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.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.