2011 Archives http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/table/2011-articles/ Tue, 23 May 2017 03:05:08 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Chicago Bulls (2-1, 2-1 away) @ Los Angeles Clippers (1-1, 0-0 home) http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/december/chicago-bulls-2-1-2-1-away-los-angeles-clippers-1-1-0-0-home.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/december/chicago-bulls-2-1-2-1-away-los-angeles-clippers-1-1-0-0-home.html A few people had picked the Clippers to win the West this year. While I think they are a better team than last year, I still think they are a ways away from that. I’m thinking they will win one playoff series and then be eliminated prior to the Conference finals. I think that should be their goal this season. Trading for the second best point guard in the league is very exciting for Clippers fans, and Chris Paul figures to make the human highlight reel Blake Griffin that much better. They will win plenty of basketball games this year. That being said, after blowing out Golden State on opening night (a team that beat up on us), they got destroyed by San Antonio in their second game of the season, 115-90. Clearly, they have some work to do.

However, so do the Bulls. They have not looked themselves this year, despite winning 2 out of their first 3. The defense has really struggled in the past 2 games and it must be driving Thibs crazy. He is a great coach and I have no doubt that we will get this figured out, but I would prefer it be sooner rather than later, because Miami looks really strong and we need every advantage we could get against them (home court advantage.) I wonder how much of the slow start is due to the lockout and short training camp. You always hear in sports that it takes the offense longer to figure things out than the defense, but right now our defense has plenty to figure out.

Stat of the Day:

Derrick Rose averaged 33.0 points and 9.5 assists against the Clippers last season.

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 18.0 PPG

G – Rip Hamilton, 10.7 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 18.3 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 12.3 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 7.3 PPG

Probable Los Angeles Starters:

G – Chris Paul, 15.0 PPG

G – Chauncey Billups, 16.0 PPG

F – Caron Butler, 11.5 PPG

F – Blake Griffin, 25.0 PPG

C – DeAndre Jordan, 7.0 PPG


Current Line: Chicago (-1), Over/Under 191

The Bulls haven’t looked themselves yet and are playing the back end of a back-to-back and their fourth west coast game in a row. The Clippers are well rested and playing their home opener. The Bulls are the better team but the Clippers get this one.

Clippers 102 Bulls 96

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) December Fri, 30 Dec 2011 18:21:54 +0000
2011 Chicago Bulls: Welcome back http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/january/2011-chicago-bulls-welcome-back.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/january/2011-chicago-bulls-welcome-back.html The lockout is over and training camp has officially started as players returned to the Berto Center for the first practice of the year. The free agent frenzy that has taken over the NBA in the past 48 hours has not hit Chicago yet, and no one should panic.

Chicago has been active in talks with players who ultimately chose to go to situations with more money offered to them.  That is no fault of Gar Forman, he refuses to overpay for players unlike the rest of the NBA. This was one of the major causes leading to the lockout, as role players got paid like good players and good players as great players teams will continue to have problems financially.

The Bulls will eventually add a starting shooting guard to the mix on their terms. The latest reports have Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton being bought out and it is believed that both parties have heavy interests in each other. Hamilton would be an upgrade to the Bulls shooting guard woes, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to make it to the NBA finals.

While other teams are adding pricey free agents to improve their teams, the Bulls may not have to go down that path. The Bulls have plenty of other positives going their way. While it will be hard to repeat as the MVP of the league this year, Derrick Rose should continue to grow as a basketball player, and that is just scary. Tom Thibodeau with a year of experience running a team, should have a better understand of handling a season, and his players. Omer Asik was a virtual unknown to most fans at the start of training camp last year, look for him to continue to improve during his second season. While the Bulls as a whole had great team chemistry last year, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer never seemed to be comfortable on the court together, both having injuries throughout the season led to this, hopefully spending time on the court together during practice and early on in the season will lead cohesion from the two come playoff time.

This team has room to grow on its own that is why ruining the financial flexibility for a bigger name at shooting guard is not that correct move at this time, and the future of this team is bright.

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mark Skiba) January Sun, 11 Dec 2011 04:02:06 +0000
The Rise of Jimmy Butler http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/the-rise-of-jimmy-butler.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/the-rise-of-jimmy-butler.html In his senior year of high school in Tomball, Texas, Jimmy Butler was ranked 37th.

Not in the country.  Not at his position.  The 37th best basketball player in Texas. 

Today, he’s the 30th player taken in the NBA draft. 

Butler came to Marquette as the first recruited player by new Head Coach Buzz Williams.  Williams had developed a relationship with Butler when he was recruiting his Tyler Junior College teammate Joseph Fulce. 

As a sophomore at Marquette, Butler was the sixth man, playing behind future NBA players Wes Matthews, Lazar Hayward and Jerel McNeal.  Butler’s versatility helped him gain minutes, as he could play on the wing or inside.  More importantly, he gained minutes by his tenacity on the defensive end. 

Offensively, Butler was a work in process.  His jumper wasn’t very good, and he knew it, so he never shot the ball.  He would frequently pass up open jumpers, and would rather slash to the rim, with or without the ball.

Butler averaged 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 51% from the field and 77% from the line.  Of Butler’s 196 points that season, 194 of them came from inside the paint or at the free throw line.

Entering his junior year, Butler improved his mid-range game, as the second option for the Golden Eagles, following the departure of Matthews, McNeal and Dominic James.  Marquette would play small, often featuring a lineup of the 6’6’’ Hayward at the 5 spot, and Butler at the 4 and three smaller guards.  Butler could rebound well enough, defend well enough and score when Williams stressed “paint touches.” 

Butler became the go-to-guy down the stretch for MU, as he hit two game winners on the road in the Big East.  The first came in Storrs, vs. UCONN.  With 3.6 seconds left, Butler created his own shot, a fade away in the corner, which clinched a win for the Golden Eagles, who were on the NCAA tournament bubble.  Two weeks later, the Butler did it again, making the #1 play on SportsCenter’s top 10, as he lost the ball mid-air, gathered, spun and swished a jumper at Rutgers. 

He finished second in the Big East for most improved player, with averages of 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 53% from the field and 77% from the line. 

Going into his senior season, he was the guy.  He had to grow up quick, become the captain and the senior leader that the team needed.  Growing up quick was never a problem for the 20 year-old senior. 

As you might have heard, Jimmy Butler went public with his story of being homeless at age 13.  His mother kicked him out of the house, and he floated around his friends’ homes until he found a stable home.  The Leslie family brought him in at 17, right as he was finishing high school.

Butler’s senior night, he invited his new family to Milwaukee.  Few at MU knew the story of Jimmy Butler, and he didn’t want it to be known.  He asked several media outlets not to write the story for people to feel sorry for him, as his story has shaped who he is today.

Butler ended his senior year with averages of 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds while learning to shoot from three (34.5%) and getting to the line 7 times per game.  His 30 point game vs. Cincinnati at home was his career high.  He twice shut down Kemba Walker, twice shut down Marshon Brooks, shut down Ben Hansbrough, all while carrying the load offensively for MU. 

K.C. Johnson had a tweet after the Bulls drafted Butler – “I don’t know how good of an NBA player he’s going to be.”  Everyone around him knows how good he's going to be.  No, he won't be a superstar.  He probably won't even be Wes Matthews, but would you bet against him, considering what he's been through?

For those that know his story, and his work ethic, he’s ready for the NBA.  This is just another challenge that Butler is more than willing to conquer. 

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) June Fri, 24 Jun 2011 16:42:13 +0000
Why nobody likes the NBA http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/why-nobody-likes-the-nba.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/why-nobody-likes-the-nba.html
1. Dancing - It's everywhere.  LeBron James dancing on the sideline, dancing after he makes a shot, dancing on stage with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on their introduction to Miami.  It's nuts.  It's not cool, you look like an asshole.   And don't use some bullshit that "they can do whatever they want, because they're that good."  No they can't.  They still look like assholes.  And if you like it, Dancing with the Stars - ABC at 8 ET.  Even Michelle Obama thinks dancing is part of the goddamn sport!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI3y9jH8FXY

2. LeBron James - See above.  Whine some more, Baby Bron Bron.  Find one Miami Heat foul that he didn't bitch about.  

3. Officiating - The referees single handedly are altering the series.  The game is NOT called the same for every player.  The fact that you can say "(Insert Superstar) has earned those calls over the years," is a joke.  The game should be called fair for both teams.  It clearly hasn't been in the Bulls Heat series.  Noah's charge on Haslem, Boozer's finishes inside, Derrick not getting calls at the rim (BUT HE'S THE MVP, ISN'T HE SUPPOSED TO GET CALLS?)  Over and over, the Bulls had to play five on nine - Heat plus the refs and Stern.

4. David Stern - He's Vince McMahon Jr.  Honestly, he controls every game.  I know sports are a business, and for me even to think that's not true is my fault.  I shouldn't be that naive and neither should you.  The NBA has put Good vs. Evil in this playoffs.  The Bulls are everything that is great about sports.  Humble players, leaders on and off the court, as well as a great coach.  The Evil are the Heat, the team that came together to win 7 championships.  Game 1 got 11.5 million viewers.  Games 2, 3 and 4 got similar numbers.  The longer you keep the Heat in the series and in the playoffs, the longer people are going to watch and be interested.  So keep the game within the Heat's reach and you're in good shape.  Game 2's second quarter, and all of game 4 were so incredibly one-sided.


Shaq, I couldn't have said it better myself.

What David Stern doesn't realize is that his ass is going to lose a LOT of fans after this playoffs.  The NBA was back, and he took control.  Now look at it?  A lot of people are going to go back to watching other things, like Dancing with the Stars.  Just as fixed, same story lines.  I hope they lock out next year just so he can't get his greedy fucking hands on any of his money.  What a fool.

5. LeBron James - Who really refers to themselves as the King?  "What should I do?"  I think you should go fuck yourself, LeBron.

6. Money

7. Greed

Feel free to add in the comments.

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) May Wed, 25 May 2011 03:51:58 +0000
2011 Second Round NBA Playoffs – #5 Atlanta Hawks vs. #1 Chicago Bulls http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/april/2011-second-round-nba-playoffs-5-atlanta-hawks-vs-1-chicago-bulls.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/april/2011-second-round-nba-playoffs-5-atlanta-hawks-vs-1-chicago-bulls.html This post is meant to preview the entire series. It will be slightly different than the game preview threads that you see from me frequently on HTTH. You will see those threads for the postseason too, but this one is meant more to look at the entire series.

Regular Season Matchups

3/2/2011 – Bulls 80 Hawks 83 (Horford ATL 32 pts, 16 reb)

3/11/2011- Hawks 76 Bulls 94 (Rose CHI 34 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast)

3/22/2011 – Bulls 114 Hawks 81 (Rose 30 pts, 10 ast)

Chicago Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Derrick Rose (25.0 PPG, .445 FG%, 2026 PTS)

Assists: Derrick Rose (7.7 APG, 623 AST)

Rebounds: Joakim Noah (10.4 RPG, 498 REB)

Blocks: Joakim Noah (1.50 BLKPG, 72 BLK)

Steals: Ronnie Brewer (1.31 STLPG, 106 STL)

Atlanta Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Joe Johnson (18.2 PPG, .443 FG%, 1312 PTS)

Assists: Joe Johnson (4.7 APG, 338 AST)

Rebounds: Al Horford (9.3 RPG, 718 REB)

Blocks: Josh Smith (1.56 BLKPG, 120 BLK)

Steals: Josh Smith (1.29 STLPG, 99 STL)

2011 Team Stats

PPG: Bulls 98.6, Hawks 95.0

RPG: Bulls 44.2, Hawks 39.3

APG: Bulls 22.3, Hawks 22.0

FG%: Bulls .462, Hawks .462

FT%: Bulls .743, Hawks .779

3PT%: Bulls .361, Hawks .352


Current Line (Series) – Chicago -850, Atlanta +575

We’ll get a lot more into talking about this series in the individual game preview threads. I think Marco and some of our readers may think higher of Atlanta than I do, but I’m very confident heading in to this series. I liked the matchup before Kirk Hinrich went down last night. Now, with him being doubtful with a hamstring, I like it even more. I don’t think the Hawks have any prayer of slowing down Derrick. Who is going to guard him if Kirk can’t go? Jamal Crawford? Joe Johnson? Teague? I bet Derrick is licking his lips there. He should take less of a pounding in this series too. I could see Pachulia getting a few flagrants, but that should be it. I don’t think they will have 3 guys beating on him like Indiana did.

Offensively, I think Horford can hurt us, but he’s the only player on the team that really scares me. From what I have seen of Atlanta this season, they are a team that takes a lot of bad shots. That plays right into the Bulls hands with their strong perimeter defense. We know all about Jamal Crawford. He’s coming off a good offensive series against Orlando, but he’s a chucker. Their offense isn’t overly complicated: lots of drives and kicks and lots of high pick and rolls. “Iso” Joe Johnson is a skilled offensive player, but I have a hard time seeing him going off against our defenders. The Bulls don’t even have to play great for this to be an easy series. Play like you did in Game 5 against Indiana and I think we’re fine.

Bulls win the series 4 games to 1.

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) April Sat, 30 Apr 2011 02:15:45 +0000
When Noah Returns http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/february/when-noah-returns.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/february/when-noah-returns.html
Who's been the key to this 21-8 start? 

Everyone is quick to give the credit to Kurt Thomas, but how good has Thomas really been?  Statistically, he's been slightly better than Keith Bogans, posting a 10.68 PER.  Slightly better than Bogans isn't very good, nor is a 10.68 PER, but he's been serviceable.  If we look at the games the Bulls have lost in this 29-game stretch, you'll see that they could have used some production out of the center position.  I don't think you play Kurt more than 5-10 minutes when Noah returns.  
marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) February Thu, 17 Feb 2011 03:00:02 +0000
Chicago Bulls (1-0, 1-0 away) @ Golden State Warriors (0-1, 0-1 home) http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/december/chicago-bulls-1-0-1-0-away-golden-state-warriors-0-1-0-1-home.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/december/chicago-bulls-1-0-1-0-away-golden-state-warriors-0-1-0-1-home.html Stat of the Day:

Mike is currently beating Marco 7-0 in fantasy basketball

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 22.0 PPG

G – Rip Hamilton, 6.0 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 21.0 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 15.0 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 6.0 PPG

Probable Golden State Starters:

G – Stephen Curry, 4.0 PPG

G – Monta Ellis, 15.0 PPG

F – Dorell Wright, 8.0 PPG

F – David Lee, 21.0 PPG

C – Andris Biedrins, 10.0 PPG


Current Line: Chicago (-6.5), Over/Under 191.5

Golden State didn’t look very impressive last night at home against the Clippers. Stephen Curry really struggled (2-for-12, 4 points). Monta Ellis wasn’t a whole lot better missing 13 shots and turning the ball over 4 times. The Bulls weren’t too impressive themselves yesterday. After catching fire at the 2nd of the first half, there appeared to be a lid on the hoop for the majority of the second half. They’re late comeback was exciting, but it was generated by the defense. With such a short preseason I think you have to expect some ugly games around the league early in the season. I would think the Bulls will shoot the ball better tonight. It will also be interesting to see how Thibs handles the “Bench Mob” tonight. Last year it seemed like he left Deng out there to play with 4 reserves a lot last year. I think it’s important that one of our scorers stays out there and plays with the bench to generate some offense. Also, I hope to see Jimmy Butler get some minutes tonight in the back end of a back-to-back. Give me the Bulls tonight, riding a high after yesterday’s comeback.

Bulls 100 Warriors 90

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) December Mon, 26 Dec 2011 21:24:56 +0000
UPDATED Bulls Rumors - NBA Draft Eve http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/bulls-rumors-nba-draft-eve.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/june/bulls-rumors-nba-draft-eve.html
Things are quiet because the Bulls really aren't in a position to do much.  They want to keep the core together, which is smart.  They don't need to make a splash, since they just won 62 games.  But, the Bulls can make themselves better on draft night.

8:06 AM 6/23/2011

Did the Bulls kick the tires on Lamar Odom?

A recent conversation between the Warriors and Lakers centered around Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown going to Golden State for Ellis, but those talks went nowhere, sources said. The Bulls would become involved if they were willing to part with Joakim Noah, and Chicago executives have consistently balked at including him in trade talks for the past year -- mostly due to the base-year compensation factor in the five-year, $60 million extension he signed last year. CBSSports.com

I don't think the Bulls are foolish enough to part with Noah for Odom.  Where would Odom fit on this roster? 

But I do like any talk that surrounds Shannon Brown.  I talked a lot about him last year, and thought the Bulls should give him a look at the end of FA.  He's developed into a really good shooter, plays solid defense and has good ball handling skills.  He's a free


6:50 CT 6/22/2011

Bulls Trying to Move Up?

Alex Kennedy: The Chicago Bulls are trying to package their two first-round picks - #28 and #30 - to move up. They're talking to a few teams in the teens. Twitter



Vinsanity in play for Bulls?

The Suns have long been expected to buy out Vince Carter's $18.3 million final season for $4 million. Which could give Carter the chance to answer the question of whether he ever really wanted to try to be a winner. Or just score points. The Bulls will be one of the teams likely interested in Carter if he is bought out — similarly with Richard Hamilton, who is less likely to be bought out because he has two years left on his contract. The Bulls will be over the salary cap, so they cannot offer Carter more than a minimum deal.Currently, there is a mid level exception, which most don't expect to survive the new collective bargaining agreement. So would Carter come to the Bulls for a minimum when he can make much more, though with a lesser team? The advantage the Bulls have is they can offer a starting job. Of course, Dallas likely could, as well, on a minimum deal. The Heat could not. NBA.com

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) June Wed, 22 Jun 2011 23:42:33 +0000
Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 – Heat lead series 2-1 http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-4-heat-lead-series-2-1.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-4-heat-lead-series-2-1.html Well, since Carl couldn’t get us a W in Game 3, I’m back. It’s the biggest game of the season so we’re trotting our Ace out there for HTTH. Just kidding. But seriously.

The Bulls are going to win tonight, boys and girls. Usually I let the suspense build before finally revealing my selection at the bottom of the thread. Sometimes I even throw you a bit of a curveball like in Game 2. Not this time. The Bulls win. Joakim plays better, Derrick plays better, we shoot the ball better, and Chris Bosh plays a lot worse.

I’ve got to think the Stern factor will be working for us tonight too. I don’t like to ever blame the officials, and to make it clear I’m not doing that here, but I thought Miami got the majority of the calls in Game 2 and 3. That being said, we still played very poorly, and didn’t deserve to win either game, but I said what I said. Tonight the Bulls are going to get the calls. The Mavs also deserve a big pound and explode from us for the way they came back against Oklahoma City last night. Winning 2 in a row in Oklahoma City means that series is done in 5. There is no way that Stern wants to short series in the Conference Finals, especially when he was a great matchup with the MVP of the league going against the Big 3. We get the calls tonight. That doesn’t mean that we’ll win, but it helps. That being said, we’re not going to win tonight because we’re getting the calls. We’re going to win tonight because we outplay the Miami Heat.

Stat of the Day:

The Bulls haven’t lost 3 games in a row all season

Probable Miami Starters:

G – Mike Bibby, 3.8 PPG

G – D’Wayne Wade, 24.7 PPG

F – Lebron James, 25.2 PPG

F – Chris Bosh, 18.2 PPG

C – Joel Anthony, 3.5 PPG

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 27.6 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 5.1 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 16.6 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 12.6 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 9.1 PPG


Current Line: Miami (-5), Over/Under 179

The Bulls are going to play a lot better tonight. Joakim is going to go for 10 and 15 while using whatever slurs he pleases. Luol Deng is going to score 20. Derrick Rose is going to find his rhythm with a lot of help from his teammates who are going to knock down shots off of his assists. The defense will be a lot better tonight too. Chris Bosh will come down to earth and Miami will have to work for every bucket.

Bulls 92 Heat 85

marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) May Tue, 24 May 2011 19:04:05 +0000
I'm glad we lost http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/april/im-glad-we-lost.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/april/im-glad-we-lost.html
The issues that the Bulls have had in this series have been well documented.  Crappy shooting, turnovers and allowing the Pacers to control the pace.  Those three things should be recipe for disaster.  Instead, the Bulls are ahead 3-1 in the series, with a great chance to wrap it up in Chicago on Tuesday.

By losing, the Bulls hit the proverbial reset button.  I'm not saying the Bulls are using this loss as motivation for Game 5.  I'm not saying that the Bulls players and coaches needed a loss to get them on the right track, either.  It might be a game that refocuses them.  I'd rather refocus up 3-1 in the first round then have the same issues in a series vs. Orlando or Atlanta (I think it's going to be Atlanta.)

Mike Fratello alluded to it today - and he made a great point.  It's a lot easier to gloss over the mistakes because you're winning.  Losing is what causes change.  And that's what the Bulls need.  Watching film of a win can only do so much, because in the back of your mind, you know you ended up winning the game. 

The reason I think the Bulls can win it all is because of the on/off switch they have.  They can turn it on at any point in the game.  Today, they turned it on too late.  And the team knows that.  The comeback should have started at the beginning of the second half.  

I'm not so quick to give the Pacers a ton of credit - they're a pretty good team, and they're controlling the pace.  The reason they have this control is because of the sloppy turnovers the Bulls have made.  They've tried to get too cute with passes inside the paint, which have really hurt them.  Also, when Derrick has been doubled when he crosses half court, nobody on the Bulls is coming to the ball with any urgency.  It's hurting the ball movement, and has led to more difficult passes which aren't being completed.

The Bulls need to get back to doing the things they do best - playing solid defense and taking care of the basketball.  If they do that, we know Derrick is going to make enough plays to get us the win, even if Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng aren't playing at a high level.

With all of these "issues," I reiterate that the Bulls are up 3-1.  They're going to win Game 5 on Tuesday, and make everyone forget about this series.  Cut the turnovers in half, and the Bulls will run away with this game.  

Onward. ]]>
marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) April Sun, 24 Apr 2011 02:55:59 +0000