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Dwyane Wade comes alive in the 4th (and other Bulls/Pelicans takeaways)

The Bulls dominated on the glass and got a great performance by D-Wade and a returning Jimmy Butler,

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

After their disastrous performance in New York, the Chicago Bulls got a huge piece back in Jimmy Butler and were able to beat the New Orleans Pelicans in one of those rare but becoming more common Saturday afternoon games. But this time Butler got some help offensively in the 107-99 win. It came from his backcourt mate Dwyane Wade, who scored 22 points including 17 of Chicago’s 30 points in the 4th quarter. After a flurry of Butler-led 4th quarters, it was nice to see someone take the pressure off of him just a little, especially considering that Butler was just coming off the flu.

Wade is the second most important cog in this Bulls team and if he can’t get things going, it’s easier for defenses to pack the paint and not close out knowing that Wade’s shot isn’t going down that night. But this game against the Pelicans wasn’t that. Well it was until the 4th quarter. Overall, Wade’s game stats wise doesn’t show how good he finished the game. He shot 9 of 24 from the field and made only 1 of 4 3-point attempts. But he rose up in the final quarter and helped Chicago stave off a pesky Pelicans team.

Most of Wade’s points came through him running the PNR with Cristiano Felicio, adding to the aura of the unique duo. The goal of this play was to get Wade in a mismatch against Pelicans bigs, who couldn’t stay in front of him. With E’Twaun Moore and Jrue Holiday guarding Wade for most of the game, it was a smart move to get Wade in a matchup where he can attack a slower man.

In the above video, with Felicio being guarded against Donatas Motiejunas, Chicago were able to get Wade in a PNR situation where he was running downhill towards the big man. This forced Motiejunas to backtrack and give Wade more space to operate in the paint. Wade then simply took a simple crossover and then was able to convert for the easy floater right in front of the basket.

The simple action of Felicio going up to Wade to set a screen caused chaos for the Pelicans. There were times where Wade went the other way of the screen that Felicio set and he still was able to find a decent shot. The 4th quarter was simply a matchup nightmare for New Orleans when Wade had the ball.

With Jimmy Butler just returning from injury, Chicago needed some more offensive firepower from everyone else in order for them not to blow this game. Thankfully for them, D-Wade stepped up with a fantastic performance.

Bulls clean the glass

The Bulls out rebounded their opponents 63-42 and showed once again why they are the top rebounding team in the league. Chicago was great on the offensive glass as well, grabbing 21 second chances for an offensive rebounding percentage of nearly 38%. That certainly played into how many shots they were able to get up in this game.

Taj Gibson put on a monster effort, grabbing 16 rebounds. Robin Lopez pitched in 10, Felicio had 7 and even Doug McDermott got into the act getting 7 of his own. With Chicago constantly struggling to find offense without Butler creating, getting offensive rebounds has been key to them. And defensively, the boards are a means to get into transition.

Taj Gibson shooting threes now?

Despite missing both of his three-point attempts, it’s a good sign to see Taj Gibson shooting threes. It’s been something that Thibs had wanted him to add to his game (the story was he said wasn’t comfortable with it) but it’s nice for him to try and come around to it.

For a Chicago team that is desperate for outside shooting, Gibson could be another guy who can spread the floor and stretch out defenses. Sort of like how Serge Ibaka started doing it with the Thunder. A guy who was known more for his post game/rebounding and suddenly became a guy who can knock down some threes. This certainly adds to his value as a player, especially if he can start consistently shoot it. Just wish he had done this earlier in his career.