Bulls

Random News: Limitless in a Bull Market

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Random News: Limitless in a Bull Market

Monday, April 18, 2011
Posted: 9:08 a.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

No scenario? I see every scenario, I see 50 scenariosit puts me 50 moves ahead of you. Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) in the movie Limitless

If you have a chance to see the movie Limitless I suggest you do so. Better yet, watch the movie and then find a way to watch the fourth quarter of the Bulls game from Saturday afternoon. The similarities between the two might (ahem) blow your mind.

In the movie, Bradley Cooper plays a gangly, unkempt starving writer type named Eddie Morra. The guy is a mess. His love life is in shambles and he comes home every day to a filthy, one bedroom apartment that only Elwood Blues would appreciate. While walking on a New York street, he bumps into his ex-brother-in-law who comps him a magic pillof sorts. Figuring he has nothing to lose, Eddie swallows the tablet. Almost immediately, his brain kicks into a Ken Jennings-on-Jeopardy type of gear. He recalls specific information and long-since-forgotten data in a moments notice. The meds help him out of jams and catapults his career. In no time, hes a kingpin on Wall Street.

For three and a half quarters this weekend, the Bulls were Morra. They were disheveled. Awkward. Disappointing. And lets face it, losers. Maybe not losers in the figurative Dude, Im 40 and still live with my parents sense, but losers of the literal kind: the top overall seed of the NBA playoffs about to go down 1-0 to a patchwork quilt Indiana Pacers team lucky to own an 8-seed.

Then, the whole team took a magic pill and went Limitless.

You never want to be down 10 with three minutes left in the game, Bulls guard Kyle Korver said after Sundays practice. I think it shows a lot about the character of our teamto come back.

Korvers heroics were just one of the many side effects of that magic pill. His three pointer with 48.4 seconds left gave the Bulls their first lead of the day. Derrick Rose, a magic pill all by himself, set up Joakim Noah on a dunk and had a sweet layup himself to help chip away at the Indiana lead. The Bulls, somehow, flipped the switch at the right time as we have seen so many other times this year - and inexplicably pulled out a victory.
(Before I get too far ahead of myself, with all this talk of magic pills and tablets, let me throw this disclaimer that I do not endorse drug use in any way, magic pill or otherwise. I know, I know, maybe its a bit muchespecially for a blog. But hey, its the times we live inyou know? Have to be safe rather than sorry! And I mean that sincerely.)

Anyway, the only time I can remember a team collectively taking a magic pill like that was during Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals when the Bulls went ballistic on the Portland Trail Blazers. Their fourth quarter victory blitz was nothing short of astounding. Portland owned the game up to that point. Then Bobby Hansen Bobby Hansen - started hitting shots. Then Scottie Pippen took over at both ends of the floor. A 15-point deficit evaporated. Michael Jordan came in for a few dagger shots. Game over. The most intriguing part of Saturdays game is that we all knew it was coming. Deep down, we knew that the Bulls would find the magic pill and start dominating. Sure enough, they did. They were focused. Smart. Energized. I mean, did you have any doubt that Korver three-pointer?

One of the key plot points to Limitless is that Eddie is warned not to take too many of these pills because other people have succumbed to nasty side effects, including razor-sharp migraines (dont worry, if you havent seen it the movie, Im not spoiling all that much). At the very least, someone suggests, the doses should be spaced out and a person should never go cold turkey. And quite frankly, I hope the Bulls dont get addicted to their version of the magic pills either. Dont use them all at once, you know? Save them for, say, a series with the word Finals in it. Heck, a lot of pundits argue that the Bulls should have never been that position on Saturday to begin with:

The Bulls? The destiny team of 2011 about to lose on their home floor to the mediocre Indiana Pacers? Blasphemy!

But maybe this Bulls team just has an endless supply of magic. Its kind of their motif, you know? Theyve been known to get out to slow starts. They drag their feet. They let teams hang around. And just like in the movie Limitless, they know when to turn on the switch, refocus, and make everything clear again. They recognize when theyre in a muddled state. And theyre a force to be reckoned with when theyre in the zone. They take advantage of every scenario presented to them and take advantage accordingly.

As a fan, its pretty addicting to watch. If the Bulls can space out this sports prescription just right, their potential might be - dare I say - limitless.

Now, if only the Blackhawks could get a similar taste of the magic

Or something like that.

Reminder: you can catch game two of the Bulls-Pacers series right here on Comcast SportsNet. We will get you started with Bulls Pregame Live at 8pm, with tip-off to follow at 8:30. For the latest updates, be sure to follow our Bulls insider Aggrey Sam at csnchicago.com and on Twitter at CSNBullsInsider.

Reflective Jimmy Butler looks back on time in Chicago during All-Star weekend

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USA TODAY

Reflective Jimmy Butler looks back on time in Chicago during All-Star weekend

LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Butler was absent from the scoresheet of the All-Star Game, unless you count a “DNP-Coaches’ Decision” as activity. Whether due to the All-Star festivities of the weekend or even the grinding minutes he plays under Tom Thibodeau, it wasn’t truly surprising to see him want to have a night off of sorts.

But what was mildly surprising was the reflection he displayed on Saturday at All-Star Media Day in reference to his time with the Chicago Bulls. Usually, Butler’s armor is up because of his feelings surrounding his draft-night departure.

“I learned a lot in Chicago,” Butler said. “Just all through the season and life in general. What to do, what not to do and how to adapt to any situation that you’ve been in. I’ve done that to the best of my abilities. I have a ways to go in that.”

It’s clear he’s still grasping the weight of his words as the best player on a team, or at least, the player whose words impact everything around him.

“A people pleaser? No, I just didn’t say much,” Butler said. “Now I just don’t care. I never talked whenever I was in the league at an early age. It really didn’t matter, nothing I did was gonna make or break us when it comes to losing a game. Now it does and I have a lot to say. Half the time it’s not the right time or right way to say it but it’s okay.”

Whether it was the battles with Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg or the internal struggles in the Bulls’ locker room through his ascension from bench warmer to rotation player to impact player to now, a legitimate star, he’s modifying his approach—just a tad.

“I’ve never been the best player on my own team. I was in Tomball,” he joked, in reference to his beginnings in small town Texas. “I wasn’t in junior college. At Marquette I wasn’t. I’m probably not now. In Chicago I wasn’t. You just pick up on it, watch others and learn.”

He admitted to writing in a journal and reading self-help books now that he’s in Minnesota. The novel he’s reading now, “Faith, Forward, Future” is authored by Chad Veach, a Los Angeles pastor and the subtitle of the book says “Moving past your disappointments, delays and destructive thinking.”

Whether he started the book following a slow start with the Timberwolves in November, where his nightly numbers looked like one of a high-level role player, he took some self-evaluation before leading the charge since, playing like an MVP candidate with 25.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists on 49 percent shooting since the start of December.

“It’s relatively new. Yeah, basketball is still basketball but it’s hard when somebody else is coming in and roles change overnight,” Butler said. “You gotta see where you fit in with the group. At the end of the day you gotta win. I didn’t feel the way I was playing was our best opportunity to win games.”

Bringing along the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, with Towns being a fellow All-Star for the first time, has been a process.

“I’ve never actually had to be a leader,” Butler said. “I just always done what I was supposed to do, didn’t say much and played hard. Now you know, everybody wants to call someone a leader.”

He disputes taking a softer hand, especially as Towns and Wiggins seem to struggle with sustaining concentration at critical moments. The Timberwolves won’t be able to make those mistakes during the playoffs, but he’s being more selective with his words.

“I’m not soft,” he said. “If I see something wrong, I speak on it. If you don’t like it, oh well. You’ll get over it.”

One thing he could take a bird’s eye view of was the aftermath of LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s comments to the “Uninterrupted”, where they were criticized by cable news hosts for speaking out against President Donald Trump.

No stranger to criticism, Butler would likely have the same approach if he dipped his toes into that arena.

“I like it. You got the right to say what you want and you speak on what you think is right,” Butler said. “Good for them. And they are magnified in a very big way. They embrace it and they’re doing the right thing, I’m all for it.”

And if the day comes where he doesn’t stick to sports, Butler’s directness and lack of diplomacy would certainly cause an interesting reaction.

“I don’t care. Whatever I believe in, I believe in,” Butler said. “Everybody else does it. You see everybody on Twitter and the Internet doing it and saying what they want to say. We just have a different job than the person to our left and right.”

Well, not quite a warm and fuzzy Jimmy Butler.

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

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AP

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

There were no Lakers or Clippers in the 2018 All-Star Game, but Los Angeles was well-represented with plenty of homegrown talent, plenty of historians with Los Angeles ties and all the pageantry L.A. can provide.

Russell Westbrook, Paul George and James Harden are among the All-Stars who came home to put on the biggest show of entertainment the league has to offer, and the new format featuring captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry produced one of the most competitive finishes in recent All-Star history as the spectacle wasn’t lost on DeRozan, who plays for the conference-leading Toronto Raptors.

“It was a dream come true,” DeRozan said. “I’ll forever be a part of this, and to come out and be a starter in my hometown, it was a dream come true.”

With Chicago hosting the event in 2020, one wonders if the city or the Bulls will be as represented.

“What better time to do it than in Chicago?” Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen said about his aspirations of being an All-Star sooner rather than later.

New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, to this point, is the only Chicagoan carrying the torch as an All-Star. For years, Chicago could claim their homegrown talent rivaled the likes of Los Angeles and New York, the self-proclaimed “Mecca”.

But now they’ve fallen behind in the way of star power, as Derrick Rose has gone from MVP to one of the biggest “what if” stories in modern-day sports. Jabari Parker was expected to be next in line but his future as a star is murky due to the same dreaded injury bug.

“I didn’t know that. But there’s a lot of great players (from Chicago),” Davis said Saturday during media availability. “Jabari is just coming back, Derrick is going through what he’s going through. That’s fine. D-Wade is getting older. We have a lot of great guys. Guys have been hurt, in D-Wade’s case he’s just getting up there in age now (laughs).”

Davis is arguably the league’s most versatile big man, keeping the New Orleans Pelicans afloat while DeMarcus Cousins is out with an Achilles injury. He’s had to watch the likes of George deal with free agent questions about the prospect of coming home to L.A., even after he was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City in the offseason.

It still hasn’t stopped the chants from Lakers fans, panting after George in the hope he’ll be a savior of sorts. And even though his contract isn’t up for another few seasons, teams are lining up in the hope they can acquire him through free agency or trade.

It could very well be him getting the chants when the All-Star party comes to Chicago and he could be joined by the likes of Markkanen and Zach LaVine in the big game.

LaVine was in Los Angeles for the weekend and Markkanen opened eyes around the league with his showing in the rising stars game as well as the skills challenge.

Davis could wind up being the object of everyone’s affection and could find himself being recruited by the likes of LaVine.

Even though 2021 is a long way away, a guy can dream, right?

“I mean, I’m cool with a lot of dudes in the NBA. I feel like I’m a likeable guy,” LaVine told NBCSportsChicago.com about recruiting star players to the Bulls franchise. “I can talk about situations like that, it would be my first time being put in a position. It would be a little bit different but I think I can handle it.”

LaVine has his own contract situation to take care of this summer, being a restricted free agent but understands the Bulls’ salary cap position and their long-term goals.

“Yeah I think once the offseason comes and everybody settles down, and I’m comfortable, and I know the position I’ll be in,” LaVine said to NBCSportsChicago.com.

“I think we’ll start having those conversations because we want to get the franchise back to where it was, on that high plateau. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”

“I’m trying to solidify myself in the league to a certain degree. Once you start reaching those points you can talk to anybody to get to where you want to get to.”

LaVine attended several events over the weekend and shared the same space as several All-Stars in non-media settings. It’s easy to see why he would think he could have that affect with his peers.

Being careful about the rules on tampering, he said about a potential sit-down with Davis, “I would bring some Harold’s chicken to the meeting and we’ll be all good.”