Bulls survive in Washington and other thoughts

Bulls escape with Game 3 win; Random thoughts on Playoffs

4/26/14 in NBA   |   MortonsLaw   |   156 respect

Being a fan can be excruciating to say the least. My head still hurts from witnessing the end of the Bulls/Wizards game. This Bulls may very well be the dumbest team ever, which is hard to fathom considering the coach.

The Bulls, in super desperation mode -- escaped, and I mean escaped game 3 with a win, and now trail the Wizards 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

After being taken to the woodshed for games one and two, Joakim Noah actually defended Nene like the defensive player of the year. An award Noah honestly received due to the lack of big men in the league. Noah seems to receive all this praise when guarding undersized big men with limited skill, yet very few will point out how often he gets abused by legit big men who can score.

Keep in mind, Nene averaged a shade under 11 points per game in 7 seasons of playoff basketball. He somehow averaged 20 ppg on 65% from the floor in the first two games of this series. It was nice to see Noah battle in Game 3 by doing a better job of ball denial in the post. Nobody should lose a playoff series at the hands of Nene.

How about Nene with the Anderson Silva esque muay thai clinch on Jimmy Butler? Nene is from Brazil, so I'm wondering if he's a fan of MMA, or has actually trained. He seemed to know what he was doing.

Apr 25, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Nene (42) scuffles with Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) in the fourth quarter in game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Nene received two technical fouls and was ejected. The Bulls won 100-97. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
If you're a Wizards fan you had to sick by Nene's lack of discipline. You can't get thrown out of a playoff game. Despite his 10 points on 5-15 shooting, the complexion of that game may have changed with him on the floor. Now there's discussion whether or not he will be suspended for Game 4. I do think it would be ridiculous if he were suspended. No punch should = no suspension.

Mike Dunleavy to the rescue? It's no secret how I feel about Duke players, but without his mind blowing 35 point performance in Game 3, the Bulls are undeniably facing elimination on Sunday. He was shooting the ball like he was back in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Dunleavy set a Bull's playoff record with 8 makes from downtown. Somebody pinch me -- a Duke player was clutch.

The Bulls really did everything possible to give the game away. You can make a case when looking at the stat sheet that the Bulls should've lost. They were outrebounded, had more turnovers and were absolutely brutal from the free throw line. What's the deal with the Bulls and free throws? Hinrich gagged at the end of Game 2, and tonight they shot an abysmal 20-30.

Oh yeah, and the Bulls actually had a scoring drought of nearly seven minutes, which spanned from late 2nd quarter till early 3rd. How the hell does any NBA team go scoreless that long? The amazing thing is this team does it almost every game. They couldn't score at the end of either Game 1 or 2; good thing the scoring drought occurred earlier in Game 3.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't give Jimmy Butler some credit for his clutch three with the score tied 91-91. Butler is absolutely dreadful from beyond the arc, and probably should never shoot the ball outside 15 feet, but for whatever reason the basketball gods gave him that huge shot.

I was thrilled to finally see Bulls' Head Coach Tom Thibodeau put D.J. Augustin on the bench midway through the 4th quarter. Augustin was once again awful from the floor. He's shooting just 33% in the three games, and mainly due to Washington's size in the backcourt. If the Bulls can't create enough space for him with high screens, his lack of size renders him a liability on both sides of the floor.

Despite the Bulls' multiple mental mistakes down the stretch, they managed to do something they failed to do in the first two games -- close out the Wizards. And now it will be interesting to see how the Wizards respond, especially should Nene be suspended for Game 4.

The Rockets also escaped in Portland after blowing an 11 point 4th quarter lead. In OT, Portland led 116-112, and the Rockets ended the game with 9 straight points, including a triple from D-Leaguer, Troy Daniels, that broke a tie. James Harden actually took 35 shots in this game, so his 37 points shouldn't make people think he had a great game. Harden is 27-82 (33%) from the floor in this series.

LaMarcus Aldridge cooled off after scoring a combined 89 points in the first two games. Aldridge was just 8-22 for 23 points. Despite the loss, I was dead wrong about the Trail Blazers. This team is better than I thought. Whether it was adjustments, or just a matter of making shots, Portland has shown that their struggles against the Rockets in the regular season could easily be overcome.

Can we say the same for the Dallas Mavericks? Who saw that coming? The Spurs blown out in their own building??? Okay, let's be honest, it's a surprise when the Spurs get blown out period. Location isn't a factor.

I'm intrigued to see which Spurs team shows up in Game 3. If not for a great 4th quarter comeback in Game 1, this series would be 2-0 Mavs. You can say Dallas has dominated this series for 90 of the 96 minutes played.

The Nets tried to give away Game 3 at home, but the Raptors didn't want it. So many missed free throws in these playoff games. The Nets did a great job of getting the ball in the hands of their big 3. Johnson, Williams and Pierce combined for 69 points. Joe Johnson is such a lethal scorer; It boggles my mind how he doesn't average 25 points per game. If I'm Jason Kidd, I'd force feed Johnson to exploit his skills on the offensive end.

MUST WIN for Indiana Saturday Night. This is when heart has to rise to the occasion. The disconnect that has exposed this team has to be reversed. Someone has to step up and take leadership of this sinking ship. The Hawks are playing with house money, so they have no pressure. The Pacers have to somehow block out this situation and just play basketball.

It is honestly hard to watch the Clippers/Warriors series from a basketball standpoint. I can't stomach the amount of 3's attempted. All they do is drive, kick and shoot. I hate the theory that a 6 to 10 foot shot is frowned upon versus a 22 foot corner three. WHAT???? Guys will literally be feet from the basket and still pass it back out. It's not like this is the 80's or 90's with all-time great centers who will turn your shot back.

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