All smiles: Bulls begin Circus Trip with a bang, crush Trail Blazers

All smiles: Bulls begin Circus Trip with a bang, crush Trail Blazers

PORTLAND—Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler celebrated after the Marquette connection linked up for an alley-oop dunk, in the most unconventional way in an unconventional ballgame.

In effect, the game was over before it began, as the Bulls made dished out a shocker to the Portland Trailblazers to start off their circus trip with an impressive 113-88 win at the Moda Center Tuesday night.

When the Wade-Butler connection happened, things were well on their way to the resounding victory, mostly done on the defensive end. The Bulls held the Blazers to 36 percent shooting overall as the Blazers missed their first 11 shots from the field, leading to a 21-point first quarter lead that ballooned to 25 before halftime.

“I think it was our most complete game that we played,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Like I told the guys, I thought it started in shootaround this morning. I could tell they were locked in. They were energetic. They were locked in when we were talking about the gameplan.”

Without Rajon Rondo, who was out with an ankle injury, the Bulls had to run more of their offense through Butler—and things were trending that way anyways—and he took full advantage.

Butler dominated from start to finish, continuing his strong play that’s gone largely under the radar in this young season with 27 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. He didn’t win player of the week last week but in the last five games, few have been better, as he’s averaged 28.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists.

“I think year to year I've been in a different role,” Butler said. “Now the role is a little bit bigger than it was last year so I'm called to do a lot more on both ends of the floor. That's what the game tells you to do, that's the way the game goes. With the guys on the floor, they tell me what I have to do on the floor.”

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Containing the high-scoring backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum was the Bulls’ biggest task, one that was passed easily.

They harassed the potent but miniature in stature backcourt, harassing them into missing 25 of their 39 shots. With Lillard and McCollum unable to get going, it put the other Blazers in the unenviable position of trying to create on their own, which only made matters worse.

“Some nights you're gonna get burned by that, you'll have Amir Johnson hit four threes in the third quarter,” said Wade, referring to the Bulls’ first loss of the season in Boston, when Johnson unexpectedly lit up the Bulls from the three-point line. “And then some nights like tonight, they were missing and we rebound and go. We did our game plan that we've been trying to do all year, which is take their main guys out and tonight it worked for us.”

They forced up bad shots just because they were open, playing right into the Bulls’ hands. Through three quarters, the Blazers shot just 35 percent and missed 20 of their 26 3-pointers.

The Bulls surrounded Lillard with Jerian Grant, who replaced Rondo in the starting lineup.

Grant’s length and quickness played a part in Lillard missing his first seven shots and he joined the brigade of handsy Bulls who like to get their hands in the passing lanes for steals along with Grant’s willingness to be aggressive offensively.

“It really started with Jerian,” Hoiberg said. “I thought he was terrific guarding the ball. That’s one of the toughest covers in the league with Lillard, as hot as he can get. He set the tone for our defense with his ball pressure.”

Hitting two triples in addition to getting out on the break, Grant looked comfortable playing with Wade and Butler as he wasn’t burdened with the task of running the offense.

He spaced the floor, defended and attacked when he had openings, finishing with 18 points.

All five Bulls starters scored in double figures, as the Bulls dispatched the Blazers by barely breaking a sweat.

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules


NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

After much discussion over whether or not the NBA should impose harsher penalties on teams for breaking the anti-tampering rules, an official decision has been made. The NBA Board of Governors passed a much more strict set of rules that will force teams to be compliant with the anti-tampering rules.

Among the new measures, the league will be selecting five teams per year that will undergo a "random audit", the maximum amount for a fine related to tampering has been raised to $10 million and team officials are required to save communications with agents for one full year.

The league will also retain the right to take the communication devices of owners if it is deemed necessary in investigations, though it has been stated that it is not something that Adam Silver wants to rely on moving forward. 

Though concrete details have not been released, possible punishments for tampering will reportedly include taking away draft picks, the voiding of contracts and more.

This is all in an attempt to create a more "even playing field" amid the belief that small-market teams are at a disadvantage when it comes to player movement. The new rules sound great but there is already fear among NBA GMs when it comes to how their privacy will be affected with this being a clear area of focus for the league. 

Along with the new, harsher tampering penalties, the league also announced that they have changed the language regarding traveling calls to "address the uncertainty around traveling." Another new rule announced was that teams are now required to announce their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes, in an effort to "increase transparency for teams, media and fans." Teams will still be allowed to change their lineups up to the last minute if a player gets hurt in pregame warmups. 

All of the new anti-tampering rules approved by the league on Friday were a response to this wild NBA offseason we just experienced. There were many deals agreed to right at the start of free agency, such as the Bulls with Thaddeus Young, and the timing of those deals had many owners wanting the league to make tampering a greater focus. To a greater extent, moves like Anthony Davis forcing his way to the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard orchestrating he and Paul George's move to the Clippers are what got this package of anti-tampering measures passed.

Adam Silver has picked up a reputation as an NBA Commissioner who is very willing to listen to new ideas and make changes, and Friday's events support that reputation as he and the league continue to look for the best ways to get NBA teams to be in compliance with the anti-tampering rules. 

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?


Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

The Jonas Brothers are in Chicago for concerts that are taking place on Thursday and Friday night, and they have enjoyed quite a week. This week the trio has enjoyed a nice golf outing at Village Links in Glen Ellyn, had some quality BBQ at Bub City and even got the amazing opportunity to play a touch football game at Soldier Field. But one particular Bulls guard is looking to add another fun experience to their Chicago trip.

The Bulls organization welcomed the Jonas Brothers to the city with a set of custom jerseys for the trio and their significant others and that's when Ryan Arcidiacono chimed in with his offer. 

Since the Jonas Brothers have already got to play some football on the actual Soldier Field grass, Arci figured they might as well keep the Chicago sports-themed fun going and shoot some hoops with him. 

Now, Arcidiacono didn't make it clear whether or not he was offering for the Jonas Brother to get some shots up with him at the United Center, where their shows take place on Thursday and Friday night. But, either way, his time is running out as they will be moving on to Jackson County, MO for their next stop on tour on September 21.

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