Posts Tagged ‘Bulls’

Fellow players take to social media, well-wish Rose after injury

By Nick Margiasso IV

While the NBA world awaits news of the severity of Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose’s injury, the prayers and condolences have begun rolling in. The Association might define the heights of competition in sport, but when the possibility of tragedy hits, those same players that go to battle in between the lines always seem to be looking out for each other out of bounds.

Here’s a look at what Rose’s NBA peers are saying via their social media bullhorns:

All Ball Fave Five: Most Disappointing Playoff Teams Of The New Millenium

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week we’ll count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

Who is going to win the Super Bowl this year? The World Series? Your guess is as good as mine. In the NFL and MLB, who wins from year to year is totally unpredictable. In football it’s about who is lucky and who is healthy; in baseball it’s who is lucky and who gets great pitching.

The NBA is different. There are very, very few Cinderella stories in professional basketball. For my money, the 2011 Mavericks and the 2004 Pistons are the only surprise champions I’ve seen in the NBA in my lifetime.

The best teams almost always prevail. Which is why when we think of the teams who have come up short since the start of the 2000s, the answers are pretty obvious.

Let’s take a look:

5. 2011 San Antonio Spurs

What happened: The Spurs got off to a ridiculous start to the season (they were 29-4 at one point), and for a while there was talk that they might flirt with 70 wins. They cooled a bit down the stretch, but still finished the regular season as the top seed in the Western Conference with a record of 61-21.

The draw in the West looked pretty good, as they faced the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. Talk about a mismatch – the Spurs, four-time NBA champions, versus the Grizz, who to that point had not won a single playoff game in franchise history in three previous appearances. So naturally they advanced to face HEY WAIT A MINUTE!

Memphis shocked San Antonio in six games, and the Spurs went home as only the fourth No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 8 seed*.

* The Bulls became the fifth this past season, but methinks that might have turned out differently had Derrick Rose been healthy.

Why they disappointed: I’ll be honest. I don’t really think of this Spurs team as being all that much of a disappointment. Some of that is due to the fact that the Grizzlies turned out to be a pretty good team, and some (maybe a lot) is due to the fact that Manu Ginobili hurt his elbow the final game of the season and was severely limited in the series. Still, 1 seeds don’t lose to 8 seeds, so here they are.

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Brian Scalabrine Has More Skills Than You Know

by Micah Hart

Bulls fans, your team’s season is over. I know it stings. I’m a Hawks fan, and though my expectations were much lower coming into the postseason, it still hurts when the run is done.

So, in an effort to cheer you up, here is a commercial fan favorite Brian “White Mamba” Scalabrine did recently to let you know how you can save money on your electric bill:

Laughter is the best medicine, right?

H/T Windy Apple (via TBJ)

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A Look Back: Best Horry Scale Moments From 2011-12

by Micah Hart

This was pretty fun — joined the GameTime pregame show before Wednesday night’s games to break down the season’s best Horry Scale moments, with the scale’s patron saint himself there to critique my grades:



The prevailing thought amongst Robert Horry, Kevin Martin, and Dennis Scott was that I judged too harshly this season, which is amusing because most emails I received from the fans seemed to suggest I was too lenient. Guess you can’t please everyone!

Here is my final ranking of this year’s six Horry Scale recipients – how would you rank them?

6. Derrick Rose beats Milwaukee — This low because I hate seeing a PG of his caliber settle for a long jumper.
5. Luke Ridnour beats Utah — Difficult floater, but no resistance from the Jazz defense.
4. LaMarcus Aldridge beats Dallas — Aldridge sure does make this look easy.
3. Luol Deng beats Toronto — Only tip-in of the season, Bulls trailed by 1.
2. Kevin Love beats L.A. Clippers — Perhaps in hindsight should have graded higher, especially coming in in the city where he played his college ball.
1. Kevin Durant beats Dallas — Set the bar high the first week of the season and was never topped. The ball barely touches the net from almost 30 feet!

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.

UPDATE: A reminder folks, the shot has to beat the buzzer to be considered. As great as Jeremy Lin’s shot to beat the Raptors was, there were still tenths of a second left on the clock. Doesn’t qualify. A man’s gotta have a code…

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Three For All: A Retrospective

by Micah Hart

The 2011-12 NBA regular season will come to an end tonight, and one thing we can say for sure is the compressed 66-game slate certainly gave teams their share of challenges. Chief among those (in our eyes at least) were the back-to-back-to-back series that every team faced at least once throughout the year, a chore that never occurs during a normal 82-game calendar but was made necessary once again due to a lockout (the last time teams played three games in three nights was 1998, the last time the NBA played a shortened season due to a labor stoppage).

With 42 three-for-all sets built into the calendar, we made it our business here at All Ball to document each one, curious to see what information we might glean from them. Would it be an accurate predictor of postseason achievement? Would we see NCAA-tournament style cinderella runs from some of the lesser squads? Could anyone win what we assumed would be an incredibly grueling third game?

Let’s run through some of the numbers and see what’s what.

7 – Number of times teams went undefeated in their three for all challenge, led by the Spurs, who managed to do it twice within the span of less than a month. The Spurs’ second run saw them match the Heat with 15 points, the maximum possible score allowable for three road wins by double-digit margins. We’ll break down who’s was more impressive on Thursday night. In addition to those two, the other perfectionists were the Bulls, who maxed out their trip with 13 points (all wins were by double-digits, but they played only one road game), the Thunder, the Hawks, who amazingly found the strength to win the third game in four overtimes over the Jazz, and the Suns (more on them in a second). Of the six teams to taste perfection, only Phoenix will be sitting out the postseason.

6 — Number of times teams went winless. Would it shock you to learn that the Wizards were the only team to go defeated twice? Would it shock you further to learn the Bobcats, the worst team in NBA history, aren’t on this list? In addition to the Ashington Izards (No Ws – I R HILARIOUS), the Pistons, Clippers, Mavericks, and Suns found the going toughest. The Suns, incidentally, were the only squad to put up undefeated and winless marks, which really encapsulates their season in a nutshell, from being 12-19 to just missing out on a playoff spot after their loss in Utah on Tuesday.

4.5 — The average score for the 42 attempts was 4.5 points. The most common score was 2 points, accomplished 10 times, while no one scored 14 or 9.

22-20 – Record for teams in the third game of the three for all. I gotta tip my cap to these guys, I would have pegged this mark to be much worse before the season started.

And now for some superlatives, after the jump.

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Luol Deng, How Do You Rate On The Horry Scale?

by Micah Hart



When last we spoke around these parts, we were singing the praises of the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, one of the game’s great closers and someone we expect to see many Horry Scale entries from as the years go by.

Unfortunately Mr. Rose is currently out of the lineup for Chicago, having missed the past six games with a hamstring strain. So when the game came down to the final possession against the Raptors tonight, it brought up a quasi-philosophical question: if the Bulls need a game-winner and Rose isn’t around to take the shot, does it make a sound? (Or something like that).

Looks like we have our answer.

For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.

The Bulls may not have Rose, but they still have one more All-Star, and that is Luol Deng. Let’s see how his understudy did:

Difficulty

The time element was the only thing difficult about this shot. Deng set a pick for C.J. Watson at the top of the key, then immediately dove to the basket to put himself in position for exactly what was to come — a potential tip-in situation. I would give Deng credit for a nice box-out to get his hold in the lane, but the Raptors really made it easy on him. To be fair, there is always a lot of chaos in a final-shot scenario like this, it’s easy to lose your man. But Deng faces no opposition at the basket once he gets in the air, and the ensuing tip-in after Watson’s shot comes up short is a piece of cake.

Game Situation

The Raptors led 101-100 after James Johnson hit 1-2 free throws with 15.2 seconds left in overtime, then failed to extend that lead when Gary Forbes missed a pair with 6.4 on the clock. The Bulls then inbounded the ball at midcourt with 6.0 seconds left — plenty of time to get a shot off, but with no room for error since they were trailing.

Importance

Here is what I wrote after Rose’s GWBB back on March 7:

The Bulls fell to the Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, and the two teams appear on a crash course to go at it again this May. With the way Miami has improved, home-court advantage could certainly play a big role in that series, and as such, every win for Chicago will matter from here until the end of the regular season.

Since that win over the Bucks, the Bulls have gone 6-2, but have gained only one game on the Heat in the standings. The sentiment still stands.

Celebration

If I had to make a list of every player in the NBA, then rank them most to least expressive, I’d probably put Deng somewhere next to Tim Duncan down near the very bottom*. So you know Deng has to be pumped to react the way he does after the ball drops — immediately pointing to the stands to celebrate with the fans. Of course by the time the camera pans in on his face the emotion is gone, but we’ll take what we can get from Lu. Bonus points for John Lucas nearly spinning like a top on Deng’s head, plus the shot of Rose watching it all unfold from the bench. By the way, someone tweeted after the game that in the Bulls’ last 82 games covering this season and last, their record is 68-14. Going to be an interesting postseason in the East, no doubt about it.

* Who would be at the top, you ask? That’s easy — Ronny Turiaf.

Grade

3 Horrys. Last-second tip-ins are always a fun sub-genre of the Horry Scale. I’m tempted to debit a half-Horry for the way the Raptors gave this one away, but I won’t. The stakes are always a little higher when you trail at the end, and Deng deserves a lot of credit for making a very difficult situation look relatively easy. Good on the Bulls for doing it all without Rose as well. And the cherry on top? The win made the Bulls the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff berth this season.

What do you think?

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Derrick Rose, How Do You Rate On The Horry Scale?

by Micah Hart



Almost had two Horry Scale entries tonight, but sadly Jordan Farmar‘s game-winner for the Nets left a measly 0.4 seconds left on the clock for the Clippers to salvage a win. A great shot no doubt (though where was the Clippers’ D on that play?), but twasn’t a buzzer-beater, so it fails to qualify. Fortunately, we still have Derrick Rose to take care of us.

For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.

Rose is one of the ultimate closers in the NBA, so it’s a bit of a surprise to me this is his first appearance on the Horry Scale. How did the league’s reigning MVP stack up? Let’s find out:

Difficulty

Not terribly difficult for Rose, who created some space for himself against Brandon Jennings before knocking down the step-back jumper from the top of the key to win the game. However, I am going to complain just a little here. I won’t argue with the outcome, but with as much time as Rose had to work with in a tie game, I want him to get to the basket there. I’ll give him a pass, though, because that’s typically what he does in game-winning situations. But a lesson to the kids — never settle for the J.

Game Situation

Potential trade bait Ersan Ilyasova scored on an offensive rebound to tie the game at 104-104 with 24 seconds left to play, which gave the Bulls all the time in the world to set up a play for the win. Chicago cleared it out for Rose, who went mano-a-mano with Jennings for the final shot.

Importance

The Bulls fell to the Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, and the two teams appear on a crash course to go at it again this May. With the way Miami has improved, home-court advantage could certainly play a big role in that series, and as such, every win for Chicago will matter from here until the end of the regular season. The Bulls remain two games ahead of the Heat with this win.

Celebration

Watch the clip again, and listen for the crowd’s reaction (go ahead, I’ll wait). What city was this game played in again? I had to look a few times to remind myself it was played in Milwaukee because judging by the crowd’s reaction, you might have thought it was the Windy City. Look how much red is in that crowd! I realize Chicago is a short distance from Milwaukee, but that’s embarrassing. Bonus points for the skyward finger-point celebration from Brian Scalabrine.

Grade

1.5 Horrys. A tie game, plenty of time to work with, and a more-difficult-shot-than-necessary from Rose makes this one fairly standard. But I’m giving an extra half-Horry in honor of the Bulls fans for turning the place into United Center North.

What do you think?

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Point/Counterpoint — Should LeBron Have Taken The Last Shot?

by Micah Hart



A lot of disagreement out there in the NBA atmosphere about the finish to the Heat-Jazz game tonight in Utah, a game the Jazz won 99-98. On the game’s final play, LeBron James slipped a pass to his teammate Udonis Haslem, who missed a potential game-winning jumper just before the buzzer sounded. Many think LeBron should have taken the final shot. Others say he made the correct decision to hit the open man. Who is right and who is wrong? We take sides:

Point:
Bron’s strengths are known and undeniable. He led the Heat from down double digits, including two huge shots in the final minute. He just came from another last-possession gaffe in the All-Star game, in which he inexplicably passed the ball across court (into the arms of an opposing player). So with seconds left and a chance to win the game in Utah, he had a chance to redeem. He passed again. Yes, Haslem was open. Yes it was the “right” basketball play. But if you’re the best player, you can’t keep deferring on the final play. I’m not talking about a single play here…I’m talking about a pattern. – Zettler Clay

Counterpoint:
I’m no LeBron lover, but the guy can’t win for trying. It’s not like he passed up a wide-open shot for himself, he drew the coverage and made the correct play to a teammate for a wide-open shot. This is the NBA – every player on the court save the Joel Anthonys of the world should be relied upon to make open shots, and the mid-range jumper is Haslem’s bread and butter. It’s probably why they drew that play up in the first place. People on Twitter keep saying things like “MJ would never pass there”, but I seem to recall Steve Kerr hitting a rather important game-winner in a deciding Finals game. — Micah Hart

Point:
Yes, Kerr knocked down that jumper at the top of the key. But that was an exception to the Jordan mythology. Bron passing on the last shot…is the norm. And hence the rub: People aren’t mad at Bron for making the “right” play. It’s the constant deferring that grates viewers. Here is arguably the most physically gifted player we’ve ever seen, a player who struts his talents and dazzles the whole game…but seems scared of THE moment. Not to mention the fact that, again, he was scorching hot entering the final play. Even a covered Bron close to the rim is a higher percentage than an open Haslem at the key. I would think. – ZC

Counterpoint:
I get that. And LeBron’s reputation is deserved for how he melted down against the Celtics in 2010 and in the Finals in 2011. But reputation or no, the best way to win basketball games is to play the game correctly. Imagine if the two possessions at the end switched places and had reverse outcomes — LeBron hits Haslem for a wide-open jumper, then misses a crazy one-footed fadeaway over two defenders to end it. Is that somehow a better scenario for the Heat just because he ends up taking the shot at the end? Regardless of how you feel, I think we can both agree what should have happened, and what should happen next time. Give the ball to Dwyane Wade. – MH

We’ve stated our cases as to who is right and who is wrong.

What say you?

Three For All: New Jersey Nets II

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the New Jersey Nets, who played three straight from Feb. 18-20.

This hasn’t been the best season for the Nets. In a season full of injuries, they’ve been perhaps the most afflicted, suiting up the minimum eight healthy bodies for several games. They put up only 2 points in their first three for all challenge, and that is mainly because they got to play one of the only teams worse than they are. Playing this threeplay would be just leading lambs to the slaughter, right?

Game 1: Nets 97, Bulls 85 - Say what? Yeah that’s right. The Nets, behind 29 points from Deron Williams and a huge 24 and 18 rebounds from the guy you love to hate, Kris Humphries, came into the United Center and put it on the Bulls, jumping out to a 34-19 lead after one and never looking back. The Bulls were without Derrick Rose, but still — they’d only lost one home game all season before this spanking. Didn’t see this one coming. 3 points (1 for win, 1 for road, 1 for +10 margin)

Game 2: Bucks 92, Nets 85 - Naturally, after the road win in Chicago, the Nets returned to New Jersey and promptly lost to the Bucks, despite the season debut for center Brook Lopez (nine points and two rebounds in 12 minutes) Game ball goes to Bucks F Ersan Ilyasova, who had perhaps the most surprising stat line of the season with 29 points and 25 rebounds — and fouled out as well! -1 point

Game 3: Nets 100, Knicks 92 - Oh sure, the Nets go right into Madison Square Garden, overcome Linsanity and the return of Carmelo Anthony to drop the Knicks, who had only won eight of their last nine coming in. Makes perfect sense. I gotta say, people were dogging on D-Will for getting an All-Star nod, but let’s not forget how freakin’ talented this dude is. A career-high eight 3-pointers and a season-best 38 points stole the show in this one. 6 points (5 for win, 1 for road)

No question about it, this is the surprise result of the season in the three for all. 8 points for the Nets, impressive regardless but especially so considering who they beat. Tip o’ the cap.

Up next: The New Orleans Hornets play three straight Feb. 20-22.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Three For All: Miami Heat

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Miami Heat, who played three straight from Feb. 12-14.

Back on January 12, the Chicago Bulls put up a three for all number I wasn’t sure would be beaten this season, as they attained the highest possible score they could with three victories by 10+ points. At the time, I said this:

The only way they can be topped from here on out is if a team plays two road games and wins all three by double figures, so, yeah, good luck beating Chicago.

Challenged extended? Challenge accepted by the Miami Heat, who took to the road for all three legs of their back-to-back-to-back.

Game 1: Heat 107, Hawks 87 - Once again we see the key to a good start in the three-play: play Atlanta get up early in Game 1 so you can save your strength. The Heat ran out to a 30-18 lead at the end of the first period, led by 22 at the half, and cruised the rest of the way. Dwyane Wade didn’t even play half the game — and still put up 21 points. 3 points (1 for the win, 1 for +10 margin, 1 for road)

Game 2: Heat 114, Bucks 96 - Revenge! This one was a little personal for the Heat, who somehow managed to lose both prior games to the Bucks despite Milwaukee being under .500 and currently on the outside of the playoff chase. LeBron James made sure there was no sweep, dropping 35 and eight in another game that was pretty much over by the fourth quarter. 5 points (3 for the win, 1 for +10 margin, 1 for road)

Game 3: Heat 105, Pacers 90 - Indiana, what gives? Two nights rest for the Pacers going into this game (a rare sight in this condensed season), and although Danny Granger did exit this one early (a tough blow for Indy, which started its own three-play on this night), they were already down 16 at the time. LeBron drops 23-9-7, and Norris Cole continued an excellent rookie season with 20 off the bench. 7 points (5 for the win, 1 for +10 margin, 1 for road)

So, yeah. You wanted to see what perfection looked like, this was perfection. Not only did the Heat play all three games on the road (only the Pistons had to play three road games for their triple, and they lost all of them for a season-worst -3 points), but they won all three by +10 and were so dominant I’m surprised they didn’t petition the league to go ahead and play again tonight. Seriously, check out Wade’s minutes and points totals from the three games:

– 23:56 and 21 against Atlanta
— 28:00 and 22 against Milwaukee
— 24:06 and 16 against Indiana

When you only need one of the five best players in the world for half a game and you win, you know you have things cooking. 15 total points for Miami, the highest possible amount possible available this season, and a sincere tip o’ the cap from All Ball on a job well done. 

Up next: The Utah Jazz also played three straight Feb. 12-14.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)
Orlando Magic (5 points)

Full Three for all standings

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