Bulls

Turnovers, tired legs and more turnovers: Observations from Bulls-Pacers

Turnovers, tired legs and more turnovers: Observations from Bulls-Pacers

You thought Friday night's ending was ugly? Well, the entirety of Saturday's contest caused an eyesore. 

The Pacers trounced the Bulls by 39 points. Here are the observations: 

Tired legs: Fatigue finally caught up to the Bulls.

Playing in their eighth game in 12 nights, each player Fred Hoiberg subbed in looked as exhausted as the next. 

The second quarter was exceptionally painful to watch as the energetic Pacers jumped off to a 17-2 run, effectively ending the game right there. 

Lethargic play ushered in turnovers – a staggering amount of them. 

The Bulls gave the ball away 11 times in the first half alone, leading to 15 Pacers points. Woof. 

This team is young, yes, but even a youthful team succumbs to the often-brutal NBA schedule at times. 

You don't go, we don't go: After foiling Mavs coach Rick Carlisle's gameplan and taking it to rookie Dennis Smith Jr. early and often on Friday night, Kris Dunn was rendered ineffective in Indy. 

Fred Hoiberg used the "you go, we go" Joe Maddonism after the point guard's career night, but it proves true the opposite way, too. And Dunn definitely didn't "go" in the beginning stages of this one. 

Dunn ended his first quarter with two points, four turnovers and two fouls. His first half ended with him posting a half-worst minus-21. So it's probably no coincidence that the Bulls trailed by 27 points after the first 24 minutes of action. 

Early foul trouble has been developing into a concerning pattern for Dunn, and it too frequently forces Hoiberg to call Jerian Grant's name quicker than anticipated. 

The correlation between Dunn's high-scoring nights and Bulls wins is clear: 

But reaching needed scoring numbers proves challenging when sitting on the bench for extended periods of time. 

The returns: After being sidelined the past four games with a sore right knee, Victor Oladipo suited up and appeared fresh. 

So fresh, in fact, that the guard – who's in the midst of a career year – did most of his damage in transition. Oladipo finished with 23 points on an efficient 9-for-11 shooting.

It helps that the Bulls' passing mirrored that out of a junior high gym in spurts, prompting easy buckets for the high-motor guard. 

Indy had dropped four straight without Oladipo, and they're clearly a different monster with him on the floor. 

After seeing Oladipo's impact, one has to wonder what will the Bulls look like when Zach LaVine returns.

That answer is still murky, but a date for the explosive athlete's Bulls debut is becoming clearer. Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill was in studio Saturday to discuss: 

Stay tuned. 

Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again

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USA TODAY

Jimmy Butler may have gotten uninvited to the Wade's BBQ again

Jimmy Butler is in hot water with the Wades ... again.

Maybe not really, but the two former Bulls teammates exchanged pleasantries on Instagram after Butler commented on a photo Dwyane Wade's wife Gabrielle Union posted poolside, saying: "WELL DAMN!!"

Wade, a three-time all-defensive second team, came to his wife's defense when Butler posted a video the next day with the caption: "The good, the bad, and the ugly...", prompting Wade to respond: "Put well damn in caps on my wife photo again and you're gonna see what the good, the bad and the ugly is like."

*Mic drop*

It appears this won't affect Butler getting an invite to the next get together. Or so he hopes...

"Well that escalated quickly," Butler responded to Wade. "Point noted.. I'm still coming to the bbq tho 😂😂😂"

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

SI names Lauri Markkanen a top-five candidate for a breakout season

Lauri Markkanen has been making headlines this offseason, mostly for bulking up considerably, and making appearances around Chicago at Nike camps and Jabari Parker’s camp, but as the season nears, his on-the-court exploits are starting to come up as well. On Thursday, Sports Illustrated put Lauri Markkanen on their list of five breakout candidates for the 2018-19 season

SI writer Michael Shapiro had this to say about Markkanen:


Markkanen has all the tools to be a future All-Star, and it looks as though he has the mindset, too. He seemed to take his matchup with Porzingis personally in early January, demanding the ball down the stretch en route to a career-high 33 points in a road victory. The Bulls enter 2018-19 on the outside of the East playoff picture, but Chicago is now home to the NBA’s newest unicorn.

High praise indeed for Markkanen, and well-deserved praise considering that he finished with a usage rate lower with the Bulls than his college stint at Arizona, yet still was able to have an impact on the Bulls. Shapiro mentioned Markkanen’s burgeoning off-the-dribble game as the skill that most stood out, and speaks to the Finnish big man’s All-Star potential. 

While the 21-year-old’s threes lived up to the hype, it was his prowess of the bounce that made the biggest impression. Markkanen showed a deft handle and array of canny fakes in the post, adding a mean streak to boot. The Finnisher lived up to his nickname, unafraid of contact and eager to fight for position in the post. The stereotype of the soft European big man doesn’t apply here.

The numbers back this up. 

Among the Bulls top 10 players in drives per game last season, Markkanen finished second in field percentage (on drives) at 46.1 percent. If that numbers rises, or more likely, Markkanen drives to the basket more, his scoring total will increase. And when it came to finishing around the paint in general, he shot  67.6 percent on shots from zero-to-three feet, making him the third best in that range out of the Bulls top nine rotation players last season. Yet among the same group of players, Markkanen ranked sixth in shot attempts from zero-to-three feet. With the presence of Wendell Carter Jr., and another year of internal growth from Bobby Portis- bigs that can stretch the floor -Markkanen should be the recipient of more plays putting him in a position to score around the basket.

On a roster that will surely give big minutes to Parker, Kris Dunn, Carter, Chandler Hutchison and a working-his-way-back to form Zach LaVine, Markkanen may be surest 3-point shooter on the floor. This means defenses will key in on his outside shot. If players are routinely closing out hard on Markkanen- as they should -this will open up more driving opportunities for the nimble seven-footer. 

The third or fourth season is usually when young players take the leap from good to great, but Markkanen will be playing with the most talented group of teammates he has ever been surrounded with. How he handles playing with this group will go a long way towards establishing what kind of player he will be in the future, specifically if he is an All-Star caliber talent. On the 2018-19 Bulls, someone will have to hover around a 20 percent usage rate, making them a clear third-option, whoever that player is, his last name should not be Markkanen.