Take a long look at this picture! You are looking at possible history. Here’s the defining moment of this series. This is getting good Pippen Peoples. The playoffs are here. I’m going to be honest here. I would love for this series to go the distance with seven games with the final game going to overtime. Why? There are so many subplots and games within the game that there really isn’t enough time in the day to figure what to cover. Friday night in Game three was one of those games. The Chicago Bulls survived Game three winning 100-97 to make sure that there will be a game next week. Yes! There will be no sweep! Pippen Ain’t Easy can keep working! Oh I’m rambling aren’t I? Back to work. The Bulls did what they absolutely HAD to do winning on Friday. The all time record for teams falling down 3-0 is 0-108 in NBA history. With the Charlotte Bobcats losing to the Miami Heat on Saturday night, the record will be soon 0-109. Long story short. The Bulls now have a fighting chance. Here are the three lessons that I learned from the game…
1) Nene bailed the Bulls out and not only that woke Jimmy Butler up.
Truth be told, I have no idea what Nene was doing in this situation. This was so stupid that I had to take a look at how long Nene has been in the league. When I saw that this is his 12th year in the league makes this even more egregious. As a veteran, there is no excuse for what he did. The Washington Wizards had a weapon in Nene that the Bulls couldn’t stop…on either end of the floor. It’s one thing if John Wall or Bradley Beal had done something this ridiculous, (Beal did do something stupid, more on that later) this is their first playoff series, but not Nene. Nene has single-handedly turned the ENTIRE series around. Nene leading up to this incident was not having a good shooting night. He shot 5-15 from the floor for 10 points and he had five turnovers. I noticed when the cameras was on him he looked frustrated when he was on the bench. Then with a little over eight minutes in the game…it happened. Nene went up for a layup, scored then he and Jimmy Butler slapped at each other. Nene head butted Butler and then grabbed his neck. Nene got two technical fouls and got tossed.
What gets lost in all of this was, this incident woke Jimmy Butler up. For the first two games Jimmy Butler was awful shooting the ball. In the first two games, Butler only shot 8-21 from the field. I mean really can you blame the guy? Butler averages over 48 minutes per game! Butler plays so much even I had to cut him some slack. But immediately after that incident, Jimmy Butler came down the very next possession and shot a three in the Wizards mouth. He then went on to hit another three pointer late and knock down important free throws down the stretch to keep the Wizards at bay. I’m very proud of Jimmy Butler. Look it would have been very easy for him to lose his cool and try to wrestle with Nene trying to prove his manhood to the world on TV. However, he looked like the seasoned veteran and saw the big picture and how much this team needs him on the floor. He outsmarted Nene and if the Bulls can tie this series and go back to Chicago 2-2, the bulk of the credit goes to Butler and his cool head.
As for Nene, he was quoted after the game saying he had not regrets and that’s what he’s supposed to do. Yeah sure Nene that’s really what you’re supposed to do. Get yourself tossed out of an important playoff game where your team can end it in DC and on top of that get suspended for Game four. Brilliant! Now the Bulls can match up with the Bulls a lot easier and you can watch it all unfold. Ask Wizards owner Ted Leonsis if that was what you were supposed to do. If he agrees, which I sincerely doubt. To each his own. I may be wrong but if you ask the Pippen Peoples, I doubt it.
2) Mike Dunleavy lost his ever-loving mind and roasted Washington.
I said in an interview with Ben Mehic the Editor of the website the Wiz of Awes that the Bulls needed Mike Dunleavy needed to learn how to spell jump shot. By George, I think he’s got it. At least on this night. I’ve been saying this for months. Mike Dunleavy is the X-factor for the Chicago Bulls. If he shoots better than 50% from the floor, the Bulls almost always win. If he doesn’t well, you are better fixing a sock drawer or a leaking faucet because his offense is just as broke. Mike Dunleavy got the spirit of Jerry West in him lighting the Wizards up for 35 points on 12-19 shooting from the field. He shot an absolute obscene 8-10 from the three-point line. He also found time to grab five rebounds and dish out three assists. This is coming off two games of scoring only 20 points combined. The Bulls needed every bit of what Dunleavy gave them in Game three because they were in an uphill battle all night. He even found time to teach our good friend Bradley Beal a lesson about opening his mouth talking slick in interviews. At halftime, Beal stated that Dunleavy was in a zone and he wouldn’t score in the second half. Then in the third quarter, Beal fouled Dunleavy shooting a three pointer in his face. Oh by the way, Dunleavy hit the free throw too. What was that Bradley? Well at least you weren’t stupid enough to get suspended. Oops my bad, too soon Nene.
3) The Chairmen Of The Bench is collecting dust.
I’m totally at a loss of what is going on with the Bulls bench. Look we know that DJ Augustin and Taj Gibson is going to play. DJ Augustin had an off night scoring 13 points on 4-15 shooting but he might have shown us something. When he was on the floor, he picked up the tempo and got the Bulls back into the game after a slow offensive start. Augustin also had seven assists. I liked how Augustin played. He didn’t allow a bad shooting night keep from helping the Bulls in other ways. Plus he adjusted to how the Wizards were defending him. Augustin is going to struggle with Trevor Ariza guarding him in the half court. He knows that so he picked up the pace. Taj Gibson for the second straight game looked the Wizards frontcourt in the eye and did not blink. He also scored 13 points and played strong in the paint on both sides of the floor. Now to my confusion. Why in the world is Tony Snell playing? If anyone wants to tell me, feel free. He has scored two points more than I have writing recap this in the series and the same amount that you guys, the Pippen Peoples have reading this recap in the last two games. Umm, is it me or this guy in over his head as a rookie. I mean the dude fouled a Wizards player 60 feet from the basket giving up three free throws late. He shot two BAD three-point shots that led to Washington buckets on the other end in the first half. Well ya’ll know the song, sing along!
‘Oh we are the Chairmen’
‘We’d like to join the show’
‘Thibs don’t like us’
‘So now we have to Gooooooooo!’
Here’s my three lessons…Now learn from this!
Mike Dunleavy played in his 12th game on Friday night. His record coming in…1-10. He’s not used to this! Let’s hope he gets comfortable with the feeling.