Folks, never doubt the #TNTBulls.
While I don’t have high hopes for the season, I fully expected the Bulls to beat the Celtics on Thursday night, because they always win these damn TNT home games and because Boston was on the second night of a back-to-back.
Sure enough, the Bulls, despite not playing particularly well, pulled out a 105-99 victory, with some Dwyane Wade heroics to cap everything off. Right as it looked like the Bulls may blow a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, Wade buried his fourth (LOL) triple of the night on a broken play after Jimmy Butler fumbled the ball in the paint:
Right out of the playbook, Wade metaphorically slits their throats with the dagger 3 pic.twitter.com/vAoRi1Y76T— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) October 28, 2016
The three-pointers were a big story all night, just as we expected. Wade, Butler and Rajon Rondo all hit threes in the first quarter as the Bulls ran out to an early 15-point advantage, and they finished 11-of-25 from long range. Wade and Butler both went 4-of-6 from distance, and Wade’s throat slash after his dagger was definitely to all the haterz out there.
That three bailed out some truly ugly offense in the fourth quarter. The Bulls took a 14 point lead in the fourth on the back of some nice plays by Michael Carter-Williams (HE even hit a three), but Isaiah Thomas’ microwave scoring got the Celtics back in it. The Bulls closed with a group of Rondo/Wade/Butler/Mirotic/Gibson, and it was mostly stagnant offense, although Gibson saved them with a few huge buckets. Taj was superb all game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Bulls’ offense on the whole wasn’t all that effective, as they shot just 39 percent from the field. But along with the threes, the Bulls absolutely dominated the glass, snatching 18 offensive rebounds and turning those into 18 second chance points. The Bulls also made 22 free throws to just 15 for the Celtics (Thomas uncharacteristically bricked several), and these factors proved to be huge as the Celtics managed 50 percent from the field against a so-so Bulls defense that had its share of breakdowns.
Butler led the Bulls with 24 points, although he shot just 6-of-17 and had some questionable jumpers down the stretch. Wade had 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting, and he did some nice things as a facilitator. Along with Gibson, Nikola Mirotic was the other Bull in double figures with 15, and he did it while shooting poorly from three. He had a few nice drives and finishes, although he had his share of patented boneheaded moments as well.
If we want to look at negatives, I thought Rondo was pretty awful outside of his first stint. He did rack up nine assists, but most of those were early and he shot 1-of-9 from the field. He often ground the offense to a halt, and there were several instances of his assist-hunting that were maddening.
Also, Doug McDermott was simply dreadful. 22 minutes of basically nothing outside of one nice drive and score and a jumper. His defense was pitiful and the Celtics made sure to go at him. It’s not surprising that an athletic team like the Celtics was able to take advantage of him, but it’s still disappointing.
All in all, this is a nice way to start the season against a good team. It certainly was a bit weird, but this Bulls team is weird and will stay weird. There were some goofy lineups Fred tried out, and Wade/Butler combining for eight threes is something the Bulls can’t count on. But a win’s a win.
All hail the #TNTBulls.