Chicago Bulls: Nikola Mirotic making strides

Nikola Mirotic is making history for the Chicago Bulls this season. He is breaking the norm of Tom Thibodeau’s reputation for minimally playing rookies during their first year in the league. Mirotic is playing on average 18.2 minutes per game. This is the most a rookie has played while under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago.
Thibs said this summer that he believes a championship team needs an eight man rotation. With Mirotic averaging almost 20 minutes per game, clearly he has made a huge impression on Thibodeau as Mirotic looks to be one of those three players coming off the bench for Chicago. Tom Thibodeau must know that Nikola Mirotic is one piece of the puzzle for the Chicago Bulls this season.
Mirotic’s minutes partially are derived from the Bull’s injury-plagued frontcourt this season. Pau Gasol has missed time due to injury and so has Joakim Noah. Taj Gibson has also missed significant time so he can heal his ankle injury. Not to mention fellow rookie Doug McDermott just had surgery on his knee and he is

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Chicago Bulls vs. Memphis Grizzlies 12/19/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Memphis Grizzlies looked to keep their recent hot streak rolling on Friday night, when they took on the Chicago Bulls. The Grizzlies had won six straight, but their balanced roster faced a tough test from the Bulls, who had won four of their last five. 

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No. 1 Kentucky, UCLA prepare to meet in Chicago (Yahoo Sports)

From left, Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, Tyler Ulis, and head coach John Calipari pause for a moment during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Kentucky won 84-70. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A quick glance at top-ranked Kentucky’s meeting with UCLA and it looks like another marquee opponent that could struggle to keep up with the Wildcats’ platoon system.


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Chicago Bulls vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

Fresh off consecutive wins over the Western Conference’s best team and the defending NBA champions, the Memphis Grizzlies look to continue their winning streak against the Chicago Bulls.

Within this past week, Memphis (21-4) toppled the Golden State Warriors 105-98 and outlasted the San Antonio Spurs 117-116 in triple overtime. Marc Gasol tallied 50 total points, while Zach Randolph reeled in 31 rebounds during the victories.

Chicago (16-9) is propelled by Jimmy Butler, who carried the team with 35 points, seven assists and four steals during a 103-97 victory over the New York Knicks Thursday night.

ESPN’s Nick Friedell notes Taj Gibson will not play Friday night. Derrick Rose is also out for the Bulls, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Lastly, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Memphis guard Tony Allen is sidelined.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, and the matchup will be broadcast on CSN Chicago and TSOH. Bleacher Report will provide scoring updates and analysis. Please add your thoughts in the comments section.

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No. 1 Kentucky, UCLA prepare to meet in Chicago

Top-ranked Kentucky aims to use depth advantages to wear down UCLA on Saturday in Chicago

      
 

 

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Bulls guard Jimmy Butler to Taylor Swift: ‘Come to Chicago and date yours truly’

Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points to lead the undermanned Chicago Bulls to a 103-97 win over the New York Knicks Thursday night at United Center. But it was some comments he made before the game that may cause even more attention to be lavished upon the Bulls guard than his outstanding performance on…Read More
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Bulls Rumors: Chicago Would Be Ideal Fit for Ray Allen

The Chicago Bulls drafted sharpshooter Doug McDermott with the hopes that he would develop into a Ray Allen-type of player from beyond the three-point line.

Now, they may get the actual thing.

Jordan Schultz of The Huffington Post passed along the latest rumor surrounding the future Hall of Famer:

Don’t expect a decision from Allen anytime soon if Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders is to be believed:

Allen can’t really go wrong with any of those choices.

Cleveland would give him the opportunity to reunite with LeBron James and drill three-pointers as defenders focus on James and Kevin Love, San Antonio would provide him the chance to play with the defending champs under the genius that is Gregg Popovich, and Golden State has the best record in the NBAWashington is 18-6 and looks like a long-term contender in the Eastern Conference.

However, Chicago represents an ideal situation for Allen, one that would prove beneficial for both the player and the team.

Depending on what Allen wants at the age of 39, he could either be a primary contributor for the Bulls at small forward or shooting guard or serve as a dependable role player at the same spot who puts less minutes on his knees every game by coming off the bench.

After all, Jimmy Butler is the iron man in Chicago. He is averaging 39.6 minutes per game and is versatile enough to guard anyone from a point guard to a power forward. As long as Butler is healthy and on the roster to play nearly every minute of every game, there is not a pressing need for Allen to play significant minutes if he doesn’t want to at his age.

That is especially the case since Kirk Hinrich can play shooting guard alongside Derrick Rose when Butler is at small forward.

However, if Allen does want to play a significant role (which would make sense if he decides to come back at 39), small forward depth is a pressing question for the Bulls. McDermott and Tony Snell have been underwhelming behind Mike Dunleavy Jr., and Allen would immediately bolster that rotation.

In fact, underwhelming is putting it kindly since McDermott is scoring 3.2 points a night and, most disappointingly, shooting 23 percent from three-point range. Snell is an afterthought in the rotation and is scoring two points a game. What’s more, McDermott is now injured, which opens up even more potential playing time for Allen if he so desires.

The Bulls have a hole at wing depth behind Butler and Dunleavy, who is playing 31 minutes a game himself at age 34, and Allen has to recognize the opportunity is in place to play a major role for a title contender.

There is also a level of comfort already for Allen when it comes to coach Tom Thibodeau because of their time together in Boston when Thibodeau was an assistant coach.

Allen is a veteran who has likely played in some locker rooms with great chemistry and some without it, and familiarity with the coach could go a long way toward impacting his decision.

Allen would also have the chance to be something of a mentor in Chicago. McDermott was brought in to shoot threes, and Allen could take the Creighton product under his wing for the remainder of the season and serve as a leader.

Thibodeau discussed Allen’s leadership, via Mike Singer of CSNChicago.com:

When we were in Boston, in 2008, that was a great practice team. They were unreal. Maybe the best practice team I was ever with. They had (Kevin) Garnett, who was incredible. But you also had (Paul) Pierce and Ray Allen, and they were great leaders. They worked at it every day and wouldn’t let anyone take a day off.

Even as a potential leader, Allen wouldn’t be asked to do more than what he is best at in Chicago either.

The Bulls already have the defending Defensive Player of the Year in Joakim Noah and one of the league’s best perimeter defenders in Butler. Allen will never be expected to guard the opponent’s best player, which can be physically grinding for a 25-year-old, let alone someone who is 39 with years of NBA miles on his legs.

Instead, he can simply drill three-pointers when Rose penetrates and forces the defense to collapse or when Noah and Pau Gasol find him from the high elbow. Shooting is still what Allen does best, and he is likely looking for a place with plenty of weapons around him that would open up some looks from deep.

Allen would have the flexibility in Chicago to either play a major part in the push toward the title or serve as a role player, depending on what would be ideal for him at this stage in his career. He would also have the chance to be a veteran leader and a direct mentor for a future sharpshooter in the league.

Most importantly, if Allen chose the Bulls, he would have the opportunity to drill threes for one of the NBA’s most dangerous championship contenders. 

That should ultimately matter more than anything else.

 

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Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks 12/15/14: Video Highlights and Recap

It was a major Eastern Conference clash on Monday as the Chicago Bulls took on the Atlanta Hawks.

Both teams entered the meeting near the top of the standings and looking to jostle for position in a contest that shaped up to be one of the night’s best.

Watch the video for full highlights.

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Chicago Bulls weekly: Bulls on fire

The Chicago Bulls were on fire this week. They are now 15-8 on the season winning all three of their games this week. Derrick Rose is back in business scoring 31 points against the Portland Trailblazers Friday night. The Bulls are now 10-3 on the road.
The week that was
The Bulls go 3-0 on the week against some tough teams, beating the Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trailblazers, and the Miami Heat. The Bulls shot 50% in field goals against the Trailblazers. The Bulls’ bench is proving to be clutch this season. The Bulls’ bench outscored the Trailblazers bench 40-15. Portland is leading their division with a record of 18-6, and the Nets are second and the Heat third in their division. The Bulls are starting to figure things out and are becoming a real threat to the rest of the NBA.

Game ball
With all of the Bulls on fire it is a hard decision of who to give the game ball to. Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Aaron Brooks, and Derrick Rose have all had great games this week. It is goin

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Chicago Bulls’ System and Stars Are Defining Each Other

The Chicago Bulls are winning, but they aren’t quite sure yet who they are this season.

Between their new-look roster and head coach Tom Thibodeau, they’ve been forming a new style of basketball for themselves. With added talent comes added organizational responsibilities, and while Chicago has played well for much of the 2014-15 season, the team’s identity is still only partially formed.

Recently, the Bulls’ defensive efficiency climbed into the league’s top 10. This came after an underwhelming start under the defensive tutelage of Thibodeau, who’s regularly led his team to the top of the NBA in that category since joining the franchise in 2010.

But this is a different team now. While the Bulls defense could very well become tops in basketball again by the end of the year, it’s no longer essential that Chicago defines itself by its ability to get stops.

With Derrick Rose back in the lineup—and gradually becoming the show-stopping point guard he once was again—the Bulls can score in bushels. This is especially true, given that future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol has joined Rose in the starting lineup, and Nikola Mirotic and Aaron Brooks make for a potent offensive duo off the bench—not to mention Jimmy Butler’s scoring explosion.

A new Chicago system has been forming in recent days, and its 115-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on December 12 put the transformation at center stage. The Bulls looked almost unfamiliar as a high-octane outfit, outscoring the hot hands of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge (70 points combined) for the win.

The victory had a lot to do with Rose, who put up 31 points on 14-of-24 shooting. The most famous Bull put up a vintage performance, blurring around the court and scoring at will on many possessions. “He’s building,” Thibodeau said after the contest. “He’s stringing good games together.

“When he plays like that, there’s a thrust we play with—when he’s pushing the ball, we’re able to get some easy baskets. We get deep post-ups, we get to the penalty early and get free throws, a lot of good things happen.”

If Rose continues to re-blossom, it might be time to say goodbye to the plodding Bulls offense of old. It simply doesn’t make sense to run a grit-first system when you’ve got a Ferrari in your garage that is capable of zooming around the competition and freeing up teammates for high-percentage opportunities.

The emergence of Mirotic—another main story of the night—also makes for a Bulls attack that features a lot more flash than the fans are used to. Mirotic added 15 points and nine rebounds on the night, but his impact is better stated outside the box score. Mirotic makes the court an exciting, unpredictable place with his authorial hold on possessions and strong, surprising instincts. This play at the beginning of the fourth quarter showed that:

As Grantland’s Bill Simmons describes it, he’s “a rich man’s [Vladimir] Radmanovic after three lines of cocaine.”

Brooks, too, was essential in the win, scoring 17 points on a scorching 8-of-10 from the field and sharing the court with Rose (for the first time all year) in crunch time. “It was fun,” Rose said of the pairing. “People forget that he used to be a starter in this league, and he can really score.”

It’s been standard fare for Thibodeau to go with two point guards down the stretch in seasons past, but one of those men is usually the trusty Kirk Hinrich, whose often-punchless offense is offset by his ability to take care of the ball. More of the Rose-Brooks, speed-and-scoring-first combo going forward might be another sign of an evolving “Bullsball.”

It’s an exciting—if confusing—time to be a Bulls fan. The team’s stars and their coach are finding a happy, thrilling median between his iron-clad defensive concepts and a more freewheeling, skill-based scoring platoon that makes for a much more aesthetically enjoyable product. Watching Rose and Butler run in the open court—and seeing all these three-pointers go in—is a heck of a thing.

Who will the Bulls become in the postseason?

 

Quotes acquired firsthand.

Advanced statistics courtesy of ESPN.

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