Gut check: Bulls 95, Heat 91

I guess white men CAN jump.

I guess white men CAN jump.

With Joakim Noah sidelined by plantar fasciitis, the last thing the Bulls needed was for a player to go rogue and put himself before the team. And yet that’s apparently what Tyrus Thomas did prior to Chicago’s home game against the Miami Heat. And Thomas was suspended for…whatever it was he did.

Said Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro: “It’s an internal matter. [Bulls GM] Gar [Forman] and myself will handle it. … It’s unfortunate timing, but in the short run there’s a responsibility. No one player is bigger than the team, and there’s a responsibility to do things right. And I think by handling the situation the right way, which I think we are, I know we are. It’s not one person. It’s a group. And you have to be committed to your teammates, your coaches, the organization. That doesn’t go just for Tyrus. It goes for everybody. The guys know how things run around here. That’s how it’s going to be.”

At least one thing is clear: That’s how “it” is going to be.

As for Thomas, shouldn’t we have seen this coming? After all, Tyrus had sky high hopes for this season. In case you don’t remember, Thomas believed he had a very real chance to become a 20-10 guy this year. This is what he had to say about that possibility last October: “First, I have to figure out my role as far as the offensive end. I have to figure out where I’m going to get my shots. But on the defensive end, definitely 10 (rebounds a game).”

Ty’s current averages: 8.5 PPG and 6.2 RPG. I guess you could say things haven’t quite gone according to plan.

Since that bold prediction, Thomas has fractured the radius bone in his left forearm during a weightlifting session at practice, missed 23 games, lost his starting job to rookie Taj Gibson, endured a constant stream of trade rumors, and watched his minutes slowly dwindle to the point that — even with Noah shut down until some time after the All-Star break — he logged only 16 minutes of PT in a loss to the Hawks in Atlanta.

Make no mistake: Thomas has the physical tools necessary to be an All-Star-caliber player. However, whenever his future is discussed, words like “enigmatic” and “mercurial” always pop up. Tyrus has over halfway through his fourth season as a pro, but the Bulls still have no idea what he’s going to give them on a nightly basis. He might score 20 points and grab 15 boards. He might go 2-for-13 from the field and finish with more turnovers and rebounds.

If it seems as though the coaching staff has lost faith in him, it’s probably because they have. There simply is no other way to explain his sporadic appearances. And whatever he said or did behind the scenes isn’t going to help his standing with his teammates, coaches or management.

Meanwhile, the Bulls — losers of three in a row — had a basketball game to play. And they had to squeeze 20 meaningful minutes out of Chris Richard, whom they waived in October but recently signed to a 10-day contract. Richard, who no doubt can be counted on to bust his butt without complaining about minutes, responded to his big chance with 7 rebounds (including 4 on the offensive end), 2 points, 2 assists, 2 blocked shots and a steal.

Just imagine if Richard had Thomas’ raw talent.

Richard wasn’t the only Chicago player who came up big. Luol Deng earned a game-high 11 free throw attempts and finished with a game-best 25 points. Derrick Rose added 24 points and made some big plays down the stretch. John Salmons came off the bench to score 15 points and dish out a team-high 5 assists. And Brad Miller chipped in with 13 points, 8 boards and a career-best 5 steals.

All this on the second night of back-to-backs after traveling back to Chicago from Atlanta. It was a real gut check. And it turns out the Bulls still have their guts intact.

Said Rose: “Definitely, we needed this one. It gives us more confidence. Our locker room was way more cheerful than it was the past couple of games. Now, we just got to keep it going.”

It won’t be easy. There were signs of trouble in this game, like how Chicago got outrebounded 52-41. However, they did have the edge in second-chance points (19-15), points in the paint (38-30), fastbreak points (20-12), points off turnovers (21-16) and free throw attempts (35-19). Both teams wanted this game…but the Bulls wanted it more.

Too bad Tyrus couldn’t be a part of that.

Timeout Tally:
1st timeout: Deng was fouled before the timeout (1-for-2)
2nd timeout: Bulls forced Miami into a turnover
3rd timeout: Udonis Haslem hit a jumper
4th timeout: Salmons missed a 14-footer
5th timeout: Deng was fouled (2-for-2)
6th timeout: Deng was fouled (2-for-2)

Vinny called one timeout after the Heat had already committed a fouls. He called two timeouts immediately after a Miami timeout when the Heat had possession of the ball. The final timeout was called at a point when Miami was forced the fouls. So the Bulls had only two offensive possessions coming out of a timeout. One resulted in a missed jump shot, the other in two free throws for Deng (thanks to a sweet feed by D-Rose) that put the Bulls up by five points with 37 seconds left.

Extras:
Recap, Box Score, Advanced Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

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16 Responses to Gut check: Bulls 95, Heat 91

  1. david g February 7, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    i’ve been sick of tyrus for a while now. sure he’s got that potential, but if he only had a brain… he plays like a little punk kid that thinks he’s better than what he actually does. im tired of getting blue-balled by his awesome blocks and intense energy. i say we ship him off to the wizards or clippers and just get rid of this migraine. we need more joakims in this world

  2. tc643@hotmail.com'
    Tony C. February 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    The contrast between Richard and Thomas that you mention was the most interesting aspect of this game, to my mind. While limited in ability, Richard contributed in a meaningful and positive ways. And unlike Thomas, Richard appears to be well aware of his limitations, and plays his role comfortably.

  3. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 February 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    i agree tony 100 % tt at times it seems he thinks he is kg and he is not thats the prob with him

  4. detroitmurderdog@gmail.com'
    Detroit Murder Dog February 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    I went to the game expecting to see a Bulls power forward jack up 20 foot hooks with 14 seconds on the shot clock. With Tyrus out, I did not get to see that. Who do I talk to about refunds?

  5. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia February 7, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Not only that sometimes TT thinks he is a SF-PG like Magic Johnson. Like I said before TT is a Joke and he should be the one on the Bulls top list to be traded along with John Salmons & Jerome James instead of Kirk Hinrich.

  6. TexasBullsFan February 7, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    I’m really surprised we haven’t heard from the “It’s VDN’s fault! He doesn’t play him enough” crowd yet. It seems like any time someone brings up Tyrus, half the crowd chimes in with something about how Tyrus is just misunderstood and if he got 40 minutes a game he’d be amazing.Yeah, it’s all a giant conspiracy against Tyrus. VDN, Skiles, Boylan, Paxon and Lindsey Hunter would all rather lose games than give Tyrus his respect and playing time. It can’t be his inconsistent play and bad, me-first attitude. No, it’s got to be a huge team-wide vendetta against poor hapless Tyrus, who’s a victim of circumstance.

    Do those people even hear what they’re saying?

    Tyrus only has one person to blame for his lack of minutes. That person is Tyrus Thomas. He blows defensive assignments left and right because he’s too busy roaming free to try and get blocks. He’s slow rotating over. He doesn’t like to help. Add to the fact that he’s undersized as his position and he’s a total defensive liability.

    On the offensive side, he has no post-up moves. None. In the game against the Hawks, his flailing hook shot had to be one of the ugliest I’ve seen outside of a 5th and 6th grade prep game. He just threw the ball at the hoop and prayed it would drop somehow. His only other offensive “move” if you will is to fire up 15-20 foot jumpers all day. These are shots with high-risk and relatively low reward. And for every stretch of 5 games where he puts up 15 a game, like last post-season, he goes through a month where he can’t hit a shot and averages 6 points a game.

    For someone as athletic as he is to be so lazy on the court is a crime. We’re lobbying for more playing time for a guy who doesn’t rebound, can’t shoot, and can’t play defense? Get out of here.

  7. owill75@yahoo.com'
    dolo February 8, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    Tyrus feels that with more playing time the team has a better chance to win. I imagine it’s very frustrating to sit on the sideline and watch your team lose and think, “if I was in there they wouldn’t have scored right there”, overe and aver again. What if he’s right? As a rule players do not lose their starting positions due to injuries, especially not to rookies. That said, I can understand having Taj in the starting lineup. He’s more consistent than Tyrus and his defensive instincts and overall energy and attitude are top notch. Yet Tyrus’ lack of significant mintues for a lottery pick with his physical abilities is baffling to me. We have an asset that we have not figured out how to maximize. If we ever do (which looks highly doubtful at this point) we’ll be a better team. How long is Tyrus suppose to sit on the sideline and accept losing without saying something? I for one am glad he spoke up. I just hope someone listens.

  8. sportytomboy1212@aim.com'
    DJ February 8, 2010 at 4:50 am #

    I totally agree with most of you people about Tyrus Thomas with his lack of skills. He needs to be traded right away before the deadline with John Salmons and their 1st round draft pick for Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington and their 2nd round draft pick from NY. Hopefully the Bulls GM’s are seeing the same problems that we are all seeing with Tyrus Thomas being inconsistent like always.

    What makes me mad is that I am hearing rumors that the Bulls are only planning on trading John Salmons or Kirk HInrich??? At least with Captain Kirk is he playing a consistent game each night by, being a leader on: offense and defense and his stats numbers are going up even since he became a starter again.

    If I were the Bulls GM’s why would I trade a guy like Kirk Hinrich when he is another big piece of my puzzle, why the Bulls are winning more games when he is a starter. John Salmons on the other hand I can care less but, he is not playing that bad compare to Tyrus Thomas.

    Trust me, if the Bulls don’t get an All Star player in return like Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire or David Lee for Hinrich. Then they are in big trouble of not making the playoffs if they pick up guys like: Tony Allen, Brian Scalabrine, Bill Walker and Eddie House from the Celtics or if they pick up: Adam Morrison, Jordan Farmar, D.J. Mbenga and Josh Powell from the Lakers.

    Plus the Bulls main goals are to at least have a decent recorder and making the playoffs, to attract more star players to sign with them to have a chance again at winning a championship.

  9. mears54321@hotmail.com'
    Chad February 8, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    Thank you Tyrus for speaking up. No one lets him play through his mistakes and learn from them. Every other top 10 drafted player is given the benefit of the doubt. But no Bulls coach is willing to put in the work to bring out the best in Tyrus. Get Tyrus a personal coach or anyone who can straighten him out and teach him how to play smart. He is worth making the extra effort for, that is why they gave away Aldridge and got Tyrus in the draft. He has the best physical ability of anyone drafted since Lebron. Paxson was willing to risk losing Aldridge’s solid basketball abilities to get Tyrus. The next step is to make Tyrus as smart and hungry to work hard as possible. They have failed by giving up on him, so now he speaks up a few days before he is going to get traded. After he leaves Chicago in the next week, some team will give Tyrus a chance and he will perform. Chicago has given away guys like Ron Artest and Cedric Benson, and they have matured and become solid players. But Tyrus, he will be traded away at the age of 23 and will become an all star in the next couple years. Come on Paxson and Gar, keep Tyrus a little longer, you won’t have to pay him much money next year after he didn’t do much this year. He is better than PJ Brown, Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Taj Gibson. He just needs them to step back and let him be the man for a change. Taj is good, but he will never be great. Tyrus is sick of all the radio guys and people on the internet bad mouthing him all the time, what has he done to you. He has atleast been entertaining, his dunks make me want to go to the United Center. He has won them some games over the years. Goodbye Tyrus, you will be missed, as much as Elton Brand, as much as Ron Artest, as much as Jamal Crawford, as much as Dennis Rodman, as much as Cedric Benson, as much as Kyle Orton, maybe one day as much as Greg Maddux in 1992.

  10. bahrani@uchicago.edu'
    Mahmoud February 8, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    You mention Aldridge…it is looking more and more like that might have been the worst draft in Bulls history. Taking Ty, basically a bust, over Aldridge and Roy, is in retrospect one of the worst decisions ever in the draft. We needed a big two guard, we needed a power forward who could score with his back to the basket…and we picked a hybrid 3/4 who couldn’t really address either of those needs. Jeez.

  11. tc643@hotmail.com'
    Tony C. February 8, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    Chad –

    Ease up on the Kool-Aid – it’s very high glycemic.

  12. mears54321@hotmail.com'
    Chad February 8, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    Aldridge and Roy have been a lot better than Tyrus so far. If they aren’t capable of fixing Tyrus then they should have drafted one of the other 2 guys. But once they drafted Tyrus, they needed to work with him harder so he could become a consistent player and not another wasted draft pick like half the Bulls first round picks.

  13. tc643@hotmail.com'
    Tony C. February 8, 2010 at 5:49 am #

    No question that TT was a poor pick. However, as bad a coach as VDN is, I do not blame him for TT’s lack of development. The central point is that he has obviously stunted his own growth.

    There is a slim chance that some coach of some other team will be able to click with Thomas, and develop him further. But players with attitudes like his rarely ever develop to their full potential. He’s not comparable to the players you mentioned, as every one of those with the exception of Artest learned to play the roles that benefitted their respective teams. They also all have far higher ball IQs than TT.

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    beauty tips August 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

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