deadly. One deadly player away Bulls— Joshua Short (@JoshIShort) January 9, 2016
Atop my personal wish list for the Bulls sits Denver F Danilo Gallinari and Timberwolves G/F Kevin Martin. Both players can spot up, create off the dribble, have good size and can handle the ball for themselves. Both of these players would most likely have to be acquired via trade and while I’d rather give up a draft pick, if it requires trading Pau Gasol, I’d say do it. That way, you get Nikola Mirotic back at the 4, where his offensive ratings are much better.