Bulls: Jimmy Butler named to All-Star team while Pau Gasol misses out


Bulls: Jimmy Butler named to All-Star team while Pau Gasol misses out

Jimmy Butler has tried his best to hide the disappointment from not being selected a starter on the Eastern Conference All-Star team after the results from fan voting were revealed last week, but there was little doubt he’d be named as a reserve.

“Nope. I have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Butler at the Bulls’ morning shootaround held at UCLA’s campus.

“If I’m an All-Star, God meant for it to happen. If I’m not, I’m going on vacation with my brothers.”

Butler will have to put off that vacation in some sunny warm environment and pack up his parka for Toronto, since he was selected by the coaches as a reserve along with Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Toronto’s Chris Bosh, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas and Washington’s John Wall Thursday afternoon.

[SHOP: Buy a Jimmy Butler jersey]

“Nobody knows what is going to happen, let’s get that out of the way now,” Butler said. “When the time presents itself, we can talk about it then.”

TNT’s Charles Barkley called Butler the best shooting guard in the NBA and said he deserved to be in the starting lineup but fans voted for Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry for the guard spots. Butler’s numbers have risen again for his second consecutive All-Star appearance, averaging 22.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in a league-leading 38.3 minutes per contest.

“He has his opinion along with everybody else so it’s fine with me,” Butler said. “Everybody knows how hard I play, what I’m trying to accomplish. Just being an All-Star period is enough for me.”

Pau Gasol made a late push in the fan voting and almost repeated as starter but missed out by 360 votes. Earlier in the day he was optimistic the coaches would vote him in, while rightfully bemoaning the big men being shut out in the voting due to the NBA removing the center position from the ballot.

“The way it is now, it’s point guards, shooting guards and small forwards in the starting lineup. It’s unfair for the bigger guys who play well and work hard, but we don’t have that type of shot,” Gasol said. “It is a game where people want to see those flashy guys. I fell short so let’s see what happens if the coaches pay justice (laughs). Either way, I’m happy and proud of how I’m performing this year, at a high level, regardless of whether I’m on the team or not.”

[MORE: Beyond the Box Score: Turnover Troubles]

Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins said the same thing earlier this week in an interview with Yahoo’s Marc Spears, as he wasn’t voted despite averaging over 27 points and 11 rebounds.

“It’s disrespectful to big men,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “It’s not really fair. But that’s how it is.”

“Of course, it’s going to be most winning teams’ [players], the most popular players [selected]. The other guys that play for the Milwaukee Bucks, and in our case the Sacramento Kings, who are playing just as good basketball, will never be seen. I don’t think it’s fair.”

Cousins was named as a reserve, somewhat righting the wrong but Gasol was on the outside looking in, missing out on his sixth All-Star appearance while Butler made his second. 

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut


Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.