“You’re Not Alone” — a Joakim Noah Production

Damn. This was a tough, emotional watch. But just the same, an example for those trying to cope with a tragic reality caused by gun violence.

“You’re Not Alone” is a Joakim Noah production, and a mini-doc of sorts, that interviews some of Chicago’s youth who have lost a dear loved one to senseless gun violence. Teammates Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, who had both lost friends in the same way, also sit down for the video. To see their vulnerability and emotions in reflecting on their loss certainly drove home the message that “You’re Not Alone.” Gibson literally looked lost and without an answer and Rose broke down and cried. On the same level, it was heartbreaking to hear how the kids talked about their friends so glowingly.

Through their stories and emotions, we see the importance of talking things out and coping openly if you’re in a similar situation. Furthering this sense of unity, Joakim Noah’s Noah’s Arc Foundation is selling a teardrop pendant designed by his mother, Cecilia Rodhe, as a symbol for peace and coping with loss. Noah describes the “Drop of Consciousness” in more detail with the video powerfully ending on his words and he and the other subjects wearing it. Props to everyone involved in the making of this video (dir. award-winning author and documentarian Alex Kotlowitz) and our prayers and thoughts go to them and those involved in their stories. Watch above and send an intention out for the continued end of gun violence.

It represents people. It’s also a symbol of hope, just knowing that no matter what you’re going through you’re wearing this and we’re all in this together, this fight.

– Joakim Noah

Thanks to Chicago Tribune (for more info)

Bulls vs. Warriors: Running Diary

Bulls, Warriors, December 6th has been circled on my calendar since the schedule’s release in August. It didn’t take long since the rise of superstar Steph Curry for the Warriors to become a (distant) second favorite team behind my hometown Bulls. The battle between East and West contenders only happens once this year in Chicago (June not withstanding 🙂 )

So naturally, my fellow die hard Bulls fan, AK and I had to find a way to go. Thanks to some wonderful timing and an unspent budget, AK’s company rented a penthouse suite for last night. In other words, for me: the dream.

I knew going into the game that I wanted to provide some #Analysis in some fashion. As the night progressed, too many fantastic things happened — an instant bond over Rasheed Wallace here, a classic Benny The Bull gag there — that the Bill Simmons Running Diary format was simply the most perfect way to document it.

***

6:46pm: It’s a last-minute dash to make the intros! I flex my knowledge of the United Center area and drive through two shortcuts to bypass the traffic around Madison. At a red light, AK poses the question: Who do you think wins tonight?

*slight hesitation* I think we can win it tonight. After all, we do thrive on ending streaks.

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose. (As you can see, I didn’t have full confidence in the Bulls.)

The Warriors are rolling, but the matchups are fascinating. The backcourts: Steph vs. D. Rose, Klay vs. Jimmy. You got Bogut and Pau, it’s like these teams are modeled similarly. I worry about the Draymond vs. Joakim matchup though. We struggle against stretch 4s because Noah’s not used to guarding the 3 point line and Draymond’s been playin’ well lately.

(This proved to be a recurring topic of conversation later…)

6:54pm: Parked and speed-walking to the gate, which looked something like this. Looks like we’re not going to catch intros, or even the opening tip.

6:56pm: “Executive gate entrance 6 1/2” gets us up to the Penthouse with no lines. #SuiteLife already paying dividends!

6:59pm: A quick Twitter check reveals an instantly viral couple of images of Derrick Rose in a “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt, in tribute to the tragic death of Eric Garner. Rose is the perfect person and personality to make a statement for justice like this, in this way. *applauds*

drose-cantbreathe

7:05pm: The national anthem, the always chilling introductions, and the Kanye West “Power Clap” video never fail to change your mood from socializing to gametime. I’m amped and trying not to show it to the 6 new people I just met.

Quick tangent: The “Power Clap” (press play below) is the icing on the cake to our pregame intro — one as a whole that has to be unrivaled in hometown pride compared to the rest of the league. First, you got one of Kanye’s most famous, demonstrative songs and productions as the backbone of the pump-up. The core of ‘Ye asking for everyone to do the “Power Clap” is not from the original, but the Jay Z remix that you may have forgotten about. Plus, a seamless blend of “I’m a Chicagoan til Chicago ends” from the classic Dilated Peoples feature and an edited “You’re now fuckin’ with the best in the worrrlldd” from the “Lollipop (Remix)” complete the audio gem.

The visual set to the song features a mix of the players clapping with D. Rose’s chillness only being one-upped by Joakim’s chill golf clap. The most awkward was Aaron Brooks & Doug McDermott together, partly because they call each other Ray and Ron, but primarily because Doug McDermott doing anything on the jumbotron to a Kanye West song is as hilariously awkward as his photo with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Kid Ink.

Jimmy & Taj were the only ones who looked comfortable clapping, with Jimmy unofficially winning the most amount of Kanye lines lip-synched. Only fitting that the winner is the self-proclaimed “Baby Mike”.

The Power Clap:

7:20pm: The Bulls’ starters came out aggressive, but sloppy. Draymond has 2 3s already, about 5 minutes in. This is becoming a theme.

7:27pm: The Warriors feel like they’re converting every turnover into points. Ultimately, they get 27 fast break points in the first half and go on a 20-4 run in the first quarter. Still, two consecutive jumpers from Rose had AK and I hopeful we were there in person for Rose’s inevitable “F U game” on a big stage. Little did we know that this 3-pointer with 3:58 left in the first quarter was Rose’s last made field goal of the game.

7:31pm: The Warriors pull off one of their 3-man weaves and even though it wasn’t even their starters and it didn’t even lead to a bucket, it was oh so pretty. The quarter ends with the Warriors up 28-22 in what feels like it should be more.

7:38pm: Taj Gibson follows up an easy post-up layup with an emphatic block off the backboard of Shaun Livingston. This leads to an irrational confidence Aaron Brooks 3, a Bulls lead, and the largest rise out of the UC crowd thus far. All credit due to Taj’s spark plug energy; great to see in his first game back from a sprained ankle.

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7:41pm: Taj tips in a Jimmy Butler miss but it looks like a clear offensive goaltending. Before we know it, play is stopped and Steve Kerr earns himself a Tech. I immediately see an assistant coach holding Steve Kerr back. Gotta hand it to the rookie head coach, he’s got that “looking like a badass while getting a Tech” thing down.

7:42pm: As replays on the scoreboard clearly show Kerr has a case, Jimmy Butler promptly misses the technical free throw. Although I can’t yell “Ball Don’t Lie!” because it’s against the Bulls, I do acknowledge the moment by telling AK, “That was a Ball Don’t Lie moment.” After a long pause, the guy next to me says, “Ball don’t lie is one of my favorite phrases in sports.”

Me: Yeah!
Guy: I miss Sheed, man.

*Tibs just made a new friend.*

7:48pm: The Bulls have been on a 25-7 extended run going back to the first quarter, erasing the damage caused by 10 turnovers in the first quarter.

7:50pm: Taj Gibson is wheezing on the baseline in between plays. He’s gassed in his first game back but Pau checks in for Mirotic instead.

7:58pm: Jimmy Butler matches a Harrison Barnes 3 with one of his own, dancing with a little bit of a crossover before hitting the contested pull-up. AK and I say to each other almost instantaneously, “Jimmy doesn’t even take that shot last year, let alone make it.” What a season he’s having so far.

8:05pm: Already three chicken tenders in, I finish up my Chicago dog and continue to ignore finger food and salad. Can’t fill up on the extras. I instead pace myself like a veteran for the even better dessert cart to come in the second half. Fortunately, not that much has happened during my second dinner, but the Warriors have stretched their lead out to double digits, dominating the last half of the second quarter.

8:08pm: Joakim Noah throws a terrible 3/4 court pass with 2.9 seconds left that turns out to be a solid strategy. The ball goes off the Warriors out of bounds so the Bulls have the ball past half court with 2.3 seconds left. Enough time for Noah to get the inbound near the elbow and drive for a buzzer beating layup to bring down the Warriors’ halftime lead to 12, 61-49. I’m proud of the sneaky 2 points going into the half, but the crowd is a little out of it due to the double digit deficit.

8:08:30pm: I bolt downstairs to the 300 level to meet my friends Hugo and Kristin for halftime. Hugo’s a fellow basketball nerd and we both immediately agree the Warriors look legit and that it’s not lookin’ good for a Bulls comeback. We catch up on life for a bit… they just got a new place, he’s going to California for a week for work, I plan on writing a new Gowhere NBA Awards this week. Big things poppin’ for both of us. Then this happens…

8:20pm: Derrick Rose & Joakim Noah come out to warm-up first. They both dribble up at the same time for their first jump shots, and of course, the balls hit each other in the air. This would be on Shaq’tin a Fool.

Me: Wait, did you just see that?!
Hugo: Hahah, yeah.
Me: C’mon guys, let’s be professionals.
Me: …This is why I love going to games, to see things like this.

To further visualize, I drew a diagram for you. (I have an architecture degree, this is how we communicate.)

derrick-joakim-diagram-small
8:22pm: I begin my journey back to the suite to catch the start of the second half, but quickly walk past someone I play pickup with in the concourse. (Gotta love random run-ins. I’ve never talked to him ever, but now we’re going to have a convo about this tomorrow night and probably end up on the same team.)

8:27pm: I can’t find an elevator without a line and there are no stairs up to the penthouse. I’m stuck in the concourse so I just stop to an abrupt standstill, watching a video board for the beginning of the 3rd quarter. I got in the way of about 4 people in this process.

8:38pm: I just made it back to the suite, but missed the Dunkin Donuts race during the timeout (which alone could warrant its own running diary.)

Jimmy Butler hits a 3 for his second consecutive bucket and brings the Bulls within 2. Beautiful extra pass ball movement by the starters and the crowd is especially into it now.

8:43pm: Butler steals an errant pass from Curry, passes it ahead to Rose, who alley-oops it to Gasol for the Bulls’ first lead since the 2nd quarter. The crowd erupts and it’s ultimately the loudest the UC gets for the night.

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8:46pm: Teams trade baskets and the lead for a couple minutes, highlighted by Curry doing a fadeaway 16-foot jumper off the glass that only a unique scorer like him would even attempt. Worried this may lead to more.

8:49pm: Pau, having made his last 3 shots in the quarter, is feeling it when he draws some surprise oohs and aahs from the crowd during this crossover display. As you can see, it unfortunately leads to a Kirk Hinrich brick (not the best Kirk Hinrich game…)

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8:55pm: Steph Curry with his most Steph Curry shot of the game. I was in awe of how fast he was coming off that curl, how quick he released it, and the fact that it was a no doubter splash.

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8:59pm: The score after 3 quarters, Bulls 80 Warriors 79. Thrilling quarter, shaping up to go down to the wire.

9:10pm: The second timeout of the quarter after a Kirk Hinrich 3 that brings the Bulls back within 2 with 8 minutes and change remaining.

Real thing I said to AK:
Man, I honestly can’t remember the last time I was at a game that really came down to the wire. It looks like it’s heading that way!

9:15pm: Klay Thompson hits a 3, blocks Kirk Hinrich’s 3 on the other end, then Draymond Green hits a 3 off a pick and pop that made D. Rose look silly.

Oh. 

The Bulls call timeout with the Warriors up 8 with 6 minutes to go. Pretty sure this is from the ensuing Draymond celebration:

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The lesson here is obvious: don’t jinx a close game by saying you haven’t been to a close game in awhile. Rookie mistake.

9:21pm: Jimmy brings back the deficit from 11 to 8 with 4 minutes remaining with his third 3 of the night. Draymond Green immediately responds with a United Center soul-crushing 3 of his own off a Klay Thompson pick and pop. That’s Green’s 7th 3 and a career-high 31 points. The disappointed gasp of the UC crowd was the most audible one of the night. You know it’s over and this guy, not even Steph or Klay, is killing us.

To make matters worse, we didn’t even get a dessert cart. #StillHungry #FirstWorldProblems

9:23pm: During the timeout, Benny The Bull went through his routine of attempting one handed half-court shots facing away from the basket. He’s remarkably good at this. I feel like I’ve seen him make it more than miss. He takes about 8 shots and comes close, but no cigar this time.

He then punts one of the basketballs into the stands. For the last basketball, he does the Hulk Hogan routine… finally picks a section and punts it. Two dudes in Steph Curry jerseys end up with the ball and obnoxiously celebrate to the crowd, milking in a shockingly loud number of boos. Out of nowhere, Benny sprints at them and silly strings both Warriors fans, much to the delight of the United Center. Benny The Bull, still the greatest.

9:35pm: The game ends rather anti-climatically, 112-102. After the buzzer, Steph gives a pat on the back to fellow Player of the Month, Jimmy Butler and to his Team USA teammate, Derrick Rose. Florida alum Joakim Noah and Marreese Speights handshake and hug at half court. I dunno, I always like to see who gives dap to one another after the game.

9:39pm: The Bulls’ music choice has been noticeably better over the years. “On To The Next One” plays at low volume, followed by the mellow “Hold On, We’re Going Home” as the UC crowd exits. Aw man, now this sad Drake song is making me feel even sadder.

#Analysis:

Derrick Rose 3.0

Contributing to the sadness is seeing Derrick Rose 3.0 in person. Summarizing this idea presented in this week’s Bulls Show, if Derrick Rose 1.0 was the wide-eyed rookie and Derrick Rose 2.0 was MVP Rose, then Derrick Rose 3.0 is post-injury, picking his spots Rose.

Now, I’m about as big of a D. Rose apologist as you can find, but I also can’t deny a trend in the early quarter of the season: over half of Rose’s field goal attempts since his return from the hamstring injury are coming from beyond the arc.

In those 7 games, Rose has attempted 87 field goals and of those 87, 46 of them have been from 3.

Rose is shooting the 3 at a 30% clip during that stretch, matching his below league-average 30% overall on the season. This is counting the ridiculous one-handed bank shot floater versus Dallas that sent the game to double overtime too.

Based on the shot attempts and the eye test, one can sense that Rose is still trying to figure out the times to attack the rim, or even pull up for a mid-range jumper. We’ve really only see him aggressively attack the rim in the team’s marquee games so far this year, most notably the home opener versus Cleveland and the post “be there for my son’s graduation” comments TNT game versus the Raptors. Hence my cautious optimism at the beginning of the diary that we could see a Bulls win and a more aggressive D. Rose with the Warriors being the elite opponent (best record in the league). It didn’t really happen beyond the first quarter with Rose finishing 1-7 from 3 and 2-11 overall.

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One more thing to keep an eye on going forward is Rose’s passing and ability to set up his teammates. It’s steadily improved as Rose has had 3 games with 2 or less turnovers in the past 5. Of course, in between was a 7 turnover outing versus the Mavs that was more close to his early November. Perhaps an underrated, lingering factor for the turnovers is one that’s non-Rose related: the games of his new and old teammates.

Eastern Conference Player of the Month Jimmy Butler is playing at an other-worldly all-star level he hasn’t touched in his career so far. It took LeBron James & Kyrie Irving just 1 month to play together more minutes than Derrick Rose & Jimmy Butler have in their careers. Think about that for a second.

Then you have Pau Gasol in vintage form, averaging 20.1 PPG (the most since ’06-’07) and 11.9 RPG (the most in his career). It’s early still, but both he and Butler are playing like all-stars and are focal points of the offense with or without Rose. In Rose’s entire career with the Bulls, he hasn’t played with offensive scoring options quite this impactful.

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So in conclusion, there is really no conclusion. Rose 3.0 is still a work in progress and we, whether a Bulls fan or analyst, have to maintain patience far beyond just a handful of games. The two focal points of Derrick’s game I’m carefully examining going forward are the 3-point attempts and the turnovers (and how he’s getting them.) I’m confident we’ll see both gradually decrease as Rose gets more acclimated to consistent full-speed games and his new teammates.

The City of Big Shoulders

Last night’s game marked the return of Taj Gibson after a 6-game absence with a sprained ankle. Great news for the Bulls, but it also pushed rookie Nikola Mirotic back to limited minutes. Niko only played 8 minutes in the wake of Gibson’s return, but his 2 TOs and 3 fouls in that time likely contributed to that. During Gibson’s injury, Mirotic averaged 12.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 27 minutes. He also leads all rookies with 3 double-doubles and is shooting the 3 at a 38% clip.

He’s proven he could play.

So where does he fit in the rotation now that everyone is healthy again?

The easy solution is to look at 34 year old Pau Gasol’s 36 minutes per game. Take 4 or 5 of those and give them to Niko, and it’ll save some burden on Gasol while preparing Mirotic for the playoff stage come April.

The asterisk is the notoriously stubborn Coach Thibs, but if Niko’s going to be under 10 minutes a game and Pau still at 36, I’m convinced there’s a clause in Gasol’s contract that he or the Bulls get a bonus for his all-star berth.

In addition to the minutes allocation, I’m intrigued to see what the Bulls do to resolve their defense versus the stretch 4. Draymond Green put the magnifying glass on this issue last night, probably singing “CoCo” while he was at it. 

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This is a challenge that we can date back to the preseason when the Noah/Gasol frontline allowed Thaddeus Young 17 points on 4 3s in 27 minutes, albeit on a much less mobile Noah in late October than now. Even still, as athletic as Noah is at full health, it’s hard to expect the center who anchored our defense at the rim to defend stretch 4s at the 3-point line, especially when they are roaming free in transition like last night. Taj Gibson is our best option for the Draymond Greens and Kevin Loves of the NBA, so we’ll keep an eye on the minutes to Jo and Pau in these specific matchups into 2015.

The Golden State Ws

Emphasis on Ws. That’s 12 of them now for Golden State — a new franchise record. Steve Kerr’s Warriors lead the league in Defensive Rating and on the flip side, Assists Per Game with a 4th place standing in Offensive Rating.

Basically, they’re legit.

The in-person experience was just as beautiful as it is on TV, even as a biased observer. The pick and pops, Steph’s left-handed swing passes, the 3-man weaves, Andrew Bogut… literally everything an advanced basketball junkee would want, in addition to everything the casual basketball viewer would want: the Splash Brothers.

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Come April, the Western Conference Champion will largely come down to health and matchups. But carrying its own weight is the continuity the Warriors have instantly developed under a new coach. Not only on the court, but off.

There have been stories that start from the top like Coach Kerr likening Draymond Green’s hustle after a loose ball to that of a beetle. Or the team plane Instagram videos of the team singing a song that’s basically about cocaine. (Someone finally caught on and told them to stop, ha!)

I saw it on their bench as their MVP-candidate leader Steph Curry led the rallying during Draymond’s galvanizing game-long heat-check. The intangibles of a team, or its “it” factor I suppose, is impossible to quantify, but at the same time: isn’t it simply pass/fail? Seeing them in person, the Warriors are emphatically a Pass.

2015 Finals Preview? Well, both teams have a lot left to prove still and we’re not even close to peak Bulls. But as a fan, you can bet I have the calendar circled.

Bulls Show 85: Doubt & Defeat

Nillz & Ricky sound off on what went wrong with the Bulls, underestimating the Wizards, and the excitement of the NBA Playoffs. Let’s just say this probably won’t be the favorite episode of the Hinrich & Boozer families, but while we express our disappointment and frustration, it’s not all bad news because hey – we’re potentially on the cusp of the 2014 Plan!

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The GWHH Definitive Guide to the Post-MJ/Scottie Bulls Postseasons (Pt. 2 of 2)

If you missed Part 1 of my 2005-2013 Bulls Playoff Guide, click here. Let’s keep it rolling with a few other categories, starting with…

The Best 2005-2013 Bulls Single Game Playoff Performances

Let’s break this down All-NBA style.

1st TEAM

GUARD – Derrick Rose, 2011 second round, Game 3 @ Atlanta (box score)

Bulls 99, Hawks 82 — Rose: 44 points, 7 assists, 5 boards

Rose has had a few great postseason performances, but this one is the tops because…

* It’s his career high in points.

* It gave the Bulls a 2-1 series lead.

* It was a road win.

* The Bulls won the series.

* He was efficient: shot 59% from the floor, 57% from three, missed one free throw out of nine, committed two turnovers and one foul.

THEY SAID IT: 

“He’s tough to cover anyway. But when his jump shot is falling, he’s the MVP.” — Hawks point guard Jeff Teague

“I just wanted to get my groove back. Knock it down. That’s all I was trying to do.” — Derrick Rose

GUARD – Nate Robinson, 2014 first round, Game 4 vs. Brooklyn (box score)

Bulls 142, Nets 134 — Robinson: 34 points off the bench and the game’s high scorer

You could take either of my second team guard performances here and I wouldn’t argue too much. Nate gets the call for me because, again, the Bulls won the game and the series. The runner he nailed to give the Bulls a two-point lead with 1.7 left in the first overtime finished a stretch of 27 points in 15 minutes. (My postgame column.)

THEY SAID IT:

“I always think I’m on fire, kind of like the old school game NBA Jam. You make a couple in a row, the rim’s on fire. You shoot the ball, the ball’s on fire. I feel like that at times — all the time. Whenever I’m in the game, I just play with a lot of confidence. You kind of have to lie to yourself and feel like you can’t miss.” — Nate Robinson

FORWARD – Luol Deng, 2007 first round, Game 1 vs. Heat (box score)

Bulls 96, Heat 91 — Deng: career playoff high 33 points on 64% shooting, 8 rebounds

After missing the playoffs his rookie year and averaging only 10 points per game in the 2006 playoff loss to the Heat, Luol Deng — the team’s second leading scorer in 2007 at 18.8 ppg — broke out in Game 1 with 33 points in the Bulls’ five-point win over Miami. I touched on the impact of this performance in Part 1, and unfortunately there isn’t a good highlight reel of this game online, so here is a compilation of Bulls highlights in the four-game sweep:

THEY SAID IT:

“This game was really big. Now that we have the lead, most of the time the team that loses has to adjust. We did a lot of things today that worked for us.” – Luol Deng

FORWARD – John Salmons, 2009 first round, Game 6 vs. Celtics (box score)

Bulls 128, Celtics 127 — Salmons: team-high 35 points on 59% shooting and five threes… played a game-high 60 of 63 minutes

Though everyone remembers Joakim Noah first and probably Derrick Rose second, the unsung, under appreciated Bulls hero of the classic triple overtime Game 6 win over the Celtics was John Salmons, who scored 16 points in the first quarter en route to a team-high 35. He was clutch late, too, with 14 points combined in the fourth quarter and the three overtimes. He’s one of seven Bulls since 1986 to hit at least five threes in a playoff game.

THEY SAID IT:

“As tired as I am, I won’t be able to sleep.” — John Salmons

CENTER – Joakim Noah, 2013 first round, Game 7 @ Nets (box score)

Bulls 99, Nets 93 — Noah: 24 points on 71% shooting, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks

The greatest playoff game Joakim Noah ever played — and I’ll include his 2006 national championship game with Florida vs. UCLA. Noah played Game 7 in Brooklyn practically on one foot. It was one of those defining “he-would-not-let-his-team-lose” games.

THEY SAID IT: 

“Noah, like I said, he’s a warrior. He battled through his injuries and just had a monster game. We really had no answers for him down low tonight.” — Deron Williams

“I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.” — Joakim Noah

2nd TEAM

GUARD – Ben Gordon, 2009 first round, Game 2 @ Boston (box score)

Celtics 118, Bulls 115 — Gordon: 42 points on 58% shooting and six threes

Gordon’s most memorable moment of the series came two games later when he hit a game-tying three at the end of double overtime in Game 4 and proceeded to grab his junk, but his 42-point performance in Game 2 and the shootout with fellow former UConn guard Ray Allen was the best all-around game.

THEY SAID IT: 

“It felt like we were at UConn in the summertime playing pickup. (Allen) is a great shooter and I knew he would break out eventually.” — Ben Gordon

GUARD – Derrick Rose, 2009 first round, Game 1 @ Boston (box score)

Bulls 105, Celtics 103 — Rose: 36 points, 11 assists in playoffs debut

Doesn’t get much more electric than a 20-year-old rookie point guard leading a .500 club to an overtime Game 1 road win over the defending champs by scoring 36 points and tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s rookie playoff debut scoring record. No, no it doesn’t.

THEY SAID IT: 

“(Rose is) poised beyond his years. He already carries himself like a veteran out there. He had a phenomenal game tonight, to say the least.” — Ben Gordon

“I hope this is a wake-up call. I hope we realize that the Bulls, they’re not just a team that’s happy to be in the playoffs. So hopefully the guys will wake up and realize this is reality. We’ve better come to play.” — Paul Pierce

FORWARD – Andres Nocioni, 2005 first round, Game 1 vs. Wizards (box score)

Bulls 103, Wizards 94 — Nocioni: 25 points and 18 rebounds in his playoffs debut

It wasn’t quite Rose’s 36-11, but Andres Nocioni’s 25-18 in his playoffs debut — while starting in place of the injured Deng — was brilliant. Unfortunately, I can’t find video. Fortunately, I wrote about it here.

THEY SAID IT: 

“We played a great game, but it’s just one game. I need to forgot this game and think (about) the next game.” – Andres Nocioni

FORWARD – Jimmy Butler, 2013 first & second round, Game 6 vs. Nets, Game 7 @ Nets, Game 1 @ Heat (box scores)

Butler: three straight 48-minute games

I’m cheating a bit here and taking Jimmy Butler’s streak last year of three consecutive 48-minute playoffs games. He’s the only Bulls player since 1986 with such a streak, and he did it while defending Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and LeBron James.

THEY SAID IT:

“It’s all about being tough. We’re always going to be the underdogs and we take pride in that. Everybody can overlook us, but we feel like we’re good enough to hang with a lot of these teams.” — Jimmy Butler, following the Bulls’ Game 1 win over the Heat

CENTER – Joakim Noah, 2010 first round, Game 4 vs. Cavaliers (box score)

Cavaliers 121, Bulls 98 — Noah: 21 points, 20 rebounds

This performance was completely obscured by LeBron’s domination, but hot damn, gotta give love for Noah’s 21-20. It was — and is — only the third 20+ rebound game in a Bulls playoffs game since 1986.

THEY SAID IT:

“I just think we weren’t very tough mentally today. We were playing good ball and then just collapsed. We’re a young team and have to learn from this.” — Joakim Noah

3rd TEAM

GUARD – Ben Gordon, 2005 first round, Game 1 vs. Wizards (box score)

Bulls 103, Wizards 94 — Gordon: 30 points off the bench

Nocioni was the game’s star — the United Center crowd’s “No-ci-o-ni!” cheer was never louder — but Gordon was the team’s leading scorer. His 30 points were a Bulls playoff record for a reserve until Nate Robinson.

Since I can’t find footage from this game, here is Ben’s final playoff game as a Bull, which probably looked pretty similar to his first one:

GUARD – Derrick Rose, 2011 first round, Game 1 vs. Pacers (box score)

Bulls 104, Pacers 99 — Rose: 39 points, 6 boards, 6 assists, 19 of 21 free throws

Rose kicked off the postseason of his MVP year with 39 points, including an 11-point 1st quarter. With the Pacers trying to play spoiler — they entered the 4th quarter up eight — Rose kept the Bulls in the hunt until he took over in the final two minutes: the Bulls closed out on a 10-0 run, Derrick scored 7 of the 10 and assisted Kyle Korver on a three-pointer that gave the Bulls a lead they never lost.

FORWARD – Luol Deng, 2007 second round, Game 4 vs. Pistons (box score)

Bulls 102, Pistons 87 — Deng: 25 points on 10-15 shooting, 13 rebounds

With the Bulls in danger of being swept, Deng led an all-around Bulls effort with a game-high 25 points. No footage on youtube for this one, so here’s a different clip of Luol whipping Detroit this season:

FORWARD – Carlos Boozer, 2013 first round, Game 3 vs. Brooklyn (box score)

Bulls 79, Nets 76 — Boozer: 22 points, 16 rebounds

Boozer has been much maligned throughout his Bulls career, primarily as a result of his after-thought status as a 2010 free agent prize combined with his defensive unprowess and the U.C.’s love of his backup Taj Gibson. But Booz has his moments, among them in Game 3 of last year’s Nets series.

CENTER – Brad Miller, 2009 first round, Game 6 vs. Celtics (box score)

Bulls 128, Celtics 127 — Miller: 23 points, 10 rebounds

After getting emasculated by Rondo in Game 5…

…Brad Miller was an efficient stud in Game 6: 23 points on 8 of 9 shooting, two of two from three, five of five from the line, 10 boards, two blocks.

We posted full Game 6 highlights in Part 1, so here’s Brad Miller hitting a key three in the 4th quarter:

HONORABLE MENTION

Kirk Hinrich, 2005 first round, Game 2 vs. Wizards (box score)

Bulls 113, Wizards 103 — Hinrich: 34 points on 80% shooting including 5 for 5 from three

Captain Kirk’s finest playoff hour was the team’s last win of their magical 2005 season. With the team up 12 in the 4th quarter, Hinrich scored eight straight points on two threes and a layup to give the Bulls a 20 point lead. When Gilbert Arenas (39 points) went on a run of his own to cut the lead to six, Hinrich hit a three and bagged two foul shots to give the Bulls their final needed breathing room.

Now footage to be found on Game 2, so here’s Kirk in Game 1:

Jannero Pargo, 2005 first round, Game 5 vs. Wizards (box score)

Wizards 112, Bulls 110 — Pargo: 9 points on three 3s in the final minute

Pargo nearly single-handedly pulled off an upset for the ages when he hit three 3s in the final minute of a furious Game 5 comeback — only to watch Gilbert Arenas drop the Bulls at the buzzer.

BEST OPPOSITION

GUARD – Ray Allen, 2009 first round, Game 6 (box score)

If not for his team’s loss, this 51-point game would be more highly regarded on Ray’s resume.


GUARD – Gilbert Arenas, 2005 first round, Game 5 (box score)

Arenas was better in Games 2 (39 points), 3 (32, 7 and 7) and 4 (23, 6 and 5), but his supreme confidence in his abilities led to one of the all-time most devastating postseason game-winners the Bulls have ever suffered.

BONUS GUARD – Rajon Rondo, 2009 first round — the whole series (stats)

Can’t pick just one game — Rondo was masterful in the entire series. He averaged a triple double until Game 7, and still finished close to one: 19.4 points (third on the team), 11.6 assists (first), 9.3 boards (second) plus 2.7 steals (first). Bagged triple doubles in Games 2 and 4. Also made the game-saving foul on Miller in Game 5 and set the tone against Rose.

FORWARD – LeBron James, 2010 First Round, Game 4 (box score)

Like Rondo in 2009, it’s tough to single out one game for LeBron in this 2010 series. He was scorching: 31.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists on shooting percentages of 56.7%, 54.2% and 72.0%. I’ll take his monstrous Game 4 though: 37 points, 12 boards, 11 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 64.7% from the floor, 6 of 9 from three.

Since his Game 4 highlights are in Part 1, here are his Game 2 highlights. They’re, um, pretty good too:

FORWARD – LeBron James, 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 5

For the second straight year, LeBron was the difference in a series vs. the Bulls. He was great throughout, but turned it up a notch in Game 5, particularly down the stretch, both offensively and defensively against Rose.

CENTER – Shaquille O’Neal, 2006 First Round, Game 6

As mentioned in Part 1, Shaq pulled out a Vintage Shaq game in Game 6, with 30 points on an array of unstoppable oops from Dwyane Wade. He also grabbed 20 boards. Go to sleep Bulls. Go to sleep.

***

BEST DUNKS

Not much to say on these… I’ll let the dunks do the talking.

GUARD – Derrick Rose, 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 4

GUARD – Derrick Rose, 2011 second round, Game 3

FORWARD – Taj Gibson, 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1


FORWARD – Tyrus Thomas, 2007 first round, Game 1

CENTER – Joakim Noah, 2009 first round, Game 6

***

LEADERS

Games Started

43 — Joakim Noah

42 — Luol Deng

34 — Carlos Boozer

31 — Kirk Hinrich

29 — Derrick Rose

24 — Ben Gordon

16 — Keith Bogans

12 — Andres Nocioni, Jimmy Butler

10 — P.J. Brown, Ben Wallace

7 — John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas

6 — Antonio Davis, Othella Harrington, Mike Sweetney, Malik Allen, Richard Hamilton

5 — Chris Duhon, Taj Gibson, C.J. Watson

3 — Omer Asik

SINGLE PLAYOFFS LEADERS

PPG (full leaders)

Derrick Rose, 2011, 16 games, 27.1 ppg

Derrick Rose, 2010, 5 games, 26.8

Ben Gordon, 2009, 7 games, 24.3

Andres Nocioni, 2006, 6 games, 22.3

Luol Deng, 2007, 10 games, 22.2

RPG (full leaders)

Joakim Noah, 2009, 7 games, 13.1 rpg

Joakim Noah, 2010, 5 games, 13.0

Joakim Noah, 2011, 16 games, 10.2

Carlos Boozer, 2012, 6 games, 9.8

Carlos Boozer, 2011, 16 games, 9.7

APG (full leaders)

Derrick Rose, 2011, 16 games, 7.7 apg

Kirk Hinrich, 2006, 6 games, 7.7

Kirk Hinrich, 2007, 10 games, 7.5

Derrick Rose, 2010, 5 games, 7.2

Derrick Rose, 2009, 7 games, 6.4

BPG (full leaders)

Tyrus Thomas, 2009, 7 games, 2.9 bpg

Joakim Noah, 2013, 12 games, 2.2

Tyson Chandler, 2005, 6 games, 2.2

Joakim Noah, 2009, 7 games, 2.1

Joakim Noah, 2011, 16 games, 2.1

SPG (full leaders)

Kirk Hinrich, 2005, 6 games, 2.0 spg

Kirk Hinrich, 2013, 4 games, 2.0

Joakim Noah, 2010, 5 games, 1.8

Kirk Hinrich, 2009, 7 games, 1.7

Luol Deng, 2011, 16 games, 1.5

SINGLE GAME LEADERS

Points

Derrick Rose, 2011 second round Game 3, 44 points

Ben Gordon, 2009 first round Game 2, 42 points

Derrick Rose, 2011 first round Game 1, 39 points

Derrick Rose, 2009 first round Game 1, 36 points

Derrick Rose, 2011 first round Game 2, 36 points

30+ points

Derrick Rose, 8 games

Ben Gordon, 4 games

John Salmons, Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni, 1 game

Rebounds

Joakim Noah, 2010 first round Game 4, 20 rebounds

Andres Nocioni, 2005 first round Game 1, 18 rebounds

Noah (x2), Ben Wallace, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, 17 rebounds

15+ rebounds

Joakim Noah, 8 games

Carlos Boozer, 3 games

Andres Nocioni, 2 games

Ben Wallace, Luol Deng, 1 game

Assists

Kirk Hinrich, 2013 first round Game 4, 14 assists

Kirk Hinrich, 2007 second round Game 5, 13 assists

Derrick Rose, 2011 second round Game 6, 12 assists

Hinrich (x2), Rose, Ben Gordon, 11 assists

10+ assists

Derrick Rose, 8 games

Kirk Hinrich, 5 games

C.J. Watson, Ben Gordon, 1 game

Blocks

Joakim Noah, 2013 first round Game 7, 6 blocks

Tyrus Thomas, 2009 first round Game 2, 6 blocks

Joakim Noah, 2011 second round Game 3, 5 blocks

Joakim Noah, 2013 first round Game 6, 5 blocks

4+ blocks

Joakim Noah, 7 games

Taj Gibson, 3 games

Tyrus Thomas, 2 games

Tyson Chandler, 1 game

Steals

Tyrus Thomas, 2007 second round Game 5, 5 steals

Luol Deng, 2011 second round Game 6, 5 steals

4+ steals

Luol Deng, 3 games

Rose, Hinrich, 2 games

Thomas, Butler, P.J. Brown, 1 games

POINTS OFF THE BENCH

Nate Robinson, 2013 first round Game 4, 34 points

Ben Gordon, 2005 first round Game 1, 30 points

Ben Gordon, 2005 first round Game 5, 27 points

Brad Miller, 2009 first round Game 6, 23 points

Tyson Chandler, 2005 first round Game 5, 22 points

15+ point games off the bench

Kirk Hinrich, 3 games

Chandler, Gordon, Miller, Robinson, 2 games

Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni, Jannero Pargo, John Lucas, Tyrus Thomas, Richard Hamilton 1 game

REBOUNDS OFF THE BENCH

Tyson Chandler, 2005 first round Game 4, 13 rebounds

Brad Miller, 2009 first round Game 1, 12 rebounds

Taj Gibson, 2012 first round Game 4, 12 rebounds

Tyson Chandler, 2005 first round Game 6, 11 rebounds

Taj Gibson, 2011 second round Game 3, 11 rebounds

10+ rebounds off the bench

Chandler, 4 games

Gibson, Miller, 2 games

ASSISTS OFF THE BENCH

Kirk Hinrich, 2009 first round Game 6, 7 assists

C.J. Watson, 2011 first round Game 5, 7 assists

Chris Duhon, 2007 second round Game 2, 6 assists

5+ assists off the bench

Watson, 3 games

Ben Gordon, 2 games

Hinrich, Duhon, 1 game

LEADERS BY YEAR (points, rebounds, assists)

2005 – Hinrich 21.2, Chandler 9.7, Hinrich 5.8

2006 – Nocioni 22.3, Nocioni 8.8, Hinrich 7.7

2007 – Deng 22.2, Wallace 9.5, Hinrich 7.5

2009 – Gordon 24.3, Noah 13.1, Rose 6.4

2010 – Rose 26.8, Noah 13.0, Rose 7.2

2011 – Rose 27.1, Noah 10.2, Rose 7.7

2012 – Noah* 15.0, Boozer 9.8, Watson* 5.5

2013 – Boozer 16.4, Boozer/Noah 9.6, Hinrich 5.8

 

Jack M Silverstein is a staff writer for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Say hey @readjack.

Bulls Show 82: Weighing the Wizards

Ricky & Nillz preview the Bulls’ upcoming first round playoff series against the Wizards, including a look at key factors and match-ups. Listen to find out who we think has the edge between Michael Jordan’s former teams and whether Kirk Hinrich can avenge his 2005 playoff loss to Washington in honor of Andres Nocioni (no, seriously).

http://thebullsshow.podomatic.com/embed/frame/posting/2014-04-16T23_03_27-07_00?json_url=http%3A%2F%2Fthebullsshow.podomatic.com%2Fentry%2Fembed_params%2F2014-04-16T23_03_27-07_00%3Fcolor%3D43bee7%26autoPlay%3Dfalse%26width%3D440%26height%3D85%26objembed%3D0