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All hail Jimmy Butler! (and other Bulls/Hornets takeaways)

Jimmy Butler dropped 52 on the Hornets and carried Chicago to victory

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With Dwyane Wade out due to a knee injury and Rajon Rondo still benched, Jimmy Butler was one of the only “3 Alphas” on the court against the Charlotte Hornets. When the final buzzer sounded, Jimmy Butler put up an astonishing 52 points on 15 of 24 shooting (21/22 on free throws), along with 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Butler was everywhere, keeping Chicago in the game for much of it and then helped them pull away in the 4th quarter when the Bulls outscored the Hornets 36-26.

Butler made all the tough shots down the stretch, helped by running the pick and roll with Michael Carter-Williams.

MCW is now the starting point guard for the Bulls, and thankfully is solid enough defensively to play deep into the 4th quarter. Fred Hoiberg went with the backcourt duo of Butler and MCW at the end of the game and used it in a 2-1 pick and roll.

That helped free up space for Butler to operate and score some clutch baskets to keep the Hornets at bay:

On this possession, MCW went to go set a screen to try and get a switch to have Butler matched up against Kemba Walker, someone smaller who Butler can certainly go 1 on 1 more easily than Nic Batum. But Butler instead faked his way towards the screen and Batum bit on the fake and took a step to his left. That was all Jimmy needed to find a driving lane to the basket and finish around Spencer Hawes.

The Bulls also used the 2-1 PNR when Butler hit the dagger jumpshot:

This time, MCW actually tried to set the screen but didn’t actually make a whole lot of contact. It allowed the Hornets to be able to not switch on the screen and have Batum on Butler the whole time. But Carter-Williams attempt at the screen halted Batum just enough to give Butler time to do his trademark crossover + pull up jumper and he was nothing but net.

Young guy lineup + Jimmy seems to be working

The Rondo benching along with Wade’s absence opened some new minutes and the question surrounding that was who would take them. Carter-Williams had a decent game and nearly had a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. And Denzel Valentine was inserted by Hoiberg early in the first half and rewarded his coach for his faith. He hit three 3-pointers (all in the first half) and looked super comfortable in transition.

Another positive lineup consisted of Jimmy running the point with many of the guys that was featured in the Summer League. This should be a lineup that Fred Hoiberg needs to experiment with more, particularly with point-Jimmy because he’s pretty good at it.

McDermott post ups??!!??

Along with the young guys lineup, we saw Doug McDermott go back to his Creighton days when he started posting up Jeremy Lamb. McDermott is 3 inches taller than Lamb and used all of that to his advantage. Although he didn’t hit a three-point shot in his 11-point effort, it was good to see McDermott taking advantage of his matchup.

He used a good spin move to get away from Lamb after sizing him up and beating him to his right side. Stacey King wasn’t wrong when he said at the end of the video that play needs to be in the playbook. Doug tried it again, and did the same move, but missed the shot. However, it was good to see Chicago confident enough in Doug to go back to him again.