Despite the tough loss the Chicago Bulls suffered Tuesday night, there were many positives to the situation. If these can continue going into the playoffs, there is a chance at greater success for the postseason.
Jimmy Butler: With Luol Deng sidelined due to a bruised hip, there was no doubt that the Bulls would need someone to pick up the slack. Butler did just that by taking the extended minutes and picking up the scoring. In 48 minutes of action, the 6′ 7″ swingman out of Marquette put up 28 points (10-12 FG, 3-3 3PT, 5-6 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. All season long, people have spoke of Butler’s tremendous potential, which he has shown over the course of the season. But last night he emphasized that he has what it takes to be great in this league. What Butler did last night can only gives us hope for the future.
Malcolm Thomas: Thomas was finally able to play extended minutes in the Bulls’ loss last night. Just as it was not expected to, it was not all good from him, but potential was revealed in those 26 minutes of playing time. Each time he checked in, Thomas helped the Bulls come out of their offensive slump. He was active in the post and on the boards as he finished the night with 6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Considering the fact Thomas just got to Chicago, he sure made an impact early on. This will definitely come in handy later on as the Bulls are lacking depth in the backcourt, not to mention the injuries Chicago keeps taking on.
Three-Point Shooting: Yes, that does say three-point shooting. Despite the fact that the Bulls are one of the worst teams in that area, they did well from the perimeter last night. They shot 58.8%, 10-17 from behind the arc. If not for these threes, Toronto would have been able to run away with an even greater win, so props to the Bulls for stepping up their three-game last night, though 17 three attempts could have easily produced a different result.
Offensive Rebounding: This one is simple. The Bulls were able to grab 13 offensive boards last night while the Raptors only achieved 3. More offensive rebounds means more chances to score, which means a greater chance at winning.