Bulls

Jimmy Butler delivered a postgame tirade for the ages following Wednesday's Heat win

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USA TODAY

Jimmy Butler delivered a postgame tirade for the ages following Wednesday's Heat win

Former Bull Jimmy Butler is known as a fierce competitor who isn't afraid to speak his mind. And he spoke his mind in a big way on Wednesday following an intense in-game altercation with Indiana Pacers forward TJ Warren.

In the game, the Miami Heat secured a 122-108 win over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, notching their 10th road victory of the season. But things got extremely heated in the third quarter when, with the Heat leading by 23 points, Warren fouled Butler by grabbing his arm on a drive to the rim. Butler ended up spinning around and facing Warren as a result, and the two immediately started jawing at each other. They eventually had to be separated: 

In an attempt to regain control, the referees assessed a double-technical foul on Butler and Warren. With the Heat still very much in control, and the action halted, one would think cooler heads would prevail. But not with Jimmy Butler involved. On the very next possession, Butler showed Warren how he truly felt with a physical offensive foul:

Butler inbounded the ball, received it back on the wing and in short order lowered his shoulder and rammed it into Warren's chest, knocking him back. Butler was called for the very, very clear offensive foul, but as everyone was walking down the court, Warren couldn't help but clap in Butler's face, earning his second tech and an ejection. Things got even worse when Butler started to blow kisses at a very agitated Warren, who raised his middle finger at Butler as he walked off the court and into the tunnel.

Despite the Heat walking out with a dominant win, Butler was evidently still very fired up about his altercation with Warren postgame. He minced no words when speaking about Warren (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald):

“He’s soft. He’s not even in my f***ing league. Nowhere near me. If I was their coach, I would never put him on me ever again."

-Jimmy Butler on Indiana Pacers forward TJ Warren 

Butler finished the night with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists in the Heat's 14-point win, as they moved to 2-0 over the Pacers for the season. His actions and words on Wednesday night made some people—including a faction of Bulls' faithful—smile, loving his display of aggression and next-level trash talk in a big win. But others, including Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale, were not pleased with Butler's antics. 

Regardless of how you feel about Butler's actions on Wednesday night, it is simply a fact that his team picked up the win in a game that he finished. Meanwhile, Warren was ejected—though he was somewhat baited by Butler—in a game in which his team could have used his scoring down the stretch as they tried to fight back.

The whole NBA world will surely have a little more interest the next time the Heat and the Pacers face off in what now looks like a legit rivalry, fueled by Butler's bravado. That same bravado made Butler a polarizing figure during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls. 

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Scottie Pippen explains why second half of Bulls' title run was more special

Scottie Pippen explains why second half of Bulls' title run was more special

ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary series is going to get plenty of attention with the rest of the sports world on hold.

The series will focus on the Bulls’ final title season, 1997-98, and was recently moved up to debut on April 19.

Scottie Pippen talked about those title years for the Bulls in a recent episode of his ESPN show, “The Jump.” He explained what it was like knowing the 1997-98 season would be the team’s last run together.

“For me, it was really everything coming to a head for us,” Pippen said. “A great run through the 90s. Dennis [Rodman] had came and joined us the second half of that run, and that part was really the more special part because we were the best team in basketball for a long time, and no one knocked us off. Knowing that that was the end of our run and that we had to end it that way, we made it very special, and we wanted to end it with a championship.”

It’s noteworthy that Pippen says the second three-peat felt more special than the first. It would make sense for the team’s first title to be special because it was the breakthrough, but Pippen likes the fact that the Bulls were able to maintain their throne for so long and never lose a playoff series with a full strength team.

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Dennis Rodman brushed off big-men, trash-talk and curfew during Bulls dynasty

Dennis Rodman brushed off big-men, trash-talk and curfew during Bulls dynasty

Dennis Rodman listened to the question, thought about it for a second and then started brushing his teeth.

After all, he had to catch up with World Championship Wrestling members Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags, who had just declared the Bulls forward an honorary “Nasty Boy.”

Reporters’ notes from 24 years ago don’t shed much enlightenment on what such a title signifies. But if Rodman practiced hygiene for it — this is, after all, a player who often eschewed a postgame shower — then it must’ve been special.

Before a recent re-broadcast of this 1996 Bulls’ title run, which continues with Sunday night’s showing of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando, I wrote about Rodman’s “Walk of Shame.” This was the postgame routine Rodman utilized to mimic a red carpet’s entrance, walking down a hallway to answer postgame questions rather than doing so while standing in front of his locker.

Rodman mostly employed this practice at home games, which is why, on this day, he cut short his postgame media session to brush his teeth inside the visitors’ locker room.

One might surmise that Rodman’s trademark outrageousness was the story. That his play overshadowed his behavior makes it time to shift the focus back to on the court.

Man, Rodman was something for the Bulls’ second three-peat, but perhaps never more evidently than during this title run and in this series. After a nine-point, 16-rebound effort in Game 3, Rodman’s averages for the series sat at 12.3 points and 16.3 rebounds.

The Bulls held large rebounding advantages in all three victories.

Plus, what other team could largely utilize single coverage using a 6-foot-7 defender like Rodman on the 7-1 Shaquille O’Neal? In this game, O’Neal, who also matched against Luc Longley and Bill Wennington at times, managed just 17 points on 8-for-19 shooting.

“[O’Neal] can talk all the trash he wants,” Rodman said. “I think his game is totally off. I’m not going to snap either. I got people grabbing me. I got people clawing and scratching at me. It doesn’t matter. I like that.

“Shaq hit me with an elbow twice, but that’s great. I like that kind of physical play.”

Rodman said these words before going to brush his teeth and then meet his wrestler buddies. But he had one more thing to say, reminding everyone that he didn’t have a curfew.

Just when you tried to steer the focus back to Rodman’s sublime on-the-court play, he wouldn’t always let you.

Every other night through April 15, NBC Sports Chicago is airing the entirety of the Bulls' 1996 NBA championship run. Find the full schedule here.

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