Bulls miffed at Lillard's last shot

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
12:42
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard scored 16 points Sunday night, but it was his final two that had the Chicago Bulls talking.

That's because with 1.9 seconds left and the game already in hand, the 22 year-old point guard decided to stuff one more basket down instead of dribbling out the clock. The move caught the attention of more than one person in the Bulls' locker room.

"I just told him, 'That’s not the right play, dawg," Bulls guard Nate Robinson said. "Just dribble the ball out. You all have got the victory already,' stuff like that. Everybody around the league watches that. That pisses people off. You're losing already, then you're going to finish it off with the dunk at the end. That's how, you could say, flagrant fouls and things like that happen. You don't want anything like that to happen to anybody in the league, where guys kind of hold grudges about things like that. But it's a part of basketball. It happens. It's not a big deal, but it's just something that you don't. I just told him, 'That's not the right play, dawg. You had a good game, just dribble it out and then, we go on our way.' Take our 'L' like a man."

Lillard seemed contrite about the incident.

"When I caught the ball, I didn't know what to do, honestly," he said. "I was just like, 'Man, I'm here by myself, I don't know what to do. I didn't mean no disrespect to them or anything but now I know just dribble the ball out. When I caught it, like I said, I didn't know what to do, so that's what I did. It looked like they were running toward me still, so next time I just know to dribble it out. I didn't mean no disrespect to them."

Robinson wasn't the only Bulls player who talked to Lillard about the play.

"He made a layup and me and Joakim (Noah) just addressed it like, 'In the future you just got to be smarter,' " Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. "A lot of teams are not going to let you do that ... I was just like, 'You can't do that, you got to be smart.' "

Rip is M.I.A. at the end: Richard Hamilton scored 15 points in 22 minutes Sunday night, but he was noticeably absent down the stretch when the Bulls needed some offense. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau explained his decision to play Jimmy Butler, not Hamilton, late this way:

"When you're struggling like the way we were struggling, you're searching for something that can get you going," Thibodeau said. "The group that was in there got us going, so we were going to ride that as long as we could."

Hamilton didn't show any outward signs of frustration, but the veteran shooter obviously would like to be on the court more.

"It's one of them things (where) you just want to win," Hamilton said. "Regardless of how you win, if you're out there or you're not, you want the end result to be a victory and when it's not a victory it's hard, but we had our chance and we came back (to tie) 73-73, but we just couldn't make no plays."

The last word: Thibodeau, discussing his team's lack of intensity at times:

"Your concentration, preparation and effort is what gives you intensity. So if you're not playing hard enough you go back to those three things."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5