The Bulls went into Memphis short-handed Sunday night and arguably left with their best win of the season on the second night of a back-to-back.
(That being said, they’re still very much a big pile of “meh.”)
In game where the Bulls were resting Dwyane Wade and Nikola Mirotic was out as he continues to battle sickness, key role players took the opportunity to step when they were desperately needed.
Butler deserves MVP votes
What more can you say about this guy this season?
Through most of the game Butler was pretty quiet as Tony Allen kept him under wraps, but when the Bulls needed him down the stretch, there he was, AGAIN. With under a minute left Butler hit two clutch jumpers, followed by outstanding defense on Mike Conley forcing him into a bad shot which sealed the game.
But then with the game in hand up four with 6.6 seconds left, he dives on the floor for the steal and then calls timeout.
Jimmy Butler diving on the floor. pic.twitter.com/S897VjCc5J— ⓂarcusD2.0 (@_MarcusD2_) January 16, 2017
What else can you ask of your franchise player? Butler won’t win the MVP this year, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t receive any votes. That play was the epitome of Jimmy Butler.
Michael Carter-Williams’ best game of the year
After suffering two separate injuries that kept him out for the first two months of the season, MCW had his best game thus far. He was aggressive and decisive offensively, attacking the basket with assertiveness and finishing tough through traffic. While he only had three assists on the night, his overall decision-making was good, as evident by his pass to Taj Gibson for a dunk on a critical late game possession.
Finishing with 14 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists, MCW played very good complementary role to Jimmy Butler and company tonight.
The game McDermott desperately needed
There isn’t one player on the Bulls roster that needed a game like tonight more than Doug McDermott. Struggling through a three game slide, in addition to what appeared to be a diminishing confidence, McDermott was stellar in his career night, which was obviously critical to the Bulls victory. McDermott was particularly amazing to watch in the first half, scoring 23 points, 20 coming in the second quarter alone, and 14 straight.
What was great to watch about Doug’s scoring streak was that his points came in a variety of ways, not just catch and shoot opportunities from three. The second unit, particularly Rajon Rondo, made a concerted effort to free him open away from the ball and put him in scoring situations.
McDermott ended the night with a career high 31 points on 9-16 shooting from the field. And, what feels like the first time in his career we saw McDermott being used offensively the way he should be used.
Hoiberg on McDermott: "He showed how versatile of a scorer he is, not only hitting 3s but getting to the line 11 times and scoring in post."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 16, 2017
Now, finding consistency in this moving forward on both ends of the equation is the big question.