Taj Gibson didn't want to shoot it, but Dwyane Wade was blocking off two defenders while encouraging the man doing the dirty work to take some scoring glory.
"Shoot it, Taj. Shoot it," Wade said, before Gibson's midrange jumper found net late in the fourth quarter, giving the Bulls an eight-point lead.
Moments later, Wade did the dirty work of his own, spinning in the lane and hitting a one-handed glasser while being pounded by Anthony Davis to put the Bulls up 10—an unlikely occurrence if one saw the first three quarters from Wade.
Wade turned into Mr. Fourth Quarter when the Bulls needed to end their three-game losing streak, going 7-for-10 in the last 12 minutes to help the Bulls to a 107-99 win over the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday afternoon at the United Center.
"I'm happy for him, just as he's happy with me," said Jimmy Butler of Wade. "He wasn't making shots early but he kept with it. Those shots that he take, they're gonna go in, as they did. And we feed the monster on this roster."
Butler looked fresh and rejuvenated despite missing the better part of three games and losing 10 pounds due to the flu that's ravaged the Bulls and the NBA, scoring 28 points with eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks in 39 minutes.
"Jimmy was great, he came out aggressive," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Butler looked like a new man from the tip, getting a shooter's bounce on his second shot of the game, hitting two triples in the first quarter and generally being all over the place.
He didn't waste time to work himself into the game.
"Having him back out there really shows how much he means to the team," Hoiberg said. "You can tell how important a player is based on the difference of how we play when he's not out there."
He ceded space for Wade in the fourth after a 15-point second half lead was cut to five at 91-86. With Wade having Sunday's game in Memphis off, he was able to empty his reservoir after a rough start.
"I emptied the clip tonight," Wade joked.
With fadeaway jumpers and slithering his way to the rim, Wade finished with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes, overcoming a two-for-13 start that had Butler probably feeling like he didn't have much help scoring wise.
"He got hot at the right time," Hoiberg said. "He was trying to help us in every way possible. We played through him and Jimmy all through the fourth and it clearly worked for us."
But the Bulls dominated the glass early and often with Gibson's season-high 16 boards (15 points) leading the way. Robin Lopez grabbed 10 and even Doug McDermott had seven as the Bulls outrebounded the Pelicans 62-42—making up for their 43 percent shooting night and unusual 57 percent from the free-throw line performance.
"The biggest thing tonight was the great job our guys did rebounding," Hoiberg said. "It was a physical basketball game. Only shooting 42 percent, we still found a way to win. We won other battles, especially the rebounding one."
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Once leading 63-48 in the third, they had to survive an onslaught by the two players with Chicago ties, as Anthony Davis kept pouring it on and E'Twaun Moore made his return to Chicago for the first time since signing with the Pelicans as a free agent this summer.
Telling by the way he played, the Bulls could probably use his perimeter shooting and savvy as he hit his first five shots from the field and scoring 16 overall.
Four of those makes were from the 3-point line and with the way the Bulls have struggled to hit the perimeter shot this year, hindsight is always 20-20.
Davis continued to be the biggest inside-out problem in the league, showing the Bulls no mercy despite being questionable after getting hurt in their win over the New York Knicks, leading all scorers with 36 points and 14 rebounds.
Moore's 16 off the bench was second for the Pelicans, which probably illustrates the state of affairs for Davis' Pelicans as they seem to have a difficult time building around him.
One could say the Bulls have that issue on a smaller level with Butler, but the afternoon showed how important he is to them, and what they'll need to actually make a push for the playoffs.