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.

Five observations from Bulls-Sixers: Well, at least the first quarter was good

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USA TODAY

Five observations from Bulls-Sixers: Well, at least the first quarter was good

Here are five observations from the Bulls' season-opener loss to the Sixers on Thursday night.

1. How about that first quarter?

In what could wind up being the most exciting quarter all year, the Bulls began the year with a 41-point explosion. The Bulls shot 63 percent in the quarter, at one point scoring on an absurd 11 consecutive possessions. Bobby Portis scored 13 points and hit all five shots, while Zach LaVine added 15 of his own. The ball was moving, they played quickly and caught Philadelphia out of position at times and took care of the ball. The fun times didn't last, but it wound up being the highest scoring first quarter in a Bulls season opener. It was fun. The other three quarters? Well, the first quarter was fun.

2. The defense is as bad as we thought it was

Granted, Kris Dunn is far and away the Bulls' best defender and was out while attending the birth of his baby boy. But this was still about as bad a defensive performance as the Bulls could have had, even against an offensive juggernaut like the Sixers. Communication was off almost from the start, and they always looked two steps behind. The Sixers got just about anything they wanted in transition, meaning it was a moot point that they struggled from beyond the arc. From Jabari Parker to Zach LaVine, it wasn't pretty. They're going to struggle all year long. Dunn isn't going to make enough of a difference. Shoutout to Wendell Carter's block on Ben Simmons, the lone defensive highlight of the night

3. Bobby Portis' bet is off to a good start

Portis was guilty of an ugly defensive performance, as Dario Saric posted a monster line by out-hustling his counterpart much of the night. But offensively Portis continues to shine after a great preseason. Portis, now officially in a contract year, went for 20 points and 10 rebounds and added a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Without Lauri Markkanen he's the Bulls' No. 2 scorer behind LaVine. We'll add her, too, that LaVine continued to look smooth on offense. He had 29 points on 19 shots and had seven of the Bulls' 12 free throw attempts.

4. The backup point guard job is up for grabs

Cam Payne's leash is incredibly long. He's the best option for now once Kris Dunn eventually returns, but it's probably time for Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis to get a look. Payne finished 0-for-4 with five assists and a turnover in 22 minutes. No one was expecting Payne to match Ben Simmons stat for stat (Simmons went for his third career-triple double in four games against the Bulls). But the ball routinely stopped when it got into Payne's hands, and he didn't seem to know where to go once he pushed in transition. His speed is a positive, but once he gets to his spot he struggled to make the right play. And he's a clear negative defensively. Arcidiacono and Ulis aren't exactly Gary Payton, but they deserve looks at some point in the near future. Arcidiacono had 8 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists in 28 minutes. That came against Philly's second unit, but he was decidely better.

5. Jabari Parker will want a do-over

Friday feels like forever ago. For all Portis did well to close the preseason, it was gone on Thursday. Parker's final line is a bit misleading because of the points he scored when the game was well out of reach. The truth was Parker's shot selection early was awful, and his defense was a real liability. It was the "cons" side of his scouting report played out on the court. There's still hope he can improve, of course, and Hoiberg will need to find the right combinations to make him successful. But we can probably rule out him at small forward if he's having trouble staying in front of power forwards.

Bulls turn to Cam Payne as they take on Sixers

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USA TODAY

Bulls turn to Cam Payne as they take on Sixers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Bulls’ starting point guard missing the team’s season opener is less than ideal, but that is the dilemma Fred Hoiberg and company are faced with.

Hoiberg made the announcement during shoot around that Kris Dunn would miss the first game of his third NBA season for personal reasons, but noted that his absence is “excused.”

The Bulls will turn to Cameron Payne as they get set to play the Sixers in Philadelphia Thursday night. The 24-year-old guard out of Murray State will be tasked with running the offense against one of the better defensive teams in the league.

Because of injuries and the numbers game at guard, Payne hasn’t had a chance to show Bulls fans much since he came over from Oklahoma City in a trade that sent Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Thunder.

“I feel like I can be way better,” Payne said when asked about the opportunity to show what he can do. “I know I didn’t make a lot of shots but it’s really not about that. It’s about getting my team involved and make sure everyone gets the ball in their spots to contribute.”

Payne showed flashes over the last 22 games of the 2017-18 season (14 starts), shooting 42 percent from three and averaging 4.6 assists per game in that stretch. The shooting stroke didn’t show up early in the preseason for Payne.

He was better in the team’s final exhibition against Denver and has shown enough to Hoiberg to earn the starting nod. He’ll have his work cut out for him tonight.

“Obviously we’ve been working on different coverages based on having a full roster, but things like this happen,” Hoiberg said when asked what this does to his game prep. “It’s going to be electric in here. They’re going to come out and play extremely hard and extremely physical. That’s who they are and we have to be ready for that. It’s a little bit of shock and awe with (the Sixers). You have to weather that first storm and hopefully give ourselves a chance with great effort.”

After Payne, the Bulls will have Ryan Arcidiacono as the first point guard off the bench. They’ll also have the services of newcomer Tyler Ulis, who will be in uniform tonight. Hoiberg mentioned that he feels comfortable with Zach Lavine bringing the ball up as well. He also mentioned that Jabari Parker will have his hands on the ball an awful lot with the team’s second unit.

The season hasn’t even started yet and the Bulls are already missing several key players. After an impressive rookie season, Lauri Markkanen will start the season on the shelf with a high grade lateral elbow sprain. Denzel Valentine will also miss tonight’s game with an ankle injury. The team may have Cristiano Felicio, also dealing with an ankle injury, depending on his pregame workout goes.

“It’s not ideal but it is what it is,” Hoiberg said. “It happens at this level. You just have to go out and do the best job you can. It’s an opportunity for our guys to step up with two of our better players out of the lineup – really three with Denzel as a guy that can make plays in that second unit.”