Bulls

Bulls players voice displeasure over Eric Bledsoe dunking after the buzzer of Bucks' nine-point victory

Bulls players voice displeasure over Eric Bledsoe dunking after the buzzer of Bucks' nine-point victory

MILWAUKEE — Eric Bledsoe burned the Bulls with 31 points and eight assists in the Bucks' 124-115 victory Monday night at Fiserv Forum.

The Bucks guard made arguably the biggest play of the night when he beat Zach LaVine and Coby White to a loose ball and put back a Giannis Antetokounmpo's miss with 1 minute, 33 seconds remaining, pushing the Bucks' lead back to five points.

But it's what Bledsoe did after the buzzer that futher bothered the Bulls, who took exception to him dunking as the final horn of the Bucks' nine-point victory sounded.

"We all know what it is," Young said. "They had the game won. There are some things you just don't do at the end of games just out of common courtesy. We'll move on. It is what it is. It happened. We just have to be ready when we play them in four or five days. We gotta be ready to get a win."

Young walked to midcourt with his arms outstretched, looking in Bledsoe's direction. Coach Jim Boylen, who could be seen talking to some Bucks after the buzzer, said he had no reaction to the play. Young said the move bothered him even though the points didn't count.

"That's with any team that cares about the morals and principles of the game," Young said. "If we did that and the score was the opposite, they'd say the same thing. It is what it is. We just gotta be ready in four or five days. We gotta get a win. That's the only way we can follow it back up now."

The Bucks visit the United Center Monday. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said that the Bulls basically need to live with what happened.

"There's a 10-second differential when Giannis shot the shot. So, I guess we could just dribble it, send the ball down and take it on the side. And then they could do the same thing with eight seconds," Budenholzer said of the final sequence before Bledsoe's dunk. "So, I guess if they're going to try to score with eight seconds to go in a 10-point game, seems like etiquette's broken everywhere. We play them three more times. If that motivates them, good for them."

But Bucks guard Kyle Korver said some players talked about it briefly in the postgame locker room.

“I do think there’s basketball karma,” Korver said. “You want to do the right things.”

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Bucks dominate the Bulls down the stretch despite great 3-point shooting

Bucks dominate the Bulls down the stretch despite great 3-point shooting

The Bulls dropped to 4-8 on the season with a hard-fought 124-115 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. Here are four observations from the loss:

The flood gates have officially opened from 3-point range

The Bulls' struggles from 3-point range have been well-documented, but there was always a belief that if Chicago's premier marksmen could trend closer to their career averages from deep, the offense would be one of the best in the league. The Bulls didn't blow the Bucks out of the water with their 3-point shooting, but it was effectively the only thing that kept them in the game in the first place. 

Chicago shot an impressive 41.9% from the 3-point range, especially considering that so many of the attempts from Zach LaVine and Coby White—who combined to shoot 10-for-22— were high degree-of-difficulty shots. 

Over their last two games, the Bulls are shooting 32-for-76 (42.1%) from 3-point range. While they are not likely to shoot above 40% from 3-point range all season, the Bulls are a better shooting team than their 32.4% 3-point percentage coming into Thursday night indicated. They finally appear to be righting the ship in terms of their aggressive perimeter shooting. 

Tomas Satoransky continues to show his value

Tomas Satoranksy wasn't extremely aggressive in his first month as a Bull, averaging 5.8 points and 4.4 assists per game as he eased his way into a lineup full of players he had never played with before (sans the currently injured Otto Porter). While it is still extremely early in the season, Sato appears to be turning a corner in terms of his comfortability with the team.

Satoransky helped get the Bulls into an offensive groove early on, and his playing style has also seemed to rub off on Zach LaVine a bit (and again, just a bit). In the first half, Satoransky and LaVine combined for 15 points and 7 assists, and, in the team's multi-ballhandler system, he and LaVine seem well on their way to making a great duo in the backcourt.

The initial thought with the Sato signing was that he would be the perfect floor general to direct the show, and so far that is proving true.

He finished the night with 10 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals, and continues to provide an excellent mix of outside shooting and defensive IQ. Specifically, Sato was great on Thursday using his ability to "dig" from the weakside in help defense to strip Bucks players who were rolling to the rim. We are only 12 games into the season, and it appears he may already be outplaying his current contract. 

The third quarter landslide showed up yet again

The Bulls racked up 8 turnovers in the third quarter, which led to a run of Milwaukee dominance, outscoring the Bulls 32-20 in the period. Despite shooting below 15% from 3-point range in the third, the Bucks pummeled Chicago's reeling defense, finishing the period with a +10 advantage in points in the paint. 

Along with the turnover issue, the Bulls went ice-cold in the third from the field, shooting 33% in that frame and only getting to the free throw line four times compared to the Bucks 17 third-quarter free throw attempts. Overall, the Bucks dominated the Bulls with "big boy basketball," finishing with a massive +40 advantage in points in the paint by the end of the game. But Milwaukee's energy and aggressiveness in getting downhill during that third-quarter run effectively sealed the game for the Bucks. 

(Bonus observation) Lauri Markkanen disappears yet again but shows a few positive signs

The biggest issue for Lauri Markkanen this season — outside of simply not hitting his shots — has been an extreme lack of aggressiveness for a player perceived to be a franchise cornerstone. His game wasn't impressive enough to merit an 'official observation' but it was intriguing enough to be touched on.

It was recently reported that Markkanen is fighting through an injury right now, but even so, it was quite jarring to see him only take two field-goal attempts in the second half of this game, missing both.

Despite being quiet on offense in the second half, Lauri still finished the game a +4, scoring only 11 points, but leading the team in both rebounds (8) and free throw attempts (6). The free throw attempts, specifically, are encouraging, seeing as he was already averaging a career-high 4.6 free throw attempts per game coming into Thursday night. 

He shot 33.3% from 3-point range on the evening which, while not great, was actually better than his woeful season average from deep (27.3%). Whether or not Markkanen's shooting starts to turnaround quickly, getting to the charity stripe will help help Markkanen gain confidence as he continues to try to get back to his usual standards. 

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Former Bull Carmelo Anthony reportedly signs non-guaranteed contract with Trailblazers

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USA Today

Former Bull Carmelo Anthony reportedly signs non-guaranteed contract with Trailblazers

With the rise of social media and advanced analytics, the athletes we love and revere have never been so accessible, relatable or entertaining — both on and off the court. 

Being a basketball fan in 2019 has become more than blindly supporting the tall men wearing the good colors. Now, we have the privilege of deeply knowing and connecting with not just ‘our team,’ but also with the eclectic group of personalities that make up that team. In them, we see a reflection of our city, our values, ourselves.

So, when former Bulls find success in the latter stages of their careers, it’s become common practice for the fanbase to celebrate them. In his last two games in the United Center as a visitor, Derrick Rose received, incredibly, both a standing ovation and MVP chants. Joakim Noah has received similar treatment in his return(s) to Chicago. Last month, Luol Deng signed a one-day contract to retire a Bull, to tremendous acclaim. The list goes on.

Well, Chicago fans, rejoice. After over a year of searching, former Bull Carmelo Anthony has found a new home. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Anthony signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night. 

Anthony’s time with the Bulls wasn’t long, but he certainly left his mark on the city and organization. In XX games with the Bulls, Anthony averaged XX points, XX rebounds and XX assists on XX% shooting. (We’ll update those figures later — assuming Basketball Reference is still updating Anthony’s player page.)

Best of luck on the west coast, Melo, and on whatever might come after. The city of Chicago is behind you the rest of the way.

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