<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Outside Shot ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/outside-shot http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sun, 20 Apr 2014 11:27:12 -0500 Sun, 20 Apr 2014 11:27:12 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Benny the Bull Stars in New Bud Light Ad]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:03:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Benny_bud_light.jpg

Chicago hoops fans know Benny the Bull is always up for whatever -- just witness his flag-waving stunt atop the Willis Tower Thursday -- but now Benny gets to prove it in a new Bud Light ad.

The Bulls mascot is a featured character in Bud Light's new "Up For Whatever" commercial, designed to show regular guys experiencing an epic night.

The ad, which will run during the NBA playoffs, shows two fans hanging out with NBA legends Alonzo Mourning, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler and Darryl Dawkins.

But their tour guide around the city is none other than Benny the Bull, who helps direct traffic and rides around town with the two fans.

More proof that Benny is arguably the most popular mascot in the NBA.

<![CDATA[Benny the Bull Waves Flag Atop Willis Tower]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:34:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Benny_Willis_Flag.jpg Are you ready for the playoffs? Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull waved the team's flag on top of the Willis Tower Wednesday. The stunt was shot by BullsTV and will be incorporated into the "Benny around Chicago" playoff themed video that will be shown in the arena.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Joakim Noah's Priceless Reaction to Chicago Snow]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:56:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Joakim_Noah_4-15.jpg

You can excuse Joakim Noah if sometimes he's disconnected from the regular world the rest of us live in.

After all, he's one of the best players in the NBA, and on Monday night he was working -- dropping 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists on the Orlando Magic in the United Center.

So you'll have to excuse him if he wasn't aware of what the rest of us knew -- spring appears to be a tease, and it was indeed snowing in the middle of April.

Noah was informed of that fresh piece of weather news while telling reporters post-game that we're in the midst of the best time of the year because it's not cold anymore and the sun is starting to come out.

"Are you serious? Nah... that's bull__," Noah told the Chicago Sun-Times and other reporters with an incredulous look on his face.

It just goes to show, you can make millions of dollars a year and be a mainstay on Sportscenter highlights, but when it comes to bad weather -- you're just as miserable as the next guy.

<![CDATA[Bulls Beat Magic In Home Season Finale]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:03:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dunleavy_4-14.jpg Joakim Noah had 18 points and 10 rebounds and eight assists, Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points and the Chicago Bulls pulled away late for a 108-95 victory over the Orlando Magic Monday night.

With one game left in the regular season, the Bulls are fourth in the Eastern Conference playoff race and looking at a first-round matchup with Brooklyn. To catch Toronto and finish third, the Bulls would need to win the season finale at Charlotte on Wednesday and have the Raptors lose at New York

Kyle O'Quinn led Orlando with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting, and Andrew Nicholson added 19. Rookie Victor Oladipo was limited to 10 points after scoring a career-high 35 points against the Bulls earlier in the season.

Jimmer Fredette had 17 points for Chicago.

With guard D.J. Augustin missing the game with an undisclosed personal issue — he wasn't in the United Center — the Bulls' rotation was a bit off in the first half.

Fredette was the first player off the bench and he showed the rust of not playing much since being picked up at the beginning of March.

Still, the Bulls used a run of 10 straight points early in the second quarter to open up a 38-26 lead and took a 57-44 halftime lead. Noah led the way with 11 first-half points, and Carlos Boozer added 10. Rookie Tony Snell had nine points in 6½ minutes in the second quarter.

The Magic stayed close, pulling within 67-64 with just under three minutes left in the third.

Dunleavy, though, hit a 3-pointer to stop Orlando's momentum. Soon after, Fredette capped the third-quarter scoring with a pair of free throws to make it 81-70 heading into the fourth.

The Bulls quickly thwarted any hopes of a Magic comeback by opening the final quarter with a 13-7 to make it 94-77 with about seven minutes to go.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Win Moves Team Into No. 3 Playoff Seed]]> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 05:56:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bulls_4-11.jpg D.J. Augustin scored 24 points, Taj Gibson added 17, and the Chicago Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-98 for their seventh straight win on Friday night.

Carlos Boozer finished with 18 points. Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored all of his 14 in the second half, and the Bulls kept their longest win streak of the season going.

They moved a game ahead of Atlantic Division leader Toronto for third in the Eastern Conference, with the Raptors losing to the New York Knicks. The Bulls also clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with Brooklyn falling to Atlanta.

They trailed by 56-38 at the half after getting dominated inside by Andre Drummond but turned things around in a big way after that.

Chicago outscored Detroit 32-24 in the third quarter to pull within 10 and went on a 15-0 run in the fourth to turn an eight-point deficit into a 90-83 edge. The Bulls then hung on in the closing minutes for their 35th win since Jan. 1 — tops in the Eastern Conference.

They pulled this one out even though they got dominated by Drummond, who scored 26 and tied a career-high with 26 rebounds.

Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points and Brandon Jennings added 17 but the Pistons lost for the 18th time in 20 road games.

Detroit was leading 83-75 with just over 10 minutes left in the game when Gibson, who scored 11 in the fourth quarter, hit two free throws to start the decisive rally.

Augustin then nailed back-to-back jumpers to make it a two-point game, and after committing a charge, he tied it at 83 when he hit two free throws with 8:10 left.

Jimmy Butler then put the Bulls ahead with a layup after Jonas Jerebko missed a 3 for Detroit, and Chicago continued to add to it.

A three-point play by Gibson, who landed near the photographers along the baseline, and two more free throws by Augustin put the Bulls up 90-83 with 6:14 remaining.

Peyton Siva answered with a 3 for Detroit, but the Bulls stayed in control after that.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Asks Jimmy Butler to Prom Via YouTube Video]]> Sat, 05 Apr 2014 14:14:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jimmy+Butler+Struggling.jpg

A Chicago Bulls fan is hoping one player will make her prom dreams come true.

The high school senior posted a video titled “Jimmy Butler, Prom?” to YouTube Thursday in hopes that the star basketball player will be her date.

“Thousands of girls go alone to prom every year, don’t let me be one of those girls,” Maddie Roglich said in the video. “So Jimmy Butler, since you’re awesome and you’re Jimmy Butler, will you take me to prom?”

In the quirky video the teen hopes dunking a basketball will help sway her favorite player. She also holds up a sign at a Bulls game asking him to prom.

“I’m totally willing to learn how to Texas-two step or line dance if you want,” she noted in the video.

While the video has been tweeted to Jimmy Butler along with the hashtags #maddieandjimmyforprom and #promposal, it does not appear he has responded to the request.

<![CDATA[Whitney Young’s Okafor Named Co-MVP of All-American Game]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 12:18:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Okafor+McDonald%27s.png

Whitney Young’s Jahlil Okafor said he wanted to go out with a bang in his last time playing as a high school senior in the City of Chicago.

So when his West squad defeated an East team featuring Curie big man Cliff Alexander by a final score of 105-102 in the 2014 McDonald’s All-American Game at the United Center on Wednesday night, Okafor took home co-MVP honors.

"The game was really fun. I really wanted to play well in this game being the last time I play in Chicago as a high schooler,” Okafor said. “Coach Frank [Allocco] really challenged me to compete through the practices and the game, and I think I did that tonight."

The Duke-bound big man finished the game with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Alexander, who is headed to Kansas next season, finished with nine points and 11 rebounds while playing with a heavily taped right wrist which he injured during Tuesday night’s Powerade Jam Fest.

"It's cool," Alexander said of his injured wrist and the number of missed dunks he had on the night. "It got better since (Tuesday). It had nothing to do with the missed dunks. I just missed them. No excuses."

Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis, another local standout who is heading to Kentucky next season, also played well. Despite being the smallest player on the court, Ulis’ heady play was something to take notice of. He finished the game with five points, three assists and three rebounds.

Photo Credit: McDonald's All-American Game]]>
<![CDATA[Augustin Expresses Desire to Remain in Chicago]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 12:17:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DJ+Augustin+on+Thibs.png

After seemingly being written off after stops in Indiana and Toronto, DJ Augustin has quietly revived his career since coming to the Chicago Bulls in December. After 55 games with Chicago, Augustin is averaging 14.5 points, 5.1 assists and came up big in the Bulls’ victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, finishing the game with 23 points, five assists and two steals.

The point guard will be a free agent next summer and his play this season has almost assured that he will get a lot more than the $620,215 salary he’s making this season. But Augustin, reluctant to comment on where his future will take him after this year, publicly stated that he would like to remain with the Bulls.

“I would love to be back here,” Augustin said. “This organization, this team is great, and I think it’s great for me. (Thibodeau) has given me the opportunity to play and get better. It’s been great for me.”

Both his teammates and Tom Thibodeau credit the point guard’s play for the turnaround this season after Derrick Rose tore his meniscus in November, and all acknowledge and appreciate his headiness on the court.

“DJ can beat you in a lot of different ways,” Tom Thibodeau said after Wednesday’s victory. “He can beat you with the shot. He can beat you with the pass. He can beat you with his penetration. It’s a big plus having him.”

For now, DJ Augustin won’t worry about what’s going to happen beyond this season and instead will enjoy being a part of the Bulls locker room as much as they enjoy having him around.

“When the time comes,” he said, “I’ll let my agent handle it and just kind of relax.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Top Atlanta 105-92]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 22:03:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/174*120/Thibs_warriors.jpg D.J. Augustin scored 23 points and the Chicago Bulls held off slumping Atlanta for a 105-92 victory Wednesday night, bumping the Hawks out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two weeks left in the season.

Chicago took control with a 16-3 run in the second quarter and led the rest of the way, fending off the last of Atlanta's runs when Jimmy Butler swished a 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining.

The Hawks lost for the 21st time in 28 games, this one dropping them slightly behind New York for the eighth playoff seed. The Knicks (33-43) routed Brooklyn 110-81 to climb percentage points ahead of Atlanta (32-42). Cleveland is also in the mix, two games out after beating Orlando.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 22 points. Atlanta hosts the Cavaliers on Friday night.

The Hawks were up 42-38 with 9 minutes left in the second quarter after Mike Muscala knocked down a couple of free throws.

Chicago took control from there, clamping down defensively and scoring 16 of the next 19 points. The Hawks missed 12 of 13 shots, forced to settle mostly for outside jumpers and botching a couple of easy ones when they did get inside. Augustin capped the spurt with a brilliant hesitation move, freezing the Atlanta defenders before bursting through a gap for an easy layup.

The Bulls led 57-49 at the half and never surrendered the advantage.

Atlanta made several runs, only to have Chicago answer every one of them. With the Hawks down 93-87 and in possession, Taj Gibson swatted away DeMarre Carroll's driving shot, the Bulls grabbed a loose ball and took off the other way, with Augustin sinking a 3-pointer that led to an Atlanta timeout.

It was another trey by Butler that finished off the Hawks — appropriate enough, since the Bulls went 12 of 25 beyond the arc. Augustin was 4 of 8 from long range, while Butler chipped in with three more.

Six players were in double figures for the Bulls, including Butler and Kirk Hinrich with 17 points apiece.

Millsap had a double-double, also grabbing 11 rebounds. Jeff Teague added 21 points for the Hawks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rondo Complimentary of the Bulls During TV Broadcast]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:45:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bulls+Nov+12.jpg

Rajon Rondo has not always had a warm and fuzzy relationship with the Chicago Bulls during his time as the point guard for the Boston Celtics. The All-Star has made a reputation for himself as player Bulls fans love to hate, especially during the legendary battle with Chicago during the 2009 NBA Playoffs, Derrick Rose’s rookie year.

But times change, and so do people. Rondo, who like Rose is coming off an ACL tear, played TV analyst during Monday’s game between the Celtics and the Bulls and was quite complimentary of his rival. The point guard shared nice words about Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and his former coach, Tom Thibodeau.

"Thibs was a workaholic," Rondo said. "You never could beat him to the gym. He lived in the gym. Guy lived in the gym. I would try to get there sometimes at 6 in the morning, Thibs would be there. He's definitely putting the work in, and it's paying off here in Chicago."

Rondo said of Joakim Noah, “He pretty much fills up a stat sheet, reminds me a little of myself. He plays hard on both ends of the floor, but what I like about Joakim most: He competes every play.”

The point guard also revealed the two players now have a healthy respect of one another.

"About two years ago we came to an understanding because we were always going at it with each other. But we never really understood why,” Rondo said of Noah. “I think it's because we both love to compete. He's a guy that's going to bring it every night, and I do the same, but we don't even play the same position. So one game, we were at the free-throw line and just thought about, 'Why do we even go at each other?'"

Rondo also paid respect to Kirk Hinrich by saying he is one of the most physical guards in the NBA. Bulls fans will recall the Celtics point guard throwing Hinrich into the scorer’s table during the playoffs and a near riot ensuing on the court.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Late Push Leads Bulls Over Celtics]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 22:25:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/joakim_3-31.jpg Mike Dunleavy had 22 points to lead five Bulls in double figures and Chicago broke open a close game with 13 straight points at the start of the fourth quarter to beat the Boston Celtics 94-80 Monday night.

Joakim Noah had 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, Jimmy Butler had 18 points, Carlos Boozer 16 and Taj Gibson 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Chicago swept the home-and-home series with the Celtics after posting a 107-102 victory in Boston on Sunday.

The Celtics have lost 10 straight on the road to drop to 8-28 away from home. Their last road win was Feb. 10 at Milwaukee.

Brandon Bass and Jerryd Bayless had 18 points apiece for the Celtics.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trail Blazers Rout Bulls 91-74]]> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 21:50:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/thibs-1-10.jpg Mo Williams scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures as the Portland Trail Blazers won on the road for a second straight night with a 91-74 rout of the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

Damian Lillard had 16 points, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez each had 13, Wesley Matthews had 11 and Thomas Robinson added 10 for the Blazers, who won in Atlanta on Thursday after dropping the first three games of their road trip.

The Blazers got past the Bulls easily, despite a quiet night from All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who was playing just his second game after missing two weeks with a back injury. He had five points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes after having points and 16 rebounds in Atlanta.

Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes to lead Chicago. D.J. Augustin had 15, Taj Gibson 13 and Joakim Noah added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulls, who had a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win, lost both games of the season series and have dropped 11 of 13 overall against Portland, including five of seven at the United Center.

Before Friday, the Bulls had been 10-3 in their last 13 home games, averaging 96.8 points on 44.5 percent shooting during that span. But it was apparent early that they wouldn't approach either of those marks in this one.

Getting off to fast starts was one reason behind the Bulls' recent home success, but they were cold at the start, going 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) from the field in scoring 16 points in the first quarter. Minus Boozer's 10 points on 5-of -10 shooting, the rest of the team managed just six points on 3-of-13 shooting.

Still, the Bulls trailed just by three at 19-16 after the first quarter, but the Blazers — who were only 8-of-20 in the first quarter themselves — picked up the pace in the second quarter and began stretching the lead.

It reached double figures (37-27) midway through the quarter as Mo Williams was fouled attempting a 3-pointer and sank all three free throws. The Bulls cut the deficit in half (39-34) and had the ball with just over three minutes left in the first half. Noah, though, missed a jumper and Portland ended the quarter on an 8-2 spurt for a 47-36 halftime lead.

The Blazers then took charge at the start of the third quarter, beginning the second half with a dunk by Lopez and a 3-pointer by Batum to make it 52-36. In all, Portland stretched the run to 15-2 for a 62-38 lead.

The Bulls ended the third quarter on a mini-spurt — including a three-point play on a dunk and foul by Gibson — to trim the deficit to 73-58 entering the fourth quarter.

The Bulls got the ball first in the final quarter and had a couple of inside looks on that initial possession, but came up empty. Lillard then essentially dashed any hopes of a huge rally with a 3-pointer at the other end to make it 76-58.]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Can Clinch Playoff Spot with Knicks Loss]]> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:30:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Joakim+Positive.jpg

 The Chicago Bulls have exhibited strong play on the court since the All-Star break and recently passed the Toronto Raptors in the standings for third place in the Eastern Conference. With just 11 games left in the regular season, a spot in this year’s playoffs is all but a certainty.

Chicago is idle on Wednesday and won’t play again until Friday night when they host the visiting Portland Trailblazers at the United Center. However, the Bulls can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a little help from the struggling New York Knicks.

New York was blown out by the Los Angeles Lakers in a nationally televised game on Tuesday night and will face the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena tonight. Should the Knicks lose, the Bulls will clinch their sixth consecutive playoff berth and ninth in the last decade.

It’s a safe bet that there will be a number of Bulls fans rooting for the Kings on Wednesday night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Derrick Rose Progresses to Non-Contact Drills]]> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:16:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/derrick+rose+presser.jpg Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says star Derrick Rose has been participating in non-contact drills in practice as he tries to work his way back from his second major knee injury.

Thibodeau also told reporters at practice Wednesday that the former MVP point guard will not play again this season, something the organization has said several times since he went down.

Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. He sat out last year while recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.]]>
<![CDATA[Whitney Young's Okafor Named Player of the Year]]> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 08:53:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jahlil+Okafor.jpg

Fresh off a state championship, Whitney Young senior big man Jahlil Okafor received another honor on Tuesday. The current No. 1 high school basketball player in the country and Duke signee was named the 2014 Morgan Wooten Player of the Year. Okafor is the second consecutive boys winner from Chicago as Jabari Parker received the award in 2013.

The Morgan Wootten Award is given annually to the best male and female McDonald’s All American players who exemplify outstanding character, exhibit leadership and embody the values of being a student-athlete in the classroom and the community.

McDonald’s established the award in Wootten’s honor to pay tribute to his unprecedented achievements as a teacher and coach. The official award presentation will take place at the McDonald's All American Games awards banquet on April 1 in advance of the April 2 game at the United Center.

"I am truly honored and humbled to win this prestigious award. The Morgan Wooten Award represents integrity, sportsmanship and dedication – all traits that I try to exhibit on and off the court,” Okafor said in a press release. “Winning this award shows that when you have a dream, and when you dedicate yourself to accomplishing that dream, anything is possible." 

Photo Credit: ESPN]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Playoff Tickets Go on Sale Friday]]> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 08:48:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bulls_mascot_2-16.jpg

The Chicago Bulls are headed toward their ninth playoff appearance in the last 10 years.

With just 11 games remaining in the regular season, the team recently leapfrogged the Toronto Raptors to take third place in the Eastern Conference standings and if the playoffs started today, Chicago would host the Washington Wizards in the first round.

On Tuesday, the Bulls announced that tickets for the first two rounds of the playoffs will go on sale Friday, March 28, at 11 a.m. as eight home games for rounds one and two of the postseason will be made available.

Dates, times and who Chicago will face will be announced at the conclusion of the regular season.

Tickets can be purchased at Bulls.com, NBATickets.com and the United Center box office.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jimmy Butler Pranks Fans in Illinois Lottery Commercial]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:10:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JButler+Lottery.png

Jimmy Butler is quickly becoming a fan favorite with the Chicago Bulls. The Marquette University alum is not only putting his strong play on display on the court, but he is easily one of the more personable players in the locker room.

The shooting guard put his personality on display recently when he starred in an Illinois Lottery commercial and pulled a prank on two unsuspecting Bulls fans in a local restaurant.

The commercial was filmed to promote the Illinois Lottery’s newest app for the iPhone and Android, but the surprise on the fans’ faces when Jimmy Butler not only showed up but sat down to have a bite to eat with them was pretty cool.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Taj Gibson, Bulls Dominate Pacers]]> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 23:12:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bulls_pacers_3-24.jpg

Taj Gibson led five players in double figures with 23 points and the Chicago Bulls brushed off a poor offensive first half to rally for an 89-77 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

Kirk Hinrich had 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, Mike Dunleavy scored 13, Jimmy Butler 12 and Joakim Noah added 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Gibson, who was 9 for 15 from the field, also had eight rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench.

The Bulls (40-31) pulled within two percentage points of Toronto (39-30) for third place in the Eastern Conference.

The win also prevented Indiana from clinching the Central Division title on Chicago's home court. The Pacers are looking to win consecutive division crowns for the second time since joining the NBA (1998-99 and 1999-2000).

The Pacers, who were led by Paul George's 21 points, have dropped three straight and six of eight on the road. They've lost four of five at the United Center, including both visits this season.

The Pacers earned a 91-79 victory over the Bulls on Friday night at Indiana.

With the NBA's top two defensive teams on the court, points figured to come at a premium, and that certainly was the case in the first half.

Neither team managed to score 20 in either of the first two quarters, and the Pacers took a 34-33 halftime lead when George Hill (12 first-half points) hit a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left.

The Bulls were 14 of 44 (31.8 percent) from the field in the first half, including 1 for 10 on 3-pointers.

Perhaps the most entertaining portion of the half came when the crowd got on Pacers center Roy Hibbert for an apparent flop, a hot topic between the teams in recent days.

On the play, Hibbert was fouled by Noah as he was beginning to go up for a shot attempt. While there definitely was enough contact to warrant a foul, it appeared to be light. Hibbert, though, dropped to the court flailing as if he had been hit by a flagrant foul.

After the replay was shown on the scoreboard, the crowd began to boo. Noah stood off to the side with a big grin on his face.

Following Friday's game in Indiana, Gibson accused the Pacers of flopping, and it was still the topic of conversation at the morning shootaround for both teams.

"I mean, I haven't taken a charge in probably four years," Hibbert said at the shootaround. "He's entitled to his opinion. I'm just going to go out there and play hard."

The Bulls finally got into an offensive rhythm in the third quarter, starting the second half with a 16-5 run to take a 49-39 lead.

A few minutes later, Indiana had cut the lead to 55-49 and George had the ball on a fast break ahead of the field. Hinrich, though, caught him from behind and looked as if he was going to give an intentional foul. Instead, Hinrich stripped the ball and the Bulls headed in the opposite direction as George complained that he was fouled.

The Bulls completed the four-point swing on Gibson's dunk to make it 57-49 with just more than 4 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Bulls took a 64-56 lead into the fourth after scoring 31 points in the third. They had balanced scoring in the quarter with Dunleavy and Hinrich each tallying seven points. Carlos Boozer, Butler and Gibson added five apiece.

The Bulls were never seriously threatened in the fourth and held on for a relatively comfortable win.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DePaul Women Upset Duke, Advance to Sweet 16]]> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 20:40:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/depaul-women.jpg Megan Rogowski scored 22 points and Megan Podkowa added 18 to help DePaul upset Duke 74-65 on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Brittany Hrynko added 14 for the seventh-seeded Blue Demons (29-6). They earned their third appearance in the round of 16 by hitting 14 3-pointers and forcing second-seeded Duke into 21 turnovers with their high-pressure defense.

DePaul will play the James Madison-Texas A&M winner on Saturday in the Lincoln Regional semifinals.

Elizabeth Williams scored 12 points, and seniors Haley Peters and Tricia Liston each added 11 in their final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke (28-7) led for only 12 seconds and became the first top-four seed to lose in the tournament.

The Blue Devils — who made four straight appearances in the regional finals — became the first No. 2 seed to lose this early since Xavier lost to Louisville in 2011.

Jasmine Penny added 11 points for DePaul, which has won 18 of 19.

Coach Doug Bruno's team was coming off a 104-100 win over Oklahoma in the first round, the highest-scoring regulation game in tournament history.

It joined Connecticut, Notre Dame and North Carolina as teams to come into Cameron this year and beat the Blue Devils.

They won this one with defense, using relentless pressure against a Blue Devils team with no healthy point guards.

Ka'lia Johnson scored 11 points and Oderah Chidom added 10 for Duke, which lost an NCAA tournament game at Cameron for the first time since 1996 and was denied its 17th regional semifinal berth in 18 years.

Duke had one last chance to make things interesting after Liston hit a layup after a steal to make it 67-60 with 1:45 left and Hrynko missed the front end of a one-and-one.

But Penny blocked Liston's layup, and after the teams traded turnovers, DePaul bled the clock before Duke fouled Jessica January with 1:09 left.

Liston's 3 went in and out, and Rogowski hit two free throws with 42.1 seconds left to push the lead back to 10.

Duke had closed to 49-46 on Chidom's layup with 7 minutes left.

Penny countered with a jumper in the lane and Hrynko followed with a 3 in front of the DePaul bench — and afterward held her shooting hand high for a moment.

Rogowski, who finished with six 3s, hit one to push the lead to 57-48 — the seventh time the Blue Demons countered a Duke bucket with a 3 — and she then gave DePaul a double-figure lead on its next possession with two free throws with 5:02 left.

By then, Duke was on its way to dropping to 21-2 in NCAA tournament games at Cameron.

Photo Credit: depaulbluedemons.com]]>
<![CDATA[76ers' Skid Hits 24 Games with 91-81 Loss to Bulls]]> Sat, 22 Mar 2014 21:49:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP774175503557.jpg

The Philadelphia 76ers' long losing streak continued and so did their march toward the wrong kind of record.

Joakim Noah finished with 20 points, Jimmy Butler scored 17, and the Chicago Bulls handed Philadelphia its 24th straight loss, winning 91-81 Saturday night and sending the 76ers within two of the NBA record.

The Sixers moved ahead of the Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) for the second-longest, single-season losing streak.

The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped 26 during the 2010-11 season, and Philadelphia would have to pull off an upset to avoid tying that.

The next two games are at San Antonio and Houston. Drop them, and the Sixers could set the record at home against Detroit on March 29, particularly if they continue to shoot like this from the outside.

They missed their first 18 3-pointers before Byron Mullens made one early in the fourth and were 1 of 20 in the game.

Despite that, they hung in until Taj Gibson buried a jumper and D.J. Augustin nailed a 3 with 2:30 remaining. That made it 91-79 and sealed the win for the Bulls, who moved into a tie for third in the Eastern Conference with Toronto.

Noah and Butler each had eight rebounds, with Butler dishing out six assists. Gibson came on strong in the fourth quarter to finish with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Augustin added 16 points and six assists, and the Bulls came away with the win after losing at Indiana the previous night.

Thaddeus Young scored 28 for Philadelphia. Henry Sims added 18 points and 15 rebounds, but the Sixers remained winless since Jan. 29.

It didn't help that they were missing Tony Wroten, one of their few bright spots in this lost season. He sprained his right ankle in Friday's one-point loss at home to the New York Knicks and did not travel with the team.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jordan, Pippen Were Initially Asked to Visit North Korea]]> Sat, 22 Mar 2014 05:56:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Scottie-and-MJ-blurb.jpg

The uproar over Dennis Rodman's first visit to North Korea would have seemed tame in comparison to if the TV show that arranged it had landed its initial targets -- Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen.

VICE co-founder Shane Smith told the New York Times that the show initially asked Jordan or Pippen to visit the communist country and hang out with leader Kim Jong Un, but both declined.

Rodman was widely criticized for the visit, and has since been back to the country without VICE cameras.

The newspaper asked Smith if he unleashed a monster.

"Rodman went for three days. We were there for 10 days to shoot. Have we unleashed a monster? Probably. The guy has a well-documented alcohol problem, and I hope he gets better. I mean, we knew that they loved the Bulls, but most of the Bulls didn’t want to go." -- VICE co-founder Shane Smith

Rodman entered alcohol rehab after his last North Korean visit.


Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Hand 76ers 22nd Straight Loss]]> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 21:04:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/thibs-1-10.jpg D.J Augustin scored 20 points and Taj Gibson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 102-94 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night, handing the 76ers their 22nd straight loss.

The Sixers are four losses shy of matching the NBA record for the longest single-season losing streak. The Cleveland Cavaliers set the record of 26 consecutive losses in the 2010-11 season. The Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) each lost 23 straight.

The Sixers also lost their 17th straight home game since beating Charlotte on Jan. 15. They were 8-11 at home at that point and had already defeated Miami, the Bulls, and Houston in Philadelphia.

After the Sixers were 3-0 following a Nov. 2 win over Chicago, fans held signs that said, "3-0. That's No Bull."

That seems like another season at times after the Sixers traded Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen at the deadline for draft picks, a necessary step for a rebuilding franchise.

Unlike most of the first 21 losses in the streak, the Sixers were competitive until the final possessions, never letting the Bulls lead by more than 11.

Sixers center Byron Mullens, who hadn't attempted a shot all game, hit consecutive 3s to pull the Sixers to 83-80. He made a nifty save on a ball headed out of bounds, leading to Henry Sims' bucket and a foul. With a chance to tie the game, Sims missed the free throw with 8:19 left.

Thaddeus Young bailed him out a possession later with a 3-pointer that made it 85-all.

Joakim Noah buried a go-ahead 3 from the top of the arc and Augustin followed with one from the sideline to put the Bulls up 91-85.

Tony Wroten's 3 made it 93-90 but it was just more false hope. Carlos Boozer's emphatic dunk stretched the lead to six and the Bulls did enough to hang on and move to .500 on the road (17-17).

The Sixers would make it 23 straight with a loss Friday to New York. Then three straight on the road at Chicago, San Antonio and Houston. If the Sixers lose all of those games, the potential record 27th loss would come March 29 vs. Detroit.

Young scored 24 points for the Sixers and Wroten had 17.

Boozer had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls and Noah added 14 points and 10 boards.

The Sixers stayed tight and chipped away in the third, making it 64-61 on Young's 3-pointer. Sims was 0 for 7 from the floor until his first basket cut it to 64-63.

The Sixers just couldn't make the clutch basket or two to finally take the lead. They'd get as close again as two points in the third and trailed only 75-69 at the end of the quarter.

The Bulls played without Derrick Rose, the former MVP point guard who tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose could could be ready to return if he gets the call to play this summer for Team USA at the world championships.

"I know he'd like to do it," Thibodeau said. "I know how USA basketball feels about him. If he's cleared to do it, I'd love to see him do it."]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Jordan's Suburban Mansion Off the Market]]> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:20:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MJ+in+Court.jpg

After nearly two years and three price reductions, Michael Jordan's suburban Chicago mansion is off the market.

The listing for the former Bulls star's 56,000-square-foot home expired Wednesday and wasn't renewed, Crain's Chicago Business reports.

The agent who represented the home when it was listed in 2012 told Crain's she doesn't know what Jordan will do with the property and said he decided to "give it a rest."

The estate failed to sell at auction in December after the reserve price of $13 million wasn't met. Jordan spokeswoman Estee Portnoy said at the time market conditions weren't ideal for the sale and options for the property would be evaluated in 2014.

After the house went unsold at auction, Jordan dropped the price to $16 million. That's down from the original asking price of $29 million and the first reduction that put the house's price tag at $21 million.

The property includes nine bedrooms, 19 bathrooms and an NBA-regulation basketball court, not to mention a weight room, a three-bedroom guesthouse, pool, outdoor tennis court and three climate-controlled multi-car garages. Jordan bought the land in 1991 and moved into the home in 1994.

Jordan decided to auction off the Illinois property because "some of the best things in the world are sold at auction, and I've seen that this is the beginning of a trend for selling unique, one-of-a-kind homes.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Luck Of The Irish Eludes Bulls Versus Thunder]]> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 22:28:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bulls_3-17.jpg Kevin Durant finished with 35 points and 12 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 97-85 on Monday night.

Russell Westbrook added 17 points after sitting out the previous day to rest his surgically repaired knee, and the Thunder rebounded from their most lopsided loss of the season.

They went on a 13-point run after the Bulls scored eight straight early in the fourth to cut the lead to one and pulled this one out after falling by 23 at home to Dallas on Sunday.

Durant ran his streak of games with 25 or more points to 32, the longest in the NBA since Michael Jordan did it in 40 in a row during the 1986-87 season. He also chipped in with five assists.

Westbrook had nine rebounds and nine assists, although he did struggle from the field. He was 5 of 14, and the Thunder got by despite shooting just 41.3 percent.

The Bulls never found their rhythm, converting just 34.5 percent, and settled for a six-game split on a tough homestand that included wins over defending champion Miami and Houston.

Joakim Noah, who's been hearing "MVP!" chants lately, had a rather quiet night, although he just missed his fourth triple-double of the season. He shot just 2 of 8 but finished with nine points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Taj Gibson had 16 points and seven rebounds. Jimmy Butler scored 13, and Carlos Boozer chipped in with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but the Bulls came up short.

The Thunder were leading by nine early in the fourth when the Bulls scored eight straight points, Butler's breakaway dunk putting a charge in the crowd and back-to-back baskets by Gibson cutting it to 76-75 with about 10 minutes remaining.

The Thunder responded by scoring 13 straight to put this one away.

Derek Fisher started the decisive rally with a 3-pointer. A layup by Serge Ibaka, dunk by Durant, three free throws by Caron Butler, a driving bank shot by Westbrook and a free throw by the guard just over a minute later made it 89-75 with 3:45 remaining.

Westbrook was a bit out of sync at times after sitting out Sunday's game.

Occasional rest is part of the plan after he missed 27 games following his most recent surgery, his third procedure since he injured the knee in the playoffs last April, and the Thunder are in a busy stretch.

The games against Dallas and Chicago were the first of three back-to-backs on Oklahoma City's schedule by March 25.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thibodeau Thinks Butler Deserves All-Defense Nod]]> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 21:37:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JButler+All+Defense.jpg.jpg

In just three years, Jimmy Butler has emerged from an unknown commodity to the starting shooting guard on a team that has consistently been one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. The Marquette alum typically draws the opposition’s best offensive threat on the perimeter and more often than not, makes it a tough scoring night for the player he’s matched up against.

Despite an admitted bias, Tom Thibodeau feels Butler deserves, at the very least, to make either the first or second All-Defensive Team this season.

“Well, I’m biased … I don’t know if it gets much better than him on the perimeter,” Thibodeau said after Sunday’s practice at the Berto Center. “There’s no off nights. Every team you’re facing is going to have a dynamic scorer. Jimmy, I love his demeanor and his attitude. Jimmy is a fierce, fierce competitor and when you’re guarding those guys, you can guard them great and they still have the ability to make, and Jimmy’s going to keep on coming.”

Over the past week, Butler has held LeBron James to 17 points on 8-23 shooting, James Harden to eight points on 2-7 shooting, and Rudy Gay to 13 points on 5-12 shooting. On Monday night, he’ll be tasked with slowing down the NBA’s leading scorer, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, who has scored 25 or more points in 31 straight games. Thibodeau, however, has confidence Butler will be up for the challenge.

“Whatever the challenge is, whatever you ask him to do, he’ll do and I know the coaching staff, his teammates, we have a lot of respect for what he does.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Boozer Loves to Talk During Games]]> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 11:19:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Grading+Booz+1.jpg

If you watch the Chicago Bulls play, especially on television, then you’re inevitably going to hear Carlos Boozer’s rather loud and boisterous voice. From, “Grab that!” to “And one!” it’s not very hard to make out Boozer’s voice and identify one of his trademark sayings. His teammates have even remarked how they've never played with someone as talkative as the 11-year veteran.

The Chicago Bulls will host the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night at the United Center and Boozer is sure to be his usually chatty self. However, on Thursday night when the Houston Rockets came to town, Boozer wore a microphone and it was finally revealed just how vocal the big man really is. After watching this video, it’s probably a whole lot more than ven Bulls fans could've imagined.

Despite controversy surrounding a diminished role and possible amnesty this summer, it’s good to see that Boozer doesn’t let any of the negative headlines affect his play or his enthusiasm whether he’s in the game or on the bench.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bloodied Dunleavy Leads Bulls in Win Over Rockets]]> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 21:18:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dunleavy_3-13.jpg Mike Dunleavy scored all of his 21 points in the second half, Joakim Noah flirted with another triple-double and the Chicago Bulls posted a 111-87 wire-to-wire victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Noah finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in 34 minutes. He was headed for his fourth triple-double of the season, but sat down with about three minutes left because of the lopsided score.

Kirk Hinrich scored 19 points for Chicago, going 5 for 6 on 3-pointers, Carlos Boozer added 18 points, D.J. Augustin 13 and Jimmy Butler 11.

The Bulls improved to 2-2 on their six-game home stand.

The Rockets have dropped two straight. Reserve guard Jeremy Lin led Houston with 21 points, while Dwight Howard had 12 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. James Harden had eight points on 2-for-7 shooting in 27 minutes.

The Bulls were coming off a humiliating loss to San Antonio on Tuesday. Although they lost by just eight points (104-96), the game was essentially over after they fell behind by 32 points in the first half. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said his team simply wasn't ready to play following an emotional win against the Miami Heat two days earlier.

"If we don't play with great intensity, we're in trouble," Thibodeau said before the game. "Two or three minutes when you don't have that edge, that's 15 or 20 points."

The Bulls were ready to play from the start Thursday, jumping out to an 18-10 lead eight minutes into the game behind 10 points from Boozer.

They never trailed in the first half, taking a 50-42 halftime advantage.

Any thoughts of a Houston comeback were quickly dismissed at the start of the second half when the Bulls opened the third quarter with 16 straight points for a 66-42 edge. The final 12 points of the run came on four straight 3-pointers by Dunleavy and Hinrich. They each had two, alternating after Hinrich started the streak.

Later in the quarter, the Bulls stretched the lead to 77-48 on a 3-pointer by Augustin. They led 85-58 entering the fourth quarter.

Dunleavy, who was hit above the right eye while drawing a charge in the second quarter and ran into the locker room gushing blood, finished with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He was 3-for-4 on 3-pointers and the Bulls were 6 for 8 from behind the line in the quarter.

The Bulls were able to open up the big lead because of the hot shooting, but Noah's defense on Howard was a key to the victory. Noah's ability to contain the Rockets' big man straight up hampered the Rockets' offense.

It was a far cry from early in his career when Noah usually was overpowered by Howard.

"The biggest improvement for Joakim has been his overall strength," Thibodeau said before the game. "He's obviously gotten great experience, he continues to grow and we play him on just about everybody, from point guards to centers.

"I think he has a really good understanding of what a player's strengths are and trying to make them get away from their strengths. He's much stronger than he was, even two years ago."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jackson Accepts Knicks Front Office Gig]]> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 08:23:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/PJax+on+DRose.jpg

After winning 11 championships as an NBA head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson retired as the coach with the most titles in the history of the league. Since leaving the sidelines for good, the former Chicago Bulls head coach has maintained a relatively low profile.

But Jackson finds himself back in the news as the New York Post is reporting than an agreement has been reached in principle that would put the 68-year-old in charge of all basketball related operations for the New York Knicks. Jackson won two NBA titles in 1970 and 1973 with the Knicks and spent 11 seasons with the team as a player. New York drafted him in the second round of the 1967 NBA Draft.

The Knicks had previously attempted to convince Jackson to join the Knicks twice, but both times the offer was for a head coaching position. The contract for his new position, which is said will include a president title, should be finalized this week.

The move is seen as the first step in the Knicks’ attempt to convince Carmelo Anthony to remain with the franchise, as the All-Star will become a free agent this summer.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Furious Comeback Falls Short]]> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 22:20:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Hinrich_3-11.jpg Manu Ginobili scored 22 points and Tony Parker had 20 as the league-leading San Antonio Spurs beat the Chicago Bulls 104-96 on Tuesday night.

Kawhi Leonard added 16 for San Antonio, which won its seventh straight and 10th in its last 11. The Spurs (47-16) maintained their hold on the NBA's best record, staying ahead of Oklahoma City and Indiana, who both started play Tuesday a half-game behind the Spurs.

San Antonio jumped out to a big lead early, taking a 61-33 advantage into halftime, including 18 from Parker. That helped them improve to 24-6 on the road, the NBA's best mark away from home.

Chicago trailed 90-66 entering the fourth, but pulled to within eight late against San Antonio's reserves.

Parker, who had scored at least 22 in two of the Spurs' last four games, went 8 for 15 from the field for a team that made 51 percent overall against one of the NBA's best defensive clubs. Ginobili was 9 of 11.

Also, the league's top 3-point shooting team at 39.2 percent, San Antonio made 12 of 21 from behind the arc, including four from Ginobili.

Tuesday continued the Spurs' surge since losing to the Bulls 96-86 on Jan. 29. Since then, the Spurs are 14-3 and can improve to 15-3 with a win Wednesday at home against Portland.

The Bulls, meanwhile, were coming off a dramatic 95-88 win Sunday over the Heat, but couldn't build off that victory, falling to 1-2 on a season-high six-game homestand.

D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 24 points and Jimmy Butler had 23. Joakim Noah, whose name has started to be mentioned in MVP discussions, had 13 points and eight rebounds.

That all was a far cry from Sunday, when the Bulls held Miami to 40.5 percent shooting and overcame a 42.2 percent shooting game of their own. That didn't happen Tuesday for the Bulls, who were 43 percent from the field.

The Spurs scored the first seven points until Kirk Hinrich's 3-pointer with 8:50 left in the opening quarter. Parker made six of his first eight shots and San Antonio stretched its lead to 17 with 4:36 left on Tim Duncan's putback, capping a 12-0 run. Ginobili's reverse layup with a second left gave San Antonio a 38-14 lead after the first.

Parker ended the quarter with 16 points for the Spurs, who shot 71.4 percent from the floor during the opening period. That carried into the second quarter as San Antonio took a 32-point lead with 6:35 left on Patty Mills' jumper, and ended the half leading by 28 and hitting 61 percent from the field.

To add to the Bulls' woes, Taj Gibson missed what would have been an emphatic one-handed dunk with 3:45 left, slamming the ball off the back rim and out of bounds.

San Antonio made seven of 10 3-pointers, while Chicago shot 33.3 percent overall over the first 24 minutes.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Change on D. Rose's Status]]> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:45:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DRose+Knee+Better.jpg

The Chicago Bulls have just 19 games left in the 2013-14 NBA season, and fans hoping that Derrick Rose will play again this season probably shouldn’t hold their breath.

Although the hoopla around Rose’s return isn’t the central focus of the Bulls this season as it was last year, a possible comeback by the former MVP has always been the hope.

After Monday’s practice at the Berto Center, Rose was shooting jump shots and seemed to be moving normally, but Tom Thibodeau says not much has changed with his point guard’s status.

"Basically about the same," said the head coach. "He’s doing a little bit more running now. He’s still nowhere near ready to practice. But he’s doing well. His spirit is strong. His body feels good. Just keep concentrating on the rehab, be a great teammate and that’s what he’s doing."

As for practicing with his teammates, Thibodeau says he didn’t want to rule anything out, but he also noted that D. Rose isn’t quite there yet.

"We’ll see where we are at the end of the year if he gets cleared to practice. But there’s no timetable on that," Thibodeau said. "Just put everything you have into each and every day with the rehab, get stronger. We want to make sure he’s completely healthy before he moves forward. I don’t want to even speculate [about practicing]. If he can, he will. He’s not close right now."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Butler Won't "Back Down" from LeBron James]]> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 08:29:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JB21+on+LBJ.jpg.jpg

If familiarity breeds contempt, then that should explain why the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat just don’t get along. Since the 2010-11 NBA season, Chicago and Miami have been involved in some tense battles on the court. In fact, the Heat have eliminated the Bulls two of the last three years.

So when Jimmy Butler and LeBron James found themselves tangled up on the floor underneath the basket, reminiscent of Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone’s NBA Finals tussle years ago, the dislike of these two combatants was on display for the world to see.

"I don't back down," Jimmy Butler said matter-of-factly after the Bulls 95-88 overtime victory. "Everybody in this league is an NBA player. LeBron is a really great player, but like I always say, I just play hard. I just want to prove to everybody that the little kid from Tomball deserves a spot in the NBA."

Butler’s defense held James to just 17 points on 8-23 shooting from the field. And with the game tied up in the waning seconds and James having the ball in his hands to try and deliver the win for Miami, his drive to the basket was stripped by Butler, forcing overtime and leading to a Bulls victory.

"Jimmy is a fierce, fierce competitor," said Tom Thibodeau. "He's got great feet, strength, anticipation, intelligence. LeBron is a load. But the best thing about Jimmy is his demeanor. He'll do it over and over and over again. He does it playing big minutes and doesn't complain."

Said Joakim Noah, "Jimmy was a warrior today. He’s one of those guys, too, when things aren’t going his way, he can do so many things on the basketball court to affect winning, and you need guys like that."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grizzlies Maul Bulls 85-77]]> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 22:11:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/augustine_3-7.jpg

Marc Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies used their stout defense to beat the Chicago Bulls 85-77 Friday night.

Mike Miller made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points as the Grizzlies closed out a three-game road trip with their third victory in four games. Zach Randolph added 10 points and 11 rebounds after missing Memphis' previous game with the flu.

The Grizzlies shut out the Bulls after Taj Gibson's layup trimmed Memphis' lead to 81-77 with 3:15 to go. Mike Conley made two free throws and Gasol had a layup to help Memphis secure the win.

Gasol missed the Grizzlies' 95-91 loss to the Bulls in Memphis on Dec. 30 due to a sprained left knee. But the league's reigning Defensive Player of the Year made a difference in this one, going 8 for 16 from the field and helping hold Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer in check on defense.

Gibson had 18 points for Chicago, which had won 10 of 12. Playing with a sprained right thumb, Noah finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but also had six of the Bulls' 13 turnovers.

The visit by Memphis (35-26) presented a look in the mirror for Chicago (34-28). Heading into the weekend, the Bulls were the NBA's second-best defensive team at 92.3 points per game, followed by the Grizzlies at 95.2. Memphis was averaging 95.7 points, good for 25th in the 30-team NBA, with Chicago last in the league at 93.3 per game.

The Grizzlies and Bulls even had nearly identical records coming into the night. But due to the strength of their respective conferences, the Grizzlies were ninth in the West, one game out of a playoff spot, while the Bulls were fourth in the East.

True to form, there were few open shots and the paint resembled a bumper-car ride for much of the night.

Memphis led 15-12 after one, holding Chicago to 22 percent shooting, but the Bulls started to heat up in the second quarter. D.J. Augustin scored 12 in the period and Noah had a late layup to help Chicago take a 39-35 advantage at the break.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Is Joakim Noah's Thumb Injury Serious?]]> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:18:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/188*120/474892367.jpg There's a lot of commotion over Joakim Noah's right thumb. Peggy Kusinski has the latest on the Bulls star's injury.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rumor: Noah Recruited Carmelo Anthony During All-Star Weekend]]> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 13:58:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Melo+ASG.jpg.jpg

Derrick Rose over the years has shown an unwillingness to recruit other NBA superstars to join him in the Chicago Bulls. But it appears that Joakim Noah has no shame in his recruiting game.

Veteran NBA reporter Chris Broussard fired off a series of tweets Thursday morning suggesting that during All-Star Weekend, Noah and New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony had a conversation about what it was like to play in Chicago under Tom Thibodeau.

"All-Star convo between Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah began as discussion on what it’s like to play for Tom Thibodeau," Broussard began. "With rumors about Bulls going for Melo [in free agency] as well as Thibs coaching New York, Melo wanted to know about Thibs."

Broussard said the conversation then turned into a recruiting pitch with Noah basically telling Anthony that if he wanted to win a championship, that he should come to Chicago.

"From there, convo turned to Noah telling Melo he should come to Chicago if he wants to win a ring and secure winning legacy," Broussard tweeted. "Melo responded that he admires how hard Bulls play and how hungry they are. Also told [Noah] his sons favorite player is D-Rose."

And, in a surprising twist, Broussard also said that Rose would have no problem making a recruiting pitch to Carmelo Anthony if the team asked him to.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Noah Racks Up Triple-Double in Bulls Win]]> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 22:21:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Joakim_Noah_3-5.jpg D.J. Augustin scored 26 points off the bench and Joakim Noah had a triple-double as the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 105-94 on Wednesday night.

Noah finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his sixth career triple-double, including two in the last three games and three in the last month. Taj Gibson added 22 points off the bench, while Jimmy Butler had 18 points and 12 rebounds in Chicago's fifth win in six games.

Greg Monroe led Detroit with 27 points, but the Pistons got only 12 points from their reserves on 5-of-20 shooting.

Detroit led for most of the second quarter, but appeared to get rattled by an official's decision. Smith was driving for a layup that would have made it 43-34, but the shot was blocked by Mike Dunleavy. Smith didn't get back on defense, staying near the basket to argue the call, and Jimmy Butler got an easy alley-oop dunk at the other end.

Smith was then called for a technical, and Augustin hit the free throw to make it a four-point game.

Chicago scored the next four points to tie the game, and a technical called on Pistons coach John Loyer with 3.7 seconds left in the half helped the Bulls take a 52-47 lead at the intermission. The biggest difference in the half, other than the technicals, was Detroit's struggles from outside. The Pistons hit just 26.7 percent (4 for 15) of their shots outside the paint, including missing five of six 3-pointers.

The Pistons narrowed the gap to 71-70 in the third quarter, but Augustin and Gibson kept scoring off the bench to help Chicago stay in front. Augustin's three-point play early in the fourth keyed an 11-2 run to start the period, putting the Bulls up by 10.

Augustin wasn't finished, either. His 3-pointer gave the Bulls a 15-point lead with six minutes to go, and the Pistons never threatened down the stretch.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Look Sluggish in Loss to Nets]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 22:39:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Thibs+TWolves.png Jason Collins played the final minutes of a winning home debut with the Brooklyn Nets, who cooled off the Chicago Bulls with a 96-80 victory Monday night.

Finally playing at home more than a week after returning to the NBA as the league's first openly gay player, Collins checked in to a standing ovation from a sellout crowd of 17,732 that included former NBA Commissioner David Stern with 2:41 remaining, committed a foul just five seconds later and missed his only shot as the Nets won their third straight.

Deron Williams scored 20 points and Joe Johnson had 19 for the Nets (29-29), who got back to .500 for the first time since they were 2-2 after beating Utah on Nov. 5.

D.J. Augustin scored 16 points off the bench for the sloppy Bulls, who turned it over 28 times, leading to 30 Nets points, and had their four-game winning streak snapped.

The Bulls had a franchise-low three turnovers in their 109-90 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday and had won nine of 10.

But the Nets were too good in this one, building a series of comfortable leads and making the only intrigue down the stretch whether Collins would get in.

A chant of "Jason Collins! Jason Collins!" broke out while Williams was shooting a free throw with the Nets leading 90-73 with 3:27 remaining, and fans finally got their wish less than a minute later.

Collins' original 10-day contract will expire Tuesday and the Nets plan to sign him to a second deal on Wednesday. He has appeared in all five games since he signed on Feb. 23.

Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston each scored 14 points for the Nets, who were without starting center Kevin Garnett for a second straight game because of back spasms.

Joakim Noah managed just 10 points, six rebounds and one assist for the Bulls, a day after finishing with 13 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds in his fifth career triple-double. The All-Star center rolled his right ankle early in the second half of that game and said it hurt after the game, but he was determined to play Monday in his hometown.

The Bulls had dominated the first two meetings and beaten the Nets four straight times, but Brooklyn controlled this one most of the way in winning its third straight overall and improving to 12-2 at home since Chicago's rout here on Christmas Day.

The Nets scored the first eight points, the last one on Williams' free throw after Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau screamed his way to a technical foul after calling time. Their lead grew to 15, but the Bulls trimmed it to 27-18 by the end of the first quarter.

Brooklyn led 50-42 at halftime, and Chicago started the second half just as bad as the first. The Nets scored the first seven to take a 57-42 lead when Williams set up Mason Plumlee for a dunk, and Williams handled the offense himself later in the period, scoring Brooklyn's final seven points as the Nets pushed it to 76-59 after three. ]]>
<![CDATA[Fredette Already a Fan Favorite in Chicago]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:59:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jimmer+Shooting.jpg

It only took Jimmer Fredette three minutes to score his first points in a Chicago Bulls uniform.

Literally hours after arriving in the Windy City and the team making his signing for the rest of the season official, Fredette, a former lottery pick, found himself basking in the adoring cheers of fans after a quick pull-up jumper in transition swished through the net in Chicago’s blow out, 109-90, win over the New York Knicks in Sunday’s matinee at the United Center.

"It was great. These guys did a great job the whole game and got a big lead, and I was able to get into the game,” Fredette told reporters in front of his new locker, which once belonged to the now departed Luol Deng. “I don’t know really know the plays or anything like that. I just knew a few simple things and ran those. But it felt good to get in there in front of the fans, and to have a great win like that was great for us.”

Fredette finished the game with two points and two rebounds, and after making his first shot, his new teammates were just as excited as the fans.

“It’s cool. I think he’s excited, just getting an opportunity,” said Joakim Noah who logged a triple-double against the Knicks. “He’s done a lot of great things in college and even in ‘Sac,’ he wasn’t able to go out there and show what he can do. But in Coach Tom Thibodeau's system, we all know that guards shine.”

The Bulls, while being one of the most formidable defensive teams in the NBA under Thibodeau, struggles on the offensive side of the ball, especially with Derrick Rose being out. However, the team is hoping their newest acquisition can provide a spark offensively this season.

But for now, despite not even practicing with his new teammates, Jimmer Fredette is just happy for an opportunity to run with the Bulls.

“I just appreciate the fans and the support that I already have. This is a sports town. They love their sports teams here. They love the Bulls, every other team that’s out here, so I appreciate it,” he said. “I’m excited. I thought it was a great fit for me, to be able to come in and hopefully help spread the floor, and be able to give them an outside-shot presence. But I like the way that they play. They play really hard, they play for each other, they play as a team. So that’s the style of basketball I want to play, and that’s why I think it’s a good fit.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: D. Rose's Adorable Son Cheers for Carlos Boozer]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:53:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/PJ+Rose+3a.jpg

Derrick Rose's son, PJ, experienced a moment of freedom during Sunday's game against the New York Knicks as he roamed the hallways of the United Center with his father during the first half.

In this cute video, little PJ comes a across a monitor showing the game, and as he stands there watching, he knows when to clap and cheer after Carlos Boozer scored.

Can you say cute?

PJ made his national TV debut Sunday as cameras caught him walking through the Bulls tunnel at the United Center holding a basketball.

He even appeared to try and cross over the Bulls head of security who tried to intercept the toddler with his father just steps behind keeping an eye on him.

Photo Credit: Bryan Crawford]]>
<![CDATA[D. Rose's Son Grabs Spotlight at United Center]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:54:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/PJ+Rose+derrick.jpg

There won’t be many occasions in his basketball career where Derrick Rose will be upstaged, but it happened on Sunday during the Bulls' blowout win over the New York Knicks at the United Center. Rose’s son, affectionately known as “PJ” for Pooh Jr., made his national TV debut as cameras caught him walking through the Bulls tunnel at the United Center holding a basketball.

He even appeared to try and cross over the Bulls head of security who tried to intercept the toddler with his father just steps behind keeping an eye on him. Cameras caught D. Rose holding, bouncing and kissing his son who seemed more focused on watching the game than anything else.

It was definitely one of those “awww” moments that captured the joy of fatherhood that Derrick Rose often speaks so fondly of. As for PJ, well, it looks like there may be another hoops star in the Rose family.

Watch the adorable scene here.

<![CDATA[Jimmer Mania Officially Comes to Chicago]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 07:56:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jimmer+Fredette+Bulls.jpg

Jimmer Fredette completed his buyout with the Sacramento Kings on Thursday and cleared waivers Saturday afternoon. This opened the door for the former BYU star to sign to a prorated veteran minimum salary contract for the reminder of the season with the Chicago Bulls, the team officially announced Sunday.

“We are very excited to add a player like Jimmer to our roster,” Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statment.   “We’ve followed him closely throughout his collegiate and professional career, and believe he’ll be the type of player that will fit in with our group and be an asset to the team.”

Fredette was the national player of the year in 2011 and the 10th player taken overall in the NBA Draft that same year. However, since joining the Kings the sharpshooter, who currently leads the league in three-point field goal percentage, has had difficulty duplicating the success he had college at the pro level.

But if the signing of DJ Augustin to the Bulls is any indication, sometimes a change of scenery and another opportunity to prove their value, is all a player needs to regain their confidence and jumpstart their careers.

“There are a number of guys who are good, and sometimes, as you see with D.J., it's an opportunity to step in and add to what a team may need,” said Tom Thibodeau, alluding to, at the time, the potential signing of Fredette. “Whoever we sign, if we do sign someone, we want to play to their strengths and cover up their weaknesses.”

Jimmer Fredette’s ability to shoot the ball and create off the dribble is one that needn’t be questioned, and it will be an asset to a Bulls team that struggles to score consistently and wins nearly all of their games on the defensive side of the ball.

“The more shooting you have, the more it opens up the floor," said Thibodeau. "We want to open things up to attack off the dribble, with our cuts, things of that nature. We feel that is an area of need."

Fredette is expected to be at the United Center for Sunday’s matinee matchup with the New York Knicks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jordan Made More Money Last Year Than Most Active Athletes]]> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 17:45:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MJ+Bobcats+Retirement.jpg

Michael Jordan hasn’t stepped foot on an NBA court in more than 10 years, but he’s still scoring more in yearly income than every retired or active athlete, except for one.

Jordan made an estimated $90 million last year, thanks, in large part, to the $2.25 billion his signature sneakers raked in, according to a report from Forbes.

Forbes noted that Jordan’s income last year, the biggest in his career so far, surpassed those of all other retired or current athletes, except for boxer Floyd Mayweather.

The report credits Jordan’s fruitful relationship with Nike for the big payday, comparing his $2.25 billion in U.S. retail basketball sales last year to LeBron James’ $300 million.

Before 2013, Jordan’s earnings had peaked at $80 million during his last season with the Bulls (1997-98).

Jordan ranked number one among the list of highest paid retired athletes, followed by Arnold Palmer, David Beckham, Jack Nicklaus, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and others.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>