Bulls

Random News: Limitless in a Bull Market

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Random News: Limitless in a Bull Market

Monday, April 18, 2011
Posted: 9:08 a.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

No scenario? I see every scenario, I see 50 scenariosit puts me 50 moves ahead of you. Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) in the movie Limitless

If you have a chance to see the movie Limitless I suggest you do so. Better yet, watch the movie and then find a way to watch the fourth quarter of the Bulls game from Saturday afternoon. The similarities between the two might (ahem) blow your mind.

In the movie, Bradley Cooper plays a gangly, unkempt starving writer type named Eddie Morra. The guy is a mess. His love life is in shambles and he comes home every day to a filthy, one bedroom apartment that only Elwood Blues would appreciate. While walking on a New York street, he bumps into his ex-brother-in-law who comps him a magic pillof sorts. Figuring he has nothing to lose, Eddie swallows the tablet. Almost immediately, his brain kicks into a Ken Jennings-on-Jeopardy type of gear. He recalls specific information and long-since-forgotten data in a moments notice. The meds help him out of jams and catapults his career. In no time, hes a kingpin on Wall Street.

For three and a half quarters this weekend, the Bulls were Morra. They were disheveled. Awkward. Disappointing. And lets face it, losers. Maybe not losers in the figurative Dude, Im 40 and still live with my parents sense, but losers of the literal kind: the top overall seed of the NBA playoffs about to go down 1-0 to a patchwork quilt Indiana Pacers team lucky to own an 8-seed.

Then, the whole team took a magic pill and went Limitless.

You never want to be down 10 with three minutes left in the game, Bulls guard Kyle Korver said after Sundays practice. I think it shows a lot about the character of our teamto come back.

Korvers heroics were just one of the many side effects of that magic pill. His three pointer with 48.4 seconds left gave the Bulls their first lead of the day. Derrick Rose, a magic pill all by himself, set up Joakim Noah on a dunk and had a sweet layup himself to help chip away at the Indiana lead. The Bulls, somehow, flipped the switch at the right time as we have seen so many other times this year - and inexplicably pulled out a victory.
(Before I get too far ahead of myself, with all this talk of magic pills and tablets, let me throw this disclaimer that I do not endorse drug use in any way, magic pill or otherwise. I know, I know, maybe its a bit muchespecially for a blog. But hey, its the times we live inyou know? Have to be safe rather than sorry! And I mean that sincerely.)

Anyway, the only time I can remember a team collectively taking a magic pill like that was during Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals when the Bulls went ballistic on the Portland Trail Blazers. Their fourth quarter victory blitz was nothing short of astounding. Portland owned the game up to that point. Then Bobby Hansen Bobby Hansen - started hitting shots. Then Scottie Pippen took over at both ends of the floor. A 15-point deficit evaporated. Michael Jordan came in for a few dagger shots. Game over. The most intriguing part of Saturdays game is that we all knew it was coming. Deep down, we knew that the Bulls would find the magic pill and start dominating. Sure enough, they did. They were focused. Smart. Energized. I mean, did you have any doubt that Korver three-pointer?

One of the key plot points to Limitless is that Eddie is warned not to take too many of these pills because other people have succumbed to nasty side effects, including razor-sharp migraines (dont worry, if you havent seen it the movie, Im not spoiling all that much). At the very least, someone suggests, the doses should be spaced out and a person should never go cold turkey. And quite frankly, I hope the Bulls dont get addicted to their version of the magic pills either. Dont use them all at once, you know? Save them for, say, a series with the word Finals in it. Heck, a lot of pundits argue that the Bulls should have never been that position on Saturday to begin with:

The Bulls? The destiny team of 2011 about to lose on their home floor to the mediocre Indiana Pacers? Blasphemy!

But maybe this Bulls team just has an endless supply of magic. Its kind of their motif, you know? Theyve been known to get out to slow starts. They drag their feet. They let teams hang around. And just like in the movie Limitless, they know when to turn on the switch, refocus, and make everything clear again. They recognize when theyre in a muddled state. And theyre a force to be reckoned with when theyre in the zone. They take advantage of every scenario presented to them and take advantage accordingly.

As a fan, its pretty addicting to watch. If the Bulls can space out this sports prescription just right, their potential might be - dare I say - limitless.

Now, if only the Blackhawks could get a similar taste of the magic

Or something like that.

Reminder: you can catch game two of the Bulls-Pacers series right here on Comcast SportsNet. We will get you started with Bulls Pregame Live at 8pm, with tip-off to follow at 8:30. For the latest updates, be sure to follow our Bulls insider Aggrey Sam at csnchicago.com and on Twitter at CSNBullsInsider.

5 Bulls remaining must-watch games of 2019-20 NBA season

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NBC Sports Chicago

5 Bulls remaining must-watch games of 2019-20 NBA season

There are 23 games left, Bulls fans! Not that I’m counting, or anything. As we prepare to enter the final month of the NBA regular season, the Bulls are a Leap Day loss to the Knicks away – it could happen, we’ve seen it happen – from being 20 games under .500. Given the goals set forth by John Paxson and Jim Boylen on media day, I think it’s fair to say that the underachievement this season has been jarring.

Some fans have checked out and will tune back in for the draft lottery in May. To those of you I say: I get it. But there’s still basketball to be watched!

The Bulls’ remaining schedule is a gauntlet of playoff-bound teams including a daunting west coast trip in April. This likely means the playoffs are a pipe dream, regardless of what the math says in the “games back” column of the Eastern Conference standings. But this tough schedule in March and April also provides Bulls fans with some fun games to watch, with individual matchups that might just provide glimpses of hope for next season.

Here are 5 games I’m excited to watch in the remaining Bulls schedule. It’s the Pecking Order.

1. March 2 – Bulls vs Mavericks

I know, I know. It’s not fair that the Mavericks went straight from the Dirk Era to the young and wildly promising Luka Era with no gap in between while the Bulls languish in the third year of a rebuild that hasn’t taken off. It’s only human to wonder “what if” the Bulls had gotten luckier in the lottery or managed to make the trade Dallas did to land Luka Dončić two years ago. John Sabine doesn’t help matters with his nonstop Luka talk.

But I can’t help it. Luka, and this entire Mavericks team, is so much fun to watch. Their offensive efficiency this season isn’t getting nearly enough talk or respect. The Bulls kept it close when these teams met in January despite a modest 20-point night from Zach LaVine. Lauri Markkanen had one of his better games of the season with 26 and 9 rebounds.

Dončić didn’t even need his sidekick Kristaps Porziņģis, as he picked apart the Bulls to the tune of a 38-point triple double. And this was before defensive anchors Wendell Carter Jr. and Kris Dunn went down with injuries. Hopefully Wendell will be back on the court for this one and we’ll see how he handles Kristaps, who looked pretty darn good in February.

2. March 14 – Bulls @ Heat

The Bulls are 0-2 against Jimmy Butler’s new team so far this season. One of those was a backbreaker that saw 17 ties, 15 lead changes and went to overtime. The Bulls led for 37:38 of the game’s duration, while the Heat only led for 6:10. Zach LaVine drew a foul on Jimmy Butler and sank free throws to send the game to an extra frame, where Tyler Herro drilled three of his game-high five 3-pointers to seal the win for Miami.

The Heat have been reeling of late, including losses to Atlanta, Cleveland and Minnesota. But they’re still dynamite at home, where their record is 23-4. Could the Bulls manage to steal one in a trap game for the Heat? Zach didn’t play well in either matchup so far, scoring 15 and 18 points. How great would it be to see a LaVine-Butler duel like the one we saw three years ago when Zach was fresh off his ACL rehab and Jimmy was still with Minnesota? And if the Bulls come out on top? Sure would be fun to watch.

3. March 21 – Bulls @ Rockets

The Bulls were beat by Houston back in November in their first game after Otto Porter Jr. went down. James Harden was one assist shy of a 42-point triple-double and Russell Westbrook chipped in 26. The Bulls, meanwhile, had all five starters and seven total players score in double figures, but nobody scored more than 13. Yikes.

Since shipping off Clint Capela and going all-in on their small ball strategy, the Rockets have surged to just two games back of the second seed in the West. I can’t wait to see what Jim Boylen does with his game plan, as we’ve recently seen him use some give-guard lineups in similar fashion to the Rockets. Might he go back to this even if certain members of the Bulls frontcourt have returned from injury?

It would be a bonus to see a back-and-forth showdown of recently surging rookie Coby White and the always-going-100-mph Westbrook. Give us at least 48 minutes of this! And hopefully, a more respectable outcome.

4. March 23 – Bulls vs Nuggets

We actually get a twofer here, as the Bulls play Denver again on April 3rd as part of their five-game west coast trip. There’s one big reason I can’t wait to watch both matchups with the Nuggets: Wendell vs The Joker, Parts II and III.

In his NBA coming out party on Halloween night 2018, Wendell admirably battled Nikola Jokić in a devastating overtime loss. The Joker did his usual thing, putting up 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. But Wendell also gave him some challenges, forcing Jokić into an uncharacteristic six turnovers. The Bulls' seventh overall pick finished the night with a stuffed stat sheet of 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks. The Nuggets big man even paid his respects to the rook after the game.

We never got to see Part II of that matchup last season, as Wendell was out with an injury the second time these teams played. We’ve heard that Wendell is expected back in the lineup as soon as this Saturday against the Knicks after recovering from his high ankle sprain. I cannot WAIT to watch Wendell go at The Joker twice in the final few weeks of the season. Please, Jim Boylen. Let Wendell go at him.

5. April 8 – Bulls @ Lakers

I want revenge. That loss to the Lakers way back on November 5 still bothers me. It’s bothered me all season. Instead of closing out a solid win over LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the juggernaut Lakers, Bulls fans watched the team let a fourth quarter lead slip away with our primary starters watching from the bench. Boylen said he had "15 guys to develop” when he explained his rotation after the loss.

One potential hiccup here: a revenge win will mean a LOT less if LeBron and AD are managing loads in the final games of the season as they prepare for their title push. I hope they’re playing, and I hope we pay them back.

Thanks for reading. Let’s close out these final 23 together, Bulls Nation! See red, be good.

After 30 years, Hank Gathers is never far from Bulls' Chip Schaefer's mind

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NBC Sports Chicago

After 30 years, Hank Gathers is never far from Bulls' Chip Schaefer's mind

It doesn’t take an anniversary for Chip Schaefer to think about Hank Gathers.

“It’s never really far from my mind,” Schaefer said in a recent interview.

Schaefer is the Bulls’ director of sports performance, working his second stint with the franchise after serving as the athletic trainer for the dynasty. But one of the Deerfield, Ill., native’s first jobs was athletic trainer and strength coach at Loyola Marymount University from 1987-90.

In fact, Schaefer was the first non-player to Gathers’ side on that fateful March 4, 1990 day when the star forward collapsed on the court during a West Coast Athletic Conference tournament game and died moments later due to a heart condition called cardiomyopathy.

Wednesday marks 30 years since Gathers’ death. On Saturday, Loyola Marymount will unveil a statue honoring him. The family invited Schaefer to the ceremony, no small gesture in Schaefer’s world.

But with the Bulls in New York and Schaefer having already squeezed a trip into Los Angeles this week for Kobe Bryant’s memorial service, Schaefer merely sent his appreciation and respects to the family.

“It doesn’t take much for me to think of him,” Schaefer said. “Every time we’re in Philadelphia, his hometown, I think of him. Every time I flip around the TV and see a Loyola Marymount game, I think of him. I run into people, Jay Hillock, one of (the Bulls’) scouts, was an assistant coach on the staff, and I think of Hank. He was special.”

Schaefer isn’t merely referring to Gathers’ athletic ability, which had NBA talent written all over it.

“He was really an extraordinary personality,” Schaefer said. “He had just an unbelievable sense of humor and a wonderful gift for mimicry.

“I remember one year we had the typical college, end-of-season awards night. It was supposed to be MC’d by one of the local sports anchors. He had to cancel at the last minute. Hank wound up MC’ing it. And he killed it. He could’ve done Vegas with the bit. He had a whole (Muhammad) Ali- (Howard) Cosell bit. It was just unbelievable. He had something funny for every player. And he was riffing, completely spontaneous. I remember nights like that where his rich personality and wit and intelligence was on full display.”

Much like with Bryant, who Schaefer worked with for 12 seasons with the Lakers, he is trying to remember the happy times. When Loyola Marymount hired Schaefer from the esteemed Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, he was only a few years older than Gathers.

“Hank was actually a patient that I met at the clinic. I think he had patellar tendinitis. And we really hit it off,” Schaefer recalled. “That Spring, the athletic trainer before me (at Loyola Marymount) was let go. Hank came in all bubbly and was all excited about me applying for the job.

“So we had the next three years together where we continued to build the special relationships you often build in this field. There were a lot of really personal moments. Hank and Bo (Kimble) grew and we kind of shocked the world in the NCAA tournament that 1987-88 season. We built a national spotlight.”

Indeed, Gathers led the nation in scoring and rebounding in 1988-89. And then Kimble led an emotional run to the Elite Eight in 1990, shooting a free throw left-handed to honor Gathers’ memory.

Schaefer attended Bryant’s memorial service by taking a red-eye flight so as not to miss any Bulls’ commitments. Saturday’s game against the Knicks doesn’t allow him to do the same for Gathers, although he grew emotional when asked what the invitation meant to him.

After all, since Schaefer was one of five people who worked on Gathers outside the gym after his collapse, he was named as one of 10 people and three medical practices in a lawsuit. Schaefer knew he did nothing wrong and followed proper emergency protocol by the book, and Gather’s mother, Lucille, ultimately settled the $32.5 million wrongful-death lawsuit for $545,000.

“I’m the one there along with the doctors on the floor trying to help revive and resuscitate him, so you never know how a family is going to react to anybody that is associated with that,” Schaefer said. “But I’ve heard from Hank’s brother, Derrick, occasionally with warmth and affection and magnanimity and grace. That’s really something. After three decades, that Lucille would even remember my name much less think, ‘It would mean a lot to have him here,’ I’m touched beyond words about that.”