Mike Dunleavy

With a heavy heart (and a secret sigh of relief) the Bulls 2015-2016 season is officially over after Chicago beat the 76ers at home on Wednesday. I guess it’s better to end on a win, but the Bulls failure to find a lack of urgency was painful to watch this season and it was all too little too late.

Yes you read that right. The Chicago Bulls failed to make the NBA Playoffs for the first time since drafting Derrick Rose. Also, I’d like to note that the Bulls are in the Eastern Conference, which is by far the weaker of the two and they STILL couldn’t seem to drum up enough wins to snag that 8th seed in the playoffs. If I seem bitter, I am. The Bulls 42-40 record on the season hurt my feelings as a fan. I can’t pin-point just one problem that lead to the Bulls’ demise, it was more like a slew of issues that ended up just blowing the season out of proportion.

We’ll start with the injuries that always seem to hamper the Bulls and ruin my dreams of strutting around town in Chicago Bulls NBA championship swag from this decade. First, Joakim Noah went down in January with a season ending shoulder injury. Then Nikola Mirotic had to have an emergency surgery to remove his appendix which kept him off the floor for some weeks. In early February, star Jimmy Butler sustained a knee injury that kept him out of the game for about a month and some seriously crucial games. Not to mention Mike Dunleavy did not return from off-season back surgery until February. For the majority of the season, the Bulls were kind of a band of misfits and rarely had their starting lineup in tact.

Problem number two, coaching. Fred Hoiberg assumed the role of Head Coach in the wake of Tom Thibodeau’s dismissal in 2015. Here’s the thing, I definitely loved me some Thibs basketball. He wasn’t perfect, but he empowered his players to play passionately and effectively. He was a defensive stone-wall and this year was proof that defense matters a whole hell of a lot more than people like to admit. I hate to say it, but Hoiberg came off as a soft pretty-boy this first season behind the reins. Coming into the season Hoiberg was praised for his work at Iowa State and his offensive focus. Well my handsome friend, that sissy stuff may have worked in the farm fields, but it sure didn’t work in the big leagues. Hoiberg’s lack of command seemed most obvious from veteran players who had played under more, we’ll say ‘aggressive’ coaches. Jimmy Butler first stirred the waters when he spoke out after a tough loss that Hoiberg needed to be tougher on the guys. Umm, I agree. Most recently, Pau Gasol spoke out about how difficult this season has been for him. Players took games for granted, lacked a sense of urgency and maturity. Oh, you mean like your head coach playing a dumb and dumber clip when your season is on the line?

Despite the criticism, from haters like myself, Hoiberg has argued that he has a stronger relationship with his players than it seems through the medias eyes. Prove it buddy.

Problem number three, we have Jimmy Butler in his prime and Derrick Rose still tough, but a little washed up, trying to play on the same team. The two “super-stars” never gelled. Which SUCKS because we’ve seen what happens when you get two super-stars to gel, just google some old highlights of MJ and Scottie Pippen.

So what happens when you don’t make the playoffs? The rumor mill begins a churnin’. Some people think the Bulls should blow up the roster and start with fresh young talent. Others question if the team should keep both Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Some people are lobbying to axe Hoiberg and the whole front office. We’ve got a lot of emotional fans on our hands here.

Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol have been the free agent talks of the town this year. After Pau Gasol openly expressed his frustrations with the season, we’re all guessing the dude will opt out of his contract, but now focuses have been shifting to Noah. This season proves more than ever that Noah was the leader of this Bulls team and the player who could look at Butler and Rose and tell them to step it up. Now stories have surfaced that the front office may be looking to sign Noah to a short term deal. The question is, would Noah even want to take it after Hoiberg falsely said Jo-No volunteered to come off the bench earlier this season? The front office also believes Gasol is part of the “core” of the team So who stays and who goes?

My most favorite rumor of late is the Jimmy Butler trade. Butler’s quick rise to stardom and hefty pay raise has led to a bit of an ego issue and preferential treatment. Lets just say Jimmy’s rubbed some teammates the wrong way and some have gone to infer that his attitude is toxic to the locker room.  With his level of play this season, it was clear that Butler was the star of the roster, but leadership is earned and not determined by who gets paid the most (Rose has proven that to us). Jimmy has shown his work ethic is top notch, but he may not yet be mature enough to lead or motivate veteran players. Now, he’s put himself in a predicament as the best player on an extremely dysfunctional team with a very high trade value as one of the most sought after two-way players in the league. If these issues are true, we can’t be surprised if Butler is wheeled and dealed this off season.

When your team doesn’t make the playoffs there are always serious repercussions, especially if you’re the so-called leader of that train wreck of the a team. Put your seat belts on Bulls fans, I’m predicting a wild ride for this off season.

Until next time my friends 🙂

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The Chicago Bulls are helping us get into the holiday spirit with Christmas quickly approaching. The Bulls organization invited 70 members of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra to play a live rendition of the Christmas classic ‘Sleigh Ride’ during a Bulls scrimmage.

As I played this video I had the urge to breakout the old show choir holiday dance moves and start signing “let’s hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling, treat ring-ting-ting-a-lin too.” Any body else feel the same?

Basketball is considered an art form and the producers wanted to juxtapose something never-before-seen for the fans. The end result, viagra a bunch of super huge dudes playing basketball with rather tiny humans surrounding them playing a lovely holiday tune. I’m guessing the producers had a quick chat with the guys before filming started to keep things relatively calm. If Joakim Noah or one of the other seven-footers ran into one of those cellos it would be done for. Not to mention the tiny violinists!

My personal favorite was Mike Dunleavy, still sidelined due to an extended recovery from off-season back surgery, conducting the guys under the hoop. Just a silly little tid-bit.

I’m sure the holidays are a bit different when you’re an NBA star. There’s no such thing as PTO for Christmas and for our Bulls they’re heading to Oklahoma City to take on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and their Thunder squad. They’re also millionaires, so don’t think I’m over here feeling bad for the guys.

In other news, the Bulls are giving us another holiday gift, a four-game winning streak. Umm yes please! Overall the guys are still struggling to find their team identity under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. However, it’s not all bad. When Derrick Rose gives 100% the team is completely different as his speed sets the tone for the game. It’s just kind of hit or miss when he’ll be on his A-game. Sometimes he looks incredible, sometimes he looks lethargic. Jimmy Butler is having a SEASON and generally carries the team towards victory. Most recently, we’ve been blessed with some Doug McDermott three-pointers, let’s build up that boys confidence! And we finally got a glimpse of what could be from rookie Bobby Portis against the 76ers on Monday. They’re not perfect, but they’re improving and at this point that it absolutely fine with me.

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WHAT is going on with the Bulls?

Despite their depth, viagra height advantages and overall talent, the Bulls have lost two bewildering back-to-back games at home (woof).  Monday night’s 103-101 loss to the Suns was extra sour, as the Bulls crumbled in the 4th quarter and gave up a 16 point lead to a team they should have absolutely defeated. It seems as though, the only thing our Bulls can do consistently is be inconsistent. Why oh why, can’t our Bulls figure it out?

No one seems to have any answers. When asked about the Bulls ‘killer instinct’ swingman Jimmy Butler said,

“Hell, I think you either got it or you don’t. Right now we don’t have it.”

It’s been apparent thus far into the season Chicago comes out ready to destroy teams of higher calibers (Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs). When it comes to the less elite opponents, it’s almost like the Bulls just show up and play carelessly. They need to be consistent with their drive to win. So what can the Bulls do to find it?

Derrick Rose sure doesn’t have the answer, “If I could put a finger on it, I wish I could, but I can’t. I don’t have an answer for that.”

Pau Gasol thinks it’s time for a team meeting. I’m 100% with the big guy, communication is obviously an issue out on the court. There was a lot of head shaking and angry looks when players weren’t where they needed to be during Monday’s game.

Gasol told the media, “We got to understand what’s going on. How bad do we want this? Because games like this and games like Charlotte you just can’t afford to lose. It’s a big difference winning those types of games and then losing them at the end of the season. We’re putting ourselves out of the playoffs right now — the Eastern Conference is too tight. It’s wide open but you got to go for it. If we want to be up fighting for something, we got to change things up a little bit.”

New head coach Fred Hoiberg was also a bit confused. He explained during the Suns post game interview that the Bulls had played their best defensive game in the 3rd quarter only giving up 10 points, and then played their absolute worst defense during the 4th allowing the Suns to score 42 points. Talk about an identity crisis.

Time to lock it up guys. We can only use the “it’s still early in the season” excuse for so long. The Bulls have Tuesday off and then have the Boston Celtics on Wednesday and the LA Clippers on Thursday.

Updates:

In other news, Mike Dunleavy needs an additional 4-6 weeks of rehab before his return to the court. Definitely a bummer, since Dunleavy brings more experience to the team than Doug McDermott and Tony Snell at the shooting guard position. Also, Pau Gasol shared that he will “very likely” opt out of his Bulls contract at the end of the season and test the water of free agency.

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Noah and Butler

Get ready to rumble Bulls babes. We have exactly TWO weeks until the Bulls tip-off their regular season against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 27th. This gives us ample time to learn who’s-who on this year’s roster.

And now, search the starting lineup for your Chicago Bulls – actually it’s all your need-to-know players.

Derrick Rose #1
Position: Point Guard
College: Memphis
@drose

DRose is sporting a new hairdo to start his sixth season with the Bulls. Despite literally breaking his face during the first practice, buy cialis our Bionic man should be ready to go for the home-opener. Rose has only played 61 games in the last two seasons after a laundry list of injuries. We need DRose to just PLAY. I’m a hopeless Bulls fan that will always wish Rose can get back to MVP form, but it’s highly unlikely after two serious knee surgeries and rehabs. Regardless, he’s still DRose and as long as he is on the court and movin and groovin the Bulls are a better team. Please stay healthy for us Rose.

Jimmy Butler #21
Position: Small Forward
College: Marquette
@JimmyButler

All eyes are on Jimmy Buckets in 2015 after his big pay-day this off-season. Butler gave the Bulls a renewed sense of talent after his breakout season in 2014-2015. Now it’s all about Jimmy. We’re expecting some big offensive stats, another All-Star appearance, and a Butler-Rose duo that is unstoppable in the Eastern Conference. Are we asking too much? Call me greedy, but I want Butler to shine his brightest this season – right past Lebron and the Cavs and straight to the NBA Finals.

Joakim Noah #13
Position: Center
College: Florida
@JoakimNoah

After injury prevented Noah from being his influential self last season, Jo-No will be looking to get back to his Defensive Player of the Year stature and man have we missed it. Jo is the player opponents love to hate, but we love to have on our side. He’s six feet and 11 inches of a passionate basketball player rebounding all over the other team’s face. Yup, show us the good stuff Jo.

Pau Gasol #16
Position: Center/Power Forward
Prior to NBA:  FC Barcelona
@paugasol

Pow Pow! This seasoned NBA vet was picked up from the Lakers in 2014 and is a huge impact player whenever he hits the court. When it came down to it Gasol was stuck on the bench with an injury in the big games against the Cavaliers last year during the playoffs. He’s got 14 years of the NBA under his belt, but with age comes a longer bounce-back from annoying injuries like hamstrings or ankle sprains. We need Pau to stay healthy for the big moments. Perhaps these boys need to incorporate more hot Yoga into their workout regimes?

Taj Gibson
Position: Power Forward
College: USC 
@TajGibson22

Gibson’s game has jumped to a whole other level since his start with the Bulls, but unfortunately to Taj lovers he’s the main focus of potential trade rumors. The Bulls almost have too many big men and Gibson has the most trading value since he brings so much value to a new team. Keep your eyes peeled on Gibson, hopefully we get some big dunks off the bench before any more trading talk occurs.

Doug McDermott #3
Position: Small Forward
College: Creighton 
@dougmcd3

Under new head coach Fred Hoiberg, fans are looking to Dougie Mc-Buckets to have a breakout season. Coach Thibodeau wasn’t big on giving rookies too many playing minutes, but McDermott is now in his sophomore season and loves a nice shot from the perimeter which Coach Hoiberg fully supports.

Nikola Mirotic #44
Position: Power Forward
Prior to NBA: Montenegro 
@threekola

Mirotic, aka Three-ko-la (you have to say it like the Riccola commercials), is ready to embark on his second season in the NBA. There was definitely a bit of a learning curve coming from Montenegro to the NBA, but his serious three-point shot was an instant fan favorite. After a year, Mirotic has refined his game. You’ll be sure to find this guy outside the arc sinking three’s in Hoiberg’s new offense.

Bobby Portis #5
Position: Power Forward
College: Arkansas
@BPortistime

Rookie alert! The Bulls drafted Portis 21st in the 2015 NBA draft and could absolutely be a secret weapon off the bench this season. Portis had a break-out performance against the Pelicans in the preseason with 20 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes. Ideally, Portis can help provide the Bulls with additional offense it never seems to generate enough of.

Kirk Hinrich #12
Position: Point Guard
College: Kansas

Captain Kirk is too cool for Twitter apparently, but luckily he’s a Bulls veteran ready to backup Rose for another season. Hinrich offers the Bulls stifling defense, but he’s no spring chicken so hopefully he can actually play the roll of back-up point guard because Rose will be healthy enough to start the majority of games this season (fingers crossed people).

Aaron Brooks #0
Position: Point Guard
College: Oregon
@thirty2zero

Brooks offers the Bulls a burst of energy and speed off the bench. He takes some wild and crazy shots, but when he’s not getting stuffed by Power Forwards or Centers, Brooks can put up some useful offensive numbers. He’s a great back-up Point Guard when Rose and Hinrich need to rest.

Mike Dunleavy Jr. #34
Position: Guard/Small Forward
College: Duke
@MikeDunleavyjr

With 13 years in the league, Dunleavy is absolutely a seasoned vet. Unfortunately, a post season back surgery is going to keep this sharp shooter off the court for a while until he’s ready to rumble.

Tony Snell #20
Position: Small Forward
College: New Mexico
@TonySnell20

Year two is a definite sink or swim kind of season for Snell. We saw glimpses of star power last season, but we need some more consistent offense off the bench from Snell. He also has a much improved hairstyle which I truly appreciate.

Cameron Bairstow #41
Position: Center
College: New Mexico
@CBairstow41

This Aussie is relief for big man Joakim Noah. He’s tall, he’s strong, but he’s looking to gain some more minutes and overall experience under Coach Hoiberg.

E’Twaun Moore #55
Position: Point Guard
College: Purdue
@ETwaun55

Moore is the back-up’s, back-up’s back-up – if that makes any sense. He comes in to run the court when Rose, Hinrich and Brooks are all gassed or injured. We probably won’t see him outside of his sweet Bulls warm-up, but he is a capable back-up when needed.

Cristiano Da Silva Felicio #6
Position: Power Forward/Center
Prior to NBA: Brazil

The Bulls added Brazilian big man Cristiano during the past summer.  His signing was speculated as a pre-curser to a potential Taj Gibson trade sometime this season. The Bulls are pretty stacked when it comes to height and power and rather need some depth in the guard area. Nonetheless, we’ll keep our eye on Felicio and see what he can deliver off the bench.

Per usual, the Bulls are under serious pressure to prove they’re title worthy and many of the players are vying to prove they’re worth the money the Bulls spent on them. Hopefully we see the best of both this season 🙂

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Popovich and Parker

Popovich and Parker via kens5.com

After a day of R&R the Bulls will need to conjure up some more hustle as the San Antonio Spurs are blowing into the windy city Tuesday. Chicago has won six of their last seven games at home and are looking to knock down another big dog in the league. Their opponents are currently on a six-game winning streak and looking to extend their winning record to seven. It’s a night where two of the greatest minds in the NBA will face-off. Who’s the coaching master mind; Coach Thibodeau or Coach Popovich?

You may be thinking to yourself, pharmacy “isn’t Tim Duncan an NBA dinosaur?” If last season taught us anything, sale age does not defy Gregg Popovich and his Spurs who’s roster seemingly continues to get older and older, but these dudes (46-16) are chasing the Pacers and OKC Thunder for the best record in the league. Brace yourselves Bulls babes, it’s going to be a wild and crazy night on the United Center floor.

What You Need to Know: 

  • If you’re looking for the hottest center in the league, Chicago Noah’s someone. Jo-No is having a remarkable season and you can bet he’s coming out guns blazing after the Bulls emotional win over the Miami Heat on Sunday. We’d like to place an order for another triple-double with some blocks on the side por favor.
  • Watch Out For: Tony Parker (PG) and Kawhi Leonard (SG). Parker (AKA Eva Langoria’s ex) is one of the best PG’s in the league and also the leading scorer on the Spurs. Leonard will most likely be matched with Mike Dunleavy which means he may have more open shots than his other teammates.
  • Noah has some competition when it comes to rebounding. NBA veteran Tim Duncan (PF) is a big boy and knows his way around under the basket. Be prepared for some serious booty-boxing-out.

    Belinelli 3 point contest

    3-point Champ via MBeli3 Instagram

  • Familiar Faces: Marco Belinelli will return to the United Center for the first time since being traded to the Spurs. Bells didn’t let the trade bring him down. He won the 2014 three point contest and you can be sure he’s ready to show his old teammates his outside shooting.
  • Per usual, it’s going to be about the Bulls top defense holding the Spurs elite offense to a scoring minimum. Los Bulls have done it before this season back in January when they held San Antonio to their lowest scoring game of the season. It’s time for some Deja Vu.

Your Take Away Piece:

“Don’t let their age fool you, a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs is never just a walk in the park. If the Bulls play with the same heart, hustle and muscle that has been surging them throughout the season, it’s going to be a great game. If the Bulls come out tired or hesitant, the Spurs will exploit any weaknesses.”

What’s Next:

Everything goes down at 7:00 pm at the UC – be there or be tuned in on WGN to catch all the action. We #BULLieve

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You might be friends with Luol Deng off the court, tadalafil but unless you’re sporting the crimson and gold these days you’re an obstacle between Lou and the hoop. After playing his entire career as a Chicago Bull, Deng-er-ang will host his old teammates at his new Cleveland arena for the first time Wednesday night (SIGH).

As a fan it’s absolutely tough to consider Deng an offensive threat instead of our favorite gangly player, but as he so gently put it “it’s just another game.” Don’t expect Deng to be all rainbows and sunshine against his old friends, this competitor is coming out to win. Lucky for Los Bulls, Joakim Noah has taken Chi-town pride to the next level. Expect nothing less than a gritty Eastern Conference match-up friends.

What You Need to Know:

  • Dengerang is Crankin in Cleveland: The Cavaliers are only 3-3 since acquiring Deng the first week of January, but individually he’s averaging just under 18 points a game – not too shabby after being shipped off to a new city. It’s unfortunate the uniforms are so ugly.

    via ivanov_22 Instagram

  • Prideful Pack: HAM of the Week Jo-No has taken the team under his wing emotionally since the trade and the Bulls surprisingly have gone 6-2. Considering they lost their best scorer when they shipped off Deng (Rose was already out for the season) they’ve shown some serious resilience as a team. They are most definitely NOT tanking the season.
  • Kyrie Irving may like to dress up like “Uncle Drew”during his free time, but this dude doesn’t mess around when it comes to basketball. He’s averaging 21.6 points a game with a side of some sick crossovers. He is the future of the Cavalier organization at this point. Within the sports realm there have been plenty of heated discussions on the topic of Kyrie Irving versus Derrick Roseas the top point guard. The answer is easy in my book, a healthy DRose could school Mr. Irving.

    Irving via nba_memes_quizzes Instagram

  • Best Match-ups: PG DJ Augustin hasn’t been with the Bulls for too long, but he’s made a solid impression so far. With Kirk Hinrich’s hamstring injury, Wednesday night will be a true challenge for Augustin as he takes on Kyrie Irving at point guard. Mike Dunleavy will get a full serving of Luol Deng and his lanky arms up and down the court; we’re going to need some hot sauce out of Mikey.
  • Restructured Roster: If you’ve been keeping up on your Bulls news you’ve noticed that the Bulls traded away Marquis Teague, the second year PG (he just wasn’t panning out) and picked up Toko (Tornike) Shengelia from the Brooklyn Nets. The trade created more cap space for the Bulls come the summer and Toko is a 6-foot-9 forward that we’ll consider a project for Coach Thibodeau over next three months. It’s unlikely Toko will get any playing time against the Cavs, but Thibs is full of surprises these days so we’ll have to wait and see.

Your Take Away Piece: 

“It’s going to be very strange seeing Deng in a Cavaliers uniform instead of repping the black, red and white, but change is inevitable. I’ve got to get over it sometime and what better way than with a Chicago Bulls win in Cleveland.”

Chicago Bulls Women’s Grey Yolo Cutoff Midriff Long Sleeve by Sportiqe, Clark Street Sports: $49.99

What’s Next: 

The Bulls tip off in Cleveland at 6 PM. Be sure to tune into Comcast Sportsnet to catch Deng and Noah going head to head for the first time in their NBA careers. It’s going to be a throwdown.

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