The Chicago Bulls have so many scoring options. New head coach Fred Hoiberg was hired to orchestrate the parts and make some beautiful music. But in the end, sometimes the game comes down to defense, and Jimmy Butler is proving to be a heck of a stopper.
The Orlando Magic were trailing the Bulls most of the game, but got back in it with a 14-0 fourth quarter run. Butler intercepted a Magic pass to stop a scoring threat, and he created another turnover late, to help the Bulls hold off the Magic, 92-87.
“On the defensive end, I have to be the one to get a couple of stops, get us going,” said Butler. He has quick hands and the guile of a cat burglar and that can be a huge asset. Sunday night it was as Chicago won its third game of the young season, and improve to 3-1.
The Bulls led by 14 at the half, and by 12 after the 3rd quarter, and seemed to have this game in hand, but the pesky Magic came back. Last Friday, they almost shocked OKC but lost in double OT, 139-136. Sunday night they shot 38% from the field, and 30% from long-distance. The Bulls started out shooting well, hitting over 50% of its baskets early in the game. Chicago ended up hitting 38% from the floor, and 25% from three-point land. The Bulls made 19-22 free-throws and won the game.
Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol each scored 16 points. Gasol had 8 rebounds. Butler had 14 points plus those two defensive plays in the fourth quarter. Derrick Rose, still recovering from surgery to his orbital bone abovc his left eye, only scored 6 points on 2-8 from the floor. He made 2 free-throws to ice the game for the Bulls with 10 seconds remaining. Rose also had 7 rebounds and led the team with 8 assists. Joakim Noah had 8 points and 9 rebounds off the bench.
Doug McDermott had a good game scoring 12 points in a reserve role for the Bulls. The second-year pro is getting his footwork in and feeling more comfortable on the floor. His shot is sleek and soft.
Rose would like to have better vision with his left eye. But, it’s not where he wants to it be. “As long as we’re winning games, I couldn’t care less about anything else, about my eye or anything,” Rose said.
New Magic coach Scott Skiles, a former Magic player and Bulls head coach, has his Magic playing hard, but they are 0-3 for the season. Evan Fournier had 19 points. Nikola Vucevic had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Chicago goes on the road to play Charlotte for its third road game of the season.