Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, October 20

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Big Play Misses Prove Costly for the Bears Chicago-Centric Bowl Season Picks »

Bulls Mon Dec 10 2012

Belinelli and Bulls Stay Hot

Bulls_200.pngNo need to frantically search for Lasik surgery deals on Groupon, your organs of vision are working appropriately. Marco Belinelli and the Bulls are finally a sight for sore eyes. The team was one no-call-foul on Loul Deng away from winning their last five games in a row, and are now on a three-game winning streak.

A week ago when Rip Hamilton went down, I surmised that Jimmy Butler was to benefit most from the extra minutes available. Butler has played well, as evident in Stacey King's frequent mustering of the nomenclature "Jimmy Buckets," but it has been Belinelli who has Bulls fans excited about the current two-guard situation. The Bulls three-game winning streak is due in large part to Joakim Noah's grandiose performances, Belinelli's surprising uprising, and a total team defensive effort. (Not to be redundant, but until Derrick Rose's main focus is hoops and not PJ's diaper duty, let's assume anytime the team wins it will be a total team defensive effort.) The Bulls signed Belinelli to the bi-annual exception contract and expected him to be a role player, but at 20 points and 41 minutes per contest over his last three games, he's playing at a mid-level exception status! Though the sample size may be a bit diminutive, it's very telling of the potential Belinelli has when given the opportunity. (Sidebar, what has better odds? Every Bulls player playing at least 38 minutes in a game once this season or coach Thibodeau not playing one player 38 minutes in at least one game this year?)

In the first month of action, Belinelli had a cumbersome time assimilating to his new surroundings in Chicago. Though he's fluent in two languages, he was barley lingual in both sides of Thibodeau's playbook. However, to someone who has had a career of abysmal advance defensive stats like Belinelli, understanding defensive guru Thibodeau's system is like trying to make sense of... well no analogy need, it's difficult. He struggled early on making baskets, shooting at a 40% rate, but since being promoted to starter, Belinelli is nailing field goals 48% of the time, which is not bad considering most of his shots are off-balance jumpers.

Reports are now that Hamilton may miss a month of action, thus giving Belinelli a chance to earn 20-25 minutes later in the season and adding much needed rotational depth when Hamilton returns. Though once a player of Belinelli's streaky ilk gets minutes, it's hard for that player to go back to the way things were, so we'll have to wait and see how all of this shakes down.

Can the Bulls stay hot?

The next four games are against teams (LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and Memphis Grizzles) with winning percentages over .500. The Bulls squad just finished a four games in five nights stretch, while Loul Deng and Joakim Noah maintained their league leading minutes per game in each competition. The next four games are in a span of nine days, so there will be some rest for the weary. The team seems to play better when they're affected by injuries, confronted with challenges, and being counted out. The Bulls has a revenge-fueled reason to seek payback from their next four opponents. The LA Clippers blew them out early this year. The last time they were in Philadelphia, former Bull CJ Watson, passed the ball to an exhausted ex-Bull Omer Asik with seconds left and the rest is regrettable history. The Brooklyn Nets came into the United Center last season as the New Jersey Nets and embarrassed the home team. And who can forget Martin Luther King Day back in January of this year when the Memphis Grizzles made a day of the afternoon game shellacking on the Bulls? The team will come as they are, with confidence, swagger, and best of all, defensive intensity. I don't make too many predictions, but worst case scenario the team should win at least two of these four games. Brooklyn and Philadelphia are struggling as of late, Los Angeles doesn't play well on the road, and well, Memphis will probably win. They're pretty stacked at every position.

Belinelli and the Bulls are hot, and the competition's heating up, as long as the team stays cool under pressure, they'll cook up a few more wins over the next 10 days.

GB store
GB store
GB store

Tailgate on Flickr

Join the Tailgate Flickr Pool.

About Tailgate

Tailgate is the sports section of Gapers Block, covering all Chicago sports. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Chad Ruter,
Tailgate staff inbox:



Tailgate Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15