Bulls live to fight another day

757754.png

Bulls live to fight another day

Following the Bulls disappointing Game 4 loss to the 76ers Sunday in Philadelphia, none other than second-year center Omer Asik said these words: We will never give up fighting.

Literally and figuratively, the Bulls did just that Tuesday at the United Center, scrapping out an ugly 77-69 win over the Sixers to keep their season alive, all the while battling even more injuries and opposing players alike in a show of heart fitting of a such a blue-collar, albeit short-handed squad, though they still face a 3-2 deficit in the first-round playoff series.

All-Star Luol Deng (24 points, eight rebounds) got off to one of his quick starts, scoring the Bulls first two buckets, but the opening period was mostly devoid of offense, as both squads struggled to put points on the board.

The starting backcourt of C.J. Watson (five points, seven assists) and Rip Hamilton, in particular, had accuracy issues, combining to go 2-for-10 from the floor in the frame, while Carlos Boozer (19 points, 13 rebounds, six assists) was scoreless.

Sixers rookie big man Lavoy Allen (nine points, six rebounds) came off the bench to score six points, helping the visitors take an early lead, though that was mitigated by their six turnovers in the stanza.

A boost of energy from reserves Taj Gibson (eight points, seven rebounds) and Ronnie Brewer (six points, eight rebounds) helped the hosts cause and after a late-period triple from Deng, they took a 17-16 advantage into the second quarter.

The game remained close and scoring was still at a premium, as both defenses clamped downAsik and Gibson were formidable shot-blocking presences on the interiorthough Dengs aggressive approach, combined with timely buckets from his teammates, kept things close. Fan favorite John Lucas III and some offensive contributions from Boozer helped the Bulls obtain some breathing room from the frigid-shooting Sixers.

As if the low-octane game needed some punchliterallyafter a scramble for a loose ball near the Bulls bench, a mild skirmish ensued, resulting in double technical on Gibson and Philadelphia veteran power forward Elton Brand, a former Bull, as well as the United Center crowd raising its energy, along with the diminutive and energetic Lucas. It carried over to the entire squad, as Boozer and Brewer, with the crowd roaring its appreciation, sparked the Bulls late in the first half, sending them into the intermission with an incredibly low-scoring 35-26 lead.

The carry-over effect continued after the break, as the Bulls maintained a double-digit cushion, played with high energy and both Boozer and Deng were offensive focal points. Brewer and Gibson again came off the bench to make key plays at both ends of the floor, but the hosts stifling defenseor depending on how you look at it, the guests floundering offensewas what was crucial in keeping the Sixers at bay, despite point guard Jrue Holiday (16 points, five rebounds, four assists), All-Star swingman Andre Iguodala (11 points), center Spencer Hawes (11 points, 14 rebounds) and sixth man Lou Williams (13 points) finally starting to emerge.

Amazingly, the injury bug hit the short-handed Bulls once again, as Gibson, after stepping on Allens foot, went down clutching his right ankle with 2:06 left in the third quarter and while he got to his feet under his own power, he hobbled over to the bench and was then helped to the locker room by the teams training staff for treatment, though hed eventually be cleared to return to the contest.

Still, with Boozer continuing to do damage, the Bulls entered the final stanza with a 57-48 edge.

Boozer continued to carry the offensive load at the outset of the fourth quarter and got help from Asik, who anchored the Bulls defense, which continued to frustrate the offensively-devoid Sixers. Deng then stepped up, draining two dagger triplesboth of which were followed by Holiday jumperscontributing to the hosts lead ballooning to as much as 15 and with Gibsons return to the court, the home crowd was in euphoria midway through the period.

As the game entered its stretch run, with Gibson hobbling and the offense starting to bog down, the Bulls were playing against two foes: Philadelphia and the clock, but as happened so many times during the regular season, they simply found a way, with a jumper from Watson and a steal from Brewer among the plays that kept them ahead.

A Deng three-pointer with 1:32 remaining, giving the Bulls a 12-point lead, effectively sealed the deal, despite a last-gasp effort by the Sixers, extending the series to a sixth game Thursday night in Philadelphia.

PHOTO: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose reunite at Cubs-Dodgers game

PHOTO: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose reunite at Cubs-Dodgers game

Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose may not be teammates anymore, but that didn't stop them from catching up on the west coast while watching a familiar Chicago team.

The former set of Bulls teammates happened to bump into each other at the Cubs-Dodgers game on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, where they both work out in the offseason.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Bulls fans!]

Rose and Butler likely haven't seen each other since the trade that sent Rose to the New York Knicks over the summer.

Butler shared the picture on his Instagram with Rose and his son P.J., capturing a cool moment after speculation of a reported rift during their time together in Chicago never seemed to go away:

three cats at a cubs and dodgers game.

A photo posted by Jimmy Butler (@jimmybutler) on

Dwyane Wade's cousin shot and killed in Chicago

Dwyane Wade's cousin shot and killed in Chicago

On Thursday, Dwyane Wade appeared on an ESPN special for The Undefeated to talk about gun violence. The next day, Wade's cousin was shot and killed in Chicago.

Nykea Aldridge was pushing a baby stroller in the Chicago neighborhood of Parkway Gardens when she was shot and killed. Aldridge was 32 and a mother of four.

Police said she was not the intended target and one person was taken into custody as a result of the incident.

Wade's words during his appearance on the ESPN panel took on extra meaning after Friday's shooting.

"It's important for all of us to help each other, to go back and say 'You know what, where did this start, how did this start? Let's see how we can change there,'" Wade said on ESPN. "It's deep-rooted and this is something that didn't start today. This is something that's not going to end tomorrow. But this is something that we can start a conversation, we can start the work today and hopefully eventually we can stop it."

Wade tweeted after the shooting.

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

The Windy City Bulls are beginning to feel more like a real team.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' new NBA D-League franchise that will play games in Hoffman Estates beginning this season participated in the league's expansion draft.

As one of three new expansion teams joining the NBA D-League this season, the Windy City Bulls were allowed to select 12 players from the other 19 teams in the league. Each returning D-League team was allowed to protect the rights to 10 players on each roster with two players being available to the Bulls, Long Island Nets and Greensboro Swarm.

The Bulls acquired the rights to 12 players as here's the rundown of who they selected.

Round 1: Wesley Saunders, G/F, Harvard (Austin Spurs)
Round 2: Kiwi Gardner, G, Midland College (Santa Cruz Warriors)
Round 3: Ralph Sampson III, C, Minnesota (Maine Red Claws)
Round 4: Booker Woodfox, G, Creighton (Texas Legends)
Round 5: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 6: Akeem Richmond, G, East Carolina (Reno Bighorns)
Round 7: Casey Prather, G/F, Florida (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 8: Jon Octeus, G, Purdue (Canton Charge)
Round 9: Justin Dentmon, G, Washington (Texas Legends)
Round 10: Jamal Jones, F, Texas A&M (Delaware 87ers)
Round 11: Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Round 12: Ian Chiles, C, Morgan State (Salt Lake City Stars)

It's important to note that although the Bulls have the rights to these 12 players for two seasons that many of them might never suit up for the team. Many players from this expansion draft group will head overseas to pursue professional opportunities there. If they do end up signing a D-League contract, the Bulls will have right of first refusal, giving the Bulls rights to these players for two seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Among the notables picked by the Bulls include the 5-foot-7 Gardner, who has had a successful D-League stint in the past as well as some experience in the Saudi Premier League. Local college hoops fans will probably recognize the 6-foot-3 McNeal from his days at Marquette where he played for one season with Bulls star Jimmy Butler. McNeal also has more NBA experience than anyone on the expansion list as he most recently finished out the 2014-15 season with the Phoenix Suns. Former Washington product Justin Dentmon is also a native of Carbondale as the 6-foot-0 guard helped Carbondale High School to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 IHSA Class AA state basketball tournament.

Windy City will tip off the season with a home opener at Sears Centre on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2016-17 D-League schedule was released earlier this week as Windy City will have 24 home games, including 16 that will be played on Friday or Saturday night. 

While the Windy City roster will look very different from this expansion draft list, the Windy City Bulls should help the main Bulls franchise develop young talent in a nearby location as it will be the start of a very intriguing dynamic.