Bulls suffer third blowout loss to Bucks this month

Bulls suffer third blowout loss to Bucks this month

Well, at least the Bulls cured their ills of having slow starts in their recent losses.

They’ll have to hope that 2017 brings about more solutions for the other three quarters, though.

The Bulls finished up their 2016 portion of their schedule with a new starting lineup and wonderful new vibes for the first 12 minutes but finished out with the same old familiar result against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center, losing 116-96 Saturday night.

Fred Hoiberg made the expected decision of benching Rajon Rondo in favor of Michael Carter-Williams and it provided a momentary energy boost — emphasis on “momentary”.

Carter-Williams had a pretty no-look flip pass to Dwyane Wade in the first quarter from halfcourt that resulted in a dunk on a play in which both he and Jimmy Butler dove on the floor for loose balls.

In general, the Bulls played with more fervor to start the game, shooting 48 percent and taking a 10-point lead. Butler had a low-key start but finished with 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

But it wasn’t sustainable as the Bucks held the Bulls to 17 of 44 shooting in the middle two quarters — as the Bulls again failed to identify the rare hot shooter. Friday it was Doug McDermott who went AWOL. Saturday it was Nikola Mirotic who started off three for three in the first but didn’t get another shot until the start of the fourth.

Perhaps he was quarantined off by the massive arms of Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was literally everywhere at all times.

There may be no bigger matchup problem for the Bulls in the East than the Bucks and Antetokounmpo signifies that more than anybody, as he finished with 35 points on just 19 shots to go along with nine rebounds, seven assists, seven blocks and a measly two steals.

After the short surge, the game drastically got away from the Bulls as the Bucks kept pushing, kept jumping and never stopped running.

[MORE BULLS: Rajon Rondo on receiving explanation for benching: 'Negative']

Rookie Malcolm Brogdon, a second-round find for the Bucks, had a triple-double with 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes

Antetokounmpo had five blocks in the first half, often triggering their potent fast break. And when he wasn’t underneath the Bulls’ fingertips, he was above the rim — on both ends. Rising above for rebounds, flying over and posing for dunks.

At one moment in the third quarter, with his team firmly in control of whatever the Bulls were doing, he smiled and rubbed his hands together like they were cold — but he had his hands on the ball and game so much, he probably didn’t know what it was like to be without it.

He was aided by a familiar face to this area in Jabari Parker, who scored 27 with five rebounds and three assists

Parker, the Chicago native who had a slow start to his career after a storied prep stint, has truly begun to find his footing and stuck it right in the middle of the Bulls’ defense, using his 250-pound frame to bully the Bulls inside and while on the perimeter just rose above defenders to unleash a silky smooth jumper.

He hit a triple midway through the fourth with the shot clock running down, easily solving the Bulls’ defense after the first quarter. In sharp contrast to the Bulls’ decline, the Bucks scored 58 points in the middle two quarters and shot 22 of 37 from the field, with Greg Monroe scoring 15 with 12 rebounds off the bench.

It became fairly obvious where things were headed — and they went there quite quickly.

Onto 2017, uncertain days ahead for these Chicago Bulls.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Vincent Goodwill previews free agency


Bulls Talk Podcast: Vincent Goodwill previews free agency

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kevin Anderson are joined by Yahoo Sports NBA insider Vincent Goodwill

0:45 - Vinnie on basketball never stopping

1:55 - On Bulls selection of Coby White

2:45 - Dynamic between Kris Dunn and White

5:30 - Are Bulls likely to bring in a veteran point guard to mentor White?

7:30 - What kind of contract is Pat Beverley looking at?

9:40 - Will Bulls have enough cap space to sign three free agents?

11:50 - Vinnie on his vote for Zach LaVine for Most Improved Player

13:25 - On the NBA Awards show and its timing

15:45 - On Giannis and the Bucks, where can he still develop?

18:05 - On Kevin Durant and his options in free agency

21:40 - Why Durant will want to control his own destiny

23:30 - Vinnie on Jimmy Butler and where he may end up

26:10 - Vinnie on why he didn’t play in the media tournament during the NBA Finals

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast


The 1995-1998 Bulls belong on the list of 10 greatest lineups in NBA history


The 1995-1998 Bulls belong on the list of 10 greatest lineups in NBA history

Listen, Tom. We like you. A lot. You do incredible work and you give us shoutouts. But we had to read through your latest piece, “Ranking the 10 greatest lineups in NBA history,” a few times before realizing you had a massive omission.

We present the following: The 1995-1998 Chicago Bulls.

PG: Ron Harper
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: Scottie Pippen
PF: Toni Kukoc
C: Dennis Rodman

Total All-Star appearances: 23
MVP Players: 1
DPOY Players: 2
Finals MVP Players: 1
Titles won together: 3

We thank you for mentioning Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in your piece. They were pretty good, we agree. We’ll dig a little deeper on those two to begin our argument. From 1995 to 1998, Jordan averaged 29.6 points on 48% shooting, 6.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.9 steals. He also didn’t miss a game, playing in 304 of a possible 304 games. He was also named league MVP twice and Finals MVP all three years. Pippen wasn’t too shabby a sidekick, averaging 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in that three-year span.

These guys were all-time greats, but you might have forgotten that they weren’t alone.

All Dennis Rodman did in this three-season span was lead the league in rebounding all three years (15.3 per game). He wasn’t the same All-Star talent that he was in his Detroit days – also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year – and his San Antonio stint but he was still critical to the Bulls’ success. The Worm had a little bit of Draymond Green in him, not afraid to take on any defensive assignment to allow the Bulls a little more versatility. He got assignments of Shawn Kemp and Karl Malone in the Finals.

Kukoc is where we bend the rules a bit, but we hope you’ll allow it (mostly because our argument turns to dust if we need to talk about Luc Longley). Kukoc was the 1996 Sixth Man of the Year (hey, you said they could be closing lineups, too) and was a model of consistency in those three seasons. He averaged 13.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists and gave the Bulls another ball handler and distributor, as well as versatile defense. He’s at times the forgotten gem of the Jerry Krause era, and he’s more than just a funny story from the Dream Team era.

The Bulls had their Iguodala, too. Ron Harper averaged a modest 7.7 points and 2.7 assists in these three seasons with the Bulls. But he also did it with a 14.9% usage rate. That was lower than Bill Wennington’s usage rate of 17.0% in that same span! Let’s not forget that Harper had averaged 19.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists in eight seasons with the Cavaliers and Clippers before signing with the Jordan-less Bulls. He would have had a much larger and more effective role had Jordan not returned (we’re glad he did). In 1998, Harper also had the pleasure of guarding Gary Payton and John Stockton in the Bulls’ three Finals victories. Have you had enough of the Iggy comparisons yet?

So there it is. Five incredible players to put together three remarkable championship seasons that included the Greatest Team in the History of Basketball (our capitalization intended). Feel free to update your story as needed.