TrueHoop: Jimmy Butler

It's Robinson, not James, who strikes first

May, 6, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information

Nate Robinson came through late in Game 1.

This one was a stunner -- with the Chicago Bulls getting the big performance from the star at game's end to upset the Miami Heat in Game 1. The Bulls wore the Heat down, frustrating LeBron James in particular in the early going to set the tone.

Let's run through the statistical highlights.

Historical context

The Heat lost for the third time in the past 44 games and had their franchise-record-tying eight-game postseason winning streak snapped. The Heat are 1-2 against the Bulls, 13-1 against everyone else in their past 17 games.

Key to the game: Nate great again

Nate Robinson had 27 points and nine assists and scored or assisted on 25 of the Bulls’ 35 points in the fourth quarter. He scored seven of the Bulls' last 10 points, in the 10-0 run in the game’s final two minutes.

Robinson became the fourth Bulls player in the past 25 seasons to have at least 25 points and nine assists in a playoff game. The other three are Michael Jordan (who did it 27 times), Derrick Rose (five), and Scottie Pippen (two).

The Bulls' 35 fourth-quarter points tied for the most allowed by the Heat in the fourth quarter of any game this season.

Robinson's 66 fourth-quarter points and 8.3 fourth-quarter points per game are the best marks for anyone this postseason.

Not LeBron’s best day
James finished a minus-15, his third-worst plus-minus in a game with the Heat. He did not have a game in last year’s playoffs worse than minus-11.

The two points James scored in the first half were the fewest he has scored in the first half of any playoff game in his NBA career.

Unsung hero: Iron Man Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds, playing the full 48 minutes for the Bulls.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that he is the fourth player since the NBA-ABA merger to play every minute of three straight playoff games.

He is the first since Allen Iverson did so for the 2005 Philadelphia 76ers.

Looking ahead

The Heat have lost Game 1 of a playoff series three times in the "Big 3" era. In the two previous instances -- last year’s NBA Finals and the 2011 Eastern Conference finals versus the Bulls -- the Heat swept the next four games.

Noah backs up talk, puts up historic line

May, 5, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information

AP Photo/Julio CortezJoakim Noah came up huge for the Bulls as they eliminate the Nets in Game 7
For the first time since Michael Jordan’s shot over Craig Ehlo in Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round, the Chicago Bulls won a “winner-take-all” game on the road. It is the first time the Bulls won a Game 7 on the road in franchise history going 0-6 previously.

The Brooklyn Nets failed in their attempt to become the ninth team in NBA history to win a series after falling behind three games to one. The Nets fall to 0-2 all-time in Game 7s and have not won a playoff series since 2007.

What went right for Bulls?
Joakim Noah talked the talk and then walked the walk. After Chicago’s Game 6 loss Noah said, “We're going to go into a hostile environment in Brooklyn and we're going to win."

Noah made certain of that with 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. Considering his foot injury, it was a heroic and historic performance. Read on for more on where that stat line stands among the all-time greats below.

Noah had a series high 1.33 points per play and shot 71 percent from the field Saturday.

With Kirk Hinrich out, Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler came up big. Belinelli poured in a playoff career-high 24 points. Butler played the entire game and was stellar defensively – holding Deron Williams to 4-11 FG and Joe Johnson to 0-5 FG when they were matched up.

What went wrong for Nets?
Miguel Cabrera
Johnson – who had several clutch moments during the regular season – went ice cold. Johnson scored just six points, missing 12 of his 14 shots.

The Nets never led in the game - trailing by as many as 17 points, but they were able to cut the deficit to single-digits for most of the last quarter-and-a-half.

Johnson’s struggles were part of the reason Brooklyn couldn’t complete the comeback. After an alley-oop dunk at the 6:37 mark in third, he missed his last seven shots of the game, six of them coming from beyond the arc.

Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Game
Noah became the first player with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a Game 7 win since Kevin Garnett in 2004. In fact since blocks became official in 1973-74 the only ones to reach those numbers in a Game 7 win besides Noah and Garnett are Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing and Elvin Hayes.

Melo's performance not enough for Knicks

April, 12, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information
Gary Dineen/Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony went 0-for-5 on shots from 20 feet or longer against the Bulls. In his previous five games, he was 27-for-46 (58.7 percent) from 20-plus feet.
The Chicago Bulls became the second team in NBA history to stop two win streaks of at least 13 games in the same season after snapping the Miami Heat's streak at 27 earlier this year and the New York Knicks' 13-game win streak on Thursday.

The 1990-91 Phoenix Suns snapped 16-game win streaks of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony did his best to keep that streak alive with his sixth straight 35-point performance, breaking soon-to-be Hall of Famer Bernard King's franchise record. But here's four things you might not have realized after his 36-point, 19-rebound performance:

• Anthony made six of his 12 shots from 10-19 feet, but had less success from other distances. He was 7-for-17 inside 10 feet and 0-for-5 on shots from 20 feet or longer. In his previous five games, he was 27-for-46 (58.7 percent) from 20-plus feet.

• Anthony had 53 touches against the Bulls on Thursday. He attempted 34 shots and passed the ball 12 times, with only five of those passes coming in the second half, when he touched the ball 27 times. Anthony's last assist came at the 5:58 mark of the first quarter.

• Anthony shot 38.2 percent from the field (13-for-34) and failed to make a 3-pointer. He had shot less than 40 percent just twice during the Knicks' 13-game winning streak. The last time he didn't make a 3-pointer was March 27 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

• Anthony was 6-for-17 when guarded by Jimmy Butler, including 2-for-10 outside five feet. He was 4-for-10 in the first half against Luol Deng, and Deng didn't guard him at all in the second half.