[Thanks to Stanley for today's game preview -yfbb]
Hello Blogabull. I was one of several Blogabullers at last night's game to witness the team's collapse and Jimmy's fall in person. What started as a fun night turned sour, then got fun again, and then turned sour again. One thing that may or may not have been captured on the TV broadcast was how many of the Bulls fans in the arena (maybe about 40% of the total attendance) gave Jimmy a standing ovation as he got up and waddled to the free throw line before leaving the game all together. I'm sure if I was watching on TV, seeing a clearly injured Jimmy delaying his medical treatment to shoot two comparatively pointless free-throws would have pissed me off. But in person, it was quite the moment seeing a roaring sea of red rise to applaud Jimmy not just for shooting his free throws, but for his efforts in that game and throughout the season in carrying the team night after night.
With Jimmy's status now uncertain, the Bulls might not be doing a whole lot of winning in the coming days/weeks. Since the basketball might be bad, I figured we would need new reasons to watch each and every game. One such reason to tune in would be to see if the Bulls can continue any noteworthy "streaks" (everyone loves a good streak!!)--and now that Jimmy's quest for 82 games (the bet) is kaput, I figured I would cull through the ol' statbooks to find out what other streaks the Bulls will look to extend going into tonight's game.
Streak #1: Aaron Brooks Has Missed a 3 in 11 Consecutive Games
This is a fun one! Gather your children around the telly and have them be on the lookout for that lil' pipsqueak Aaron and his streaky shot. The best part is, if Aaron makes the three, it's good for the Bulls. But if he misses, that's one more game of streaky goodness for the whole family!
Streak #2: Doug McDermott Has 17 Consecutive Games With At Least One Rebound
Who said Dougie couldn't hit the boards! Look out Drummond, there's a new king of the glass. And his name is "Doug McDermott Over the Last 17 Games"
Streak #3: Bobby Portis Has Not shot Over 50% From the Field in His Last 18 games
Uh oh Bobby! Looks like you haven't been that successful shooting ever since that Knicks game. But don't worry! Everyone else on the Bulls is dead so you'll get lots of minutes no matter what!
Kind-of-streak #4: The Bulls are 11-1 this year when Kirk Hinrich makes 1 or 2 threes in a game
That's right, the Bulls are basically unbeatable when Kirk hits one or two threes! And if you think the Bulls would be EVEN BETTER when Kirk makes more than two threes.....well then you'd be wrong. They are 0-2 when that happens. Obviously the Bulls want Kirk to be effective, but if he's taking enough shots that he ends up with 3 made threes, something bad is obviously happening somewhere else on the court.
That brings me to tonight's game. The Wolves have a streak of their own Karl-Anthony Towns has double doubles in his last 6 games. That is especially troubling given the lack of athleticism and healthy bodies along the Bulls front line. However, don't fret the Wolves too much. They are 4-19 in their last 23 games. Yes they did beat the Bulls back in November, but Wiggins was 4-5 from three in that game and he's only shooting around 25% from there on the season. Plus, some guy named Nemanja Bjelica went off for 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists in that game (all are season highs for Bjelica). If there is something from that game back in Novmeber that should stand out to you, it's that the Bulls blew a fourth quarter lead and lost (sound familiar?). In the last 6 minutes of regulation, plus overtime, against the Wolves, the Bulls were outscored 19-4. That's right, the Bulls only scored 4 points in the last 11-plus minutes of the game.
Clearly the sucking towards the end of games thing is becoming a trend. In fact, I propose we officially replace the turd quarter idea with the concept of the tourth quarter. This season, the Bulls are actually fourth in the NBA in point differential in third quarters, behind only Golden State, OKC, and the Spurs. Meanwhile, they are 25th!! in the NBA in point differential in fourth quarters, at -1.5. For the record, the Bulls were +1.4 in fourth quarters last year, lending some credence to the idea that the Thibs team was possibly "more clutch."
That being said, with the return of Dun Dun (he's questionable), I think the Bulls can pull this out. Remember, we were 9-10 without Dun last year before he returned in February and we went on a run the rest of the season. This year, we are 5-10 in our last 15 leading into Dunleavy's February return. Hopefully the Bulls can similarly begin to play better until we lose to Lebron in the playoffs.
WAIT A MINUTE. HOLD EVERYTHING. I just found out Andre Miller is on the T-Wolves. Welp, he's going to get matched up with Brooks somehow, score a season high 15 points, and we will lose by 12. It's all over. Thanks for tuning in.