Bulls

NBA confirms foul on Jimmy Butler in waning moments of Bulls' loss to Clippers

NBA confirms foul on Jimmy Butler in waning moments of Bulls' loss to Clippers

The controversial play that wound up being a powder keg leading to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg’s ejection Saturday night was confirmed by the NBA.

Jimmy Butler’s contact on Clippers forward Blake Griffin that was called a foul by official Marc Davis with 20.8 seconds left in the Clippers’ 102-95 win at Staples Center was reviewed and subsequently deemed a correct call in the NBA’s two-minute report.

The NBA reviews every call in the last two minutes of close games for the sake of transparency, and although it appears there was minimal contact between Griffin and Butler as Griffin flailed and faded away on a desperation shot with the shot clock running down, it was enough to be deemed a foul.

After Griffin hit two free throws to make it a 99-95 Clippers lead and the Bulls missed on their next attempt to bring it closer, Bulls forward Taj Gibson and Hoiberg were tagged with technical fouls by Davis.

It was Hoiberg’s first ejection as a coach and he only tallied one technical foul last year, so the turn of events were surprising to say the least.

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As for the play, Butler didn’t believe he fouled Griffin although he didn’t want to say anything to get himself fined by the NBA for speaking out against officials.

Butler’s teammates were a little more critical of Davis’ behavior.

Dwyane Wade said Davis should’ve walked away from Hoiberg when Hoiberg began voicing his displeasure about the call, citing the emotional nature of things.

Gibson said Davis “bailed (Griffin) out” with the call and also stated he didn’t know why he picked up the technical foul because he didn’t say anything to Davis.

It’s worth noting Davis ejected Washington Wizards point guard John Wall from a game recently, claiming Wall cursed at him after a call although the NBA couldn’t find any evidence of profanity upon review.

Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo was suspended for bumping Davis in the final moments of a playoff game when Rondo was a member of the Boston Celtics in 2012, so Davis is seemingly no stranger to testy moments and exchanges.

In this case, the NBA, as it’s often wont to do, backed up their official, although the replays of Butler’s contact and Hoiberg’s reputation seem to say otherwise.

NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Top of the 2020 NBA Draft still a mystery

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USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Top of the 2020 NBA Draft still a mystery

One thing we know for sure about the 2020 NBA Draft: no team executives will be losing sleep on the eve of the lottery hoping to land the first or second pick like a year ago when the top prizes where generational power forward Zion Williamson and point guard extraordinaire Ja Morant.

Matter of fact, teams might prefer not to land one of the top three picks so they can pay less guaranteed money to a player who may not have a huge impact,

As we get closer to the start of conference tournaments around the country, no player has really distinguished himself as the clear cut No. 1 choice. Georgia’s Anthony Edwards gets credit for being available to play all season, but his poor shooting percentages from the field and the 3-point line for a bad college team hardly scream top overall pick.

Injuries and eligibility questions have kept a few of the top prospects off the court, so NBA executives will put more emphasis than ever on the information they gather during the draft combine and individual workouts.

Here’s a snapshot at where things stand in late February with our fourth mock draft.

Bulls rule out Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison and more vs. Hornets

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USA Today

Bulls rule out Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison and more vs. Hornets

The Bulls' injury housekeeping continues.

After Wednesday afternoon practice, Jim Boylen ruled out Otto Porter Jr. (foot), Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle), Chandler Hutchison (shoulder) and Denzel Valentine (hamstring) for Thursday night's matchup with the Charlotte Hornets.

Porter (full) and Carter (limited) both participated in practice. Carter had repeatedly expressed a desire to return in the Bulls' first game out of the break, but it appears he's not quite there yet.

While Boylen said he hasn't decided on starters for the Hornets game yet, he made a point to add that Daniel Gafford has "got his legs back" and that his rim protection will be much-needed to remedy the team's precipitous defensive slide — in five games since Kris Dunn went down with an MCL sprain, they're dead last in the NBA in defensive rating (123.2).

Hutchison had filled in nicely for Dunn over the five games leading up to the All-Star break, but something evidently re-flared up in the shoulder that caused him to miss 17 games between November and January of this season. With 19 appearances in a row dating back to Jan. 6, Hutchison was one game away from matching his career high for consecutive games played. Alas.

"We have struggled with new guys playing and some of our experienced guys not out there. So, we will just keep hammering away at it," Boylen said of the team's recent defensive woes. "I think we all know our system is solid and been productive, but personnel is a big part of that. So, we'll just keep working on our guys in that system and keep trying to perfect it."

This news dump comes on the heels of a report from the Bulls this morning that extended Dunn's reevaluation timeline to four-to-six weeks after an MRI and reexamination on his right knee on Feb. 14. The Bulls get the benefit of three straight under-.500 opponents (Hornets, Suns, Wizards) out of the break, but if guys don't start getting back soon, matters could devolve.

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