Well Pippen Peoples, it didn’t happen for me. I didn’t get any of the Buffet Billion. So I gave up and got back to my “Jordan Dream” and resumed my duties on Pippen Aint Easy, the best choice for Bulls news, previews and news! Seriously folks, you know I love doing this, the family went off for the weekend to celebrate my father’s 23rd birthday. Happy Birthday Pops! But even though I was away there’s always a TV set on to watch the Bulls. The Chicago Bulls on Saturday avoided being that “Team” who broke the Philadelphia 76ers losing streak sending them to their 24th (since 25th after losing to the San Antonio Spurs) straight loss winning 91-81. This completed the strange back to back games with the Indiana Pacers in between. The Bulls escaped Philly with a 102-94 victory on Wednesday. Here’s the three things that I learned watching these two games.
1) The Philadelphia 76ers are actually better than their record.
Now before I start getting nasty comments about not knowing what I’m talking about, listen a minute. It is very difficult to lose as many games as the 76ers have lost (and counting.) This team actually does try…HARD! They just do not have enough firepower to beat anybody right now. If DJ Augustin did not hit timely threes in the 4th quarter on Wednesday, the Bulls lose this game. The Sixers lost to my New York Knicks by one point. On Saturday the Sixers were actually competitive in this game. The only problem is that they shot 1-11,768 from the three-point line. (Actually 1-20 but you get my drift.) Couple that with only 13 points in the 2nd quarter, the game was never in any real doubt. If you look at this Sixers team and the assets they have, it really shows the amazing job the Bulls have done pulling it all together as a team since the Luol Deng trade. Remember a lot of people (myself included) thought this was how the Bulls were going to turn out. Coach Thibodeau found a system out of what he had and turned it into something somewhat successful on the offensive end of the floor. With Joakim Noah using his passing skills to hit the cutters going to the basket with Augustin being a season saver, well…well, the Bulls stay afloat. Mix a little of Taj Gibson knocking down 17 footers in the 4th quarter and voilà! Bulls have the 4th seed in the Leastern Conference. After all the Philly trades look at how the Sixers fared on Saturday…
Thaddeus Young-28 points on 10-26 shooting while missing all seven three-point attempts.
Henry Sims-18 points and 15 rebounds
Rest of team-35 points…GUH!
2) DJ Augustin is on some serious swag right now.
I could say that it the 76ers that is giving DJ confidence right now, but who cares? He’s got the confidence. It is almost stunning to see how he far he has come since leaving Charlotte. After being cut by the Toronto Raptors, DJ probably had issues being picked in a YMCA league, but now he looks like not only a player in this league, but the lottery pick the Bobcats used on him. Augustin led the Bulls in scoring off the bench with 20 points while knocking down four shots from the land of three. This is a good thing considering the guy that started at point Kirk Hinrich contributed little with three points on 1-5 shooting. But it was bigger than that, DJ scored in what Earvin “Magic” Johnson calls winning time, hitting shot after shot in the 4th quarter. Then on Saturday he backed it up with a great floor game scoring 16 points including three more three-point shots while dishing out six assists. DJ Augustin looks like he’s dialed in to the game mentally and physically which is good because right now he’s the Bulls most consistent outside shooter.
3) Man I love watching THIS Jimmy Butler play.
For the last few games, Jimmy Butler was driving me NUTS! He wasn’t aggressive, he camped out at the three-point line and didn’t have a permit because he was throwing up bricks. But now, it looks like he’s starting to figure it out…at least against the 76ers. Check out the stats on Wednesday…16 points, six rebounds. four assists, two steals and two blocks. Here’s how you can tell he was aggressive in the game Pippen Peoples, 5-8 from the field, ONLY 1-2 from the three-point line and 5-5 from the line. If you like him on your fantasy team check him out Saturday…17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and one steal. He did this shooting 4-8 from the field, 1-3 from the three-point line and eight of ten from the line. What I have said about him is true, if he moves without the ball and takes the ball to the basket strong he gets easy baskets and gets fouled. He then goes to the line and makes foul shots. Seems easy and efficient doesn’t it? It had better be when you are playing 46 minutes like he did in BOTH of these games.
Here’s what I learned…Learn from this!)
The Chicago Bulls are two percentage points behind the Toronto Raptors (.565-.563) for the third seed in the Leastern Conference playoff race. Neck and neck Pippen Peoples! Neck and neck.