Tom Thibodeau

Former Bulls in the playoffs: Dwyane Wade turns back the clock in Philly

wadeheat.png
USA TODAY

Former Bulls in the playoffs: Dwyane Wade turns back the clock in Philly

The NBA Playoffs are just three days old and yet there's a contingent of former Bulls who are alreayd leaving their mark on the postseason.

As the first in a series, we won't roll these out every day, but any time one of the dozen or so former Bulls in the postseason has a big night, we'll let you know right here.

Dwyane Wade, Heat: Flash turned back the clock in Miami's Game 2 victory in Philadelphia, scoring 28 points on 11 of 16 shooting in a 113-103 victory. Wade scored 21 points in the first half and made nine of his first 10 attempts, and he closed out the Sixers with an 18-footer to give the Heat an eight-point lead inside a minute to play. It was Wade's first 20+ point game since March 6, and the 28 points were the most he had scored since he scored 31 against the Kings last season with the Bulls. Miami won't necessarily need Wade to go off like that again to win the series, but it sure helped Monday night.

James Johnson, Heat: Not to be outdone by Wade, former first-round pick James Johnson was equally as good. In addition to being tasked with guarding Ben Simmons, Johnson finished with 18 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting night, sive rebounds, five assists and three steals. He's made all four 3-point attempts in the series, and the Sixers haven't had much of an answer for him as they focus their attention on players like Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson and now Wade. He could become the series' X-factor.

Nikola Mirotic, Pelicans: We're a few days late on this one, but Mirotic continued his red-hot April with a solid showing in Game 1 against the Blazers. He double-doubled with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and also added four blocked shots in the road win. Mirotic hadn't blocked four shots in a game since late February, and the double-double was his fourth in his last five games. He's peaked at the exact right time for New Orleans.

Rajon Rondo, Pelicans: Playoff Rondo! Bulls fans remember this version of last year's starting point guard, as he went off for 17 assists and just two turnovers in New Orleans' Game 1 win. He added six points and eight rebounds, but the dimes were the key. He also helped limit Damian Lillard to 18 points on 23 shots. We'd say this is surprising, but after what he did to the Celtics in Boston last year we're really not shocked. The four-headed monster of Davis/Holiday/Mirotic/Rondo could really make noise in the playoffs.

Derrick Rose, Timberwolves: The TimberBulls needed a spark in Game 1 against the Rockets and got it in Rose, who scored 16 points off the bench and added four assists in 24 minutes. His defense on James Harden - and the Rockets as a whole - left plenty to be desired, but it was an inspired performance for Rose, who is back in the postseason.

Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves: He's clearly not 100 percent, as Butler's 13-point performance showed in Game 1. The Timberwolves really don't have much shot at knocking off the top-seeded Rockets, and that's if they were entirely healthy. Butler isn't, but he'll still have an impact on this series at some point.

Marco Belinelli, Sixers: Famous in Bulls postseason history for his, erm, Big Marbles dance in Game 7 against the Nets, Belinelli is showing the postseason gene again with the Sixers. He scored 25 points on 9 of 17 shooting in a Game 1 win over Miami and was solid in the Game 2 loss, scoring 16 points. He's proven to be a critical piece on the second unit for a Sixers offense that can't stop scoring.

E'Twaun Moore, Pelicans: He's been great all year for the Pelicans, but Moore was quiet in Game 1, scoring four points in 27 minutes.

Pau Gasol, Spurs: Gasol really has no value in this series against the Warriors. In two losses he's totalled 18 points and six rebounds in 36 minutes.

Tony Snell, Bucks: The Snelly Cat was nowhere to be found in Game 1 against the Celtics, as he scored two points and grabbed three rebounds in 33 minutes. Clearly they need him to be better moving forward.

Taj Gibson, Timberwolves: Tom Thibodeau is going to rely on Gibson for big minutes. He scored nine points and hauled in six rebounds in 32 minutes in a Game 1 loss.

Kyle Kover, Cavaliers: Expect bigger things from the former Bench Mob member, who played just four minutes and missed all three shots in a Game 1 loss.

Jamal Crawford, Timberwolves: Death, taxes, Jamal Crawford getting buckets. Crawford scored 15 points off the bench in 26 minutes for the Timberwolves in Game 1. Yes, you millenials reading this: Jamal Crawford played for the Bulls from 2000 to 2004. Fred Hoiberg was his teammate.

We won't consider any "Bulls" who were drafted by the team but never played any minutes. So, no Jordan Bell, Jose Calderon, J.R. Smith, LaMarcus Aldridge. Also, we're leaving out Aaron Brooks because he doesn't play. Sorry, Aaron.

Together again: Derrick Rose reportedly joining up with Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves

0307_tom_thibodeau_derrick_rose.jpg
AP

Together again: Derrick Rose reportedly joining up with Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves

Tom Thibodeau really is getting the band back together up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

According to a Thursday morning report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Derrick Rose will be signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the remainder of the season.

Rose has had himself a tough season, playing in just 16 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers while again battling injury woes and apparently considering retiring from the game.

But here he is now, reuniting with Thibodeau, who coached Rose for five seasons with the Bulls and is in his second season coaching the Timberwolves, who currently hold the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference playoff race.

This move will inject even more former-Bull flavor into the Timberwolves, who acquired Jimmy Butler (in a trade with the Bulls) and Taj Gibson last offseason.

Rose averaged 9.8 points and 1.6 assists a game in those 16 contests with the Cavs earlier this season before being traded to the Utah Jazz last month. He was waived two days after that trade. Last season, his first since being traded away from the Bulls, he averaged 18 points and 4.4 assists in 64 games with the New York Knicks.

Jimmy Butler gave the Bulls an ultimatum and they chose Fred Hoiberg over him

Jimmy Butler gave the Bulls an ultimatum and they chose Fred Hoiberg over him

Jimmy Butler pulls no punches when discussing his former team.

The NBA star is enjoying his first year with the Minnesota Timberwolves as "one of the older guys" and recently did an interview with ESPN's Sam Alipour where the two took on a Minnesota lake...and lost.

And of course, there's a shot at the Bulls in there.

Alipour sets up Butler by asking him why he thinks the Bulls got rid of a bonafide star in the middle of his prime.

Butler's response was equal parts elightening and stunning:

"I probably went about a lot of things the wrong way," Butler said. "People don't work as hard as I do and don't expect the same things out of the game that I do. And that's my fault and I've learned from that. I said from the beginning — it was either gonna me or the Fred Hoiberg route. And rightfully so, they took Fred. Good for them. I've got that game marked on my calendar: Feb. 9 baby, I'm back."

Beyond the Bulls smack talk, there's also Butler falling out of a canoe (2:30 mark) and trying to make fire by rubbing two sticks together.

And no revealing interview with Butler would be complete without the two-way player's perception of Tom Thibodeau, especially at the beginning — "Couldn't stand him. I would never use the word hate, but he was right there."

Check out the whole interview. It's a must-watch for Bulls fans.