The Chicago Bulls opened the Jimmy Butler-Rajon Rondo-Dwyane Wade era with a win over the Boston Celtics, which had an interesting combination of some terrible shooting efficiency, surprisingly accurate 3-point barrage and mostly using their size to bully their way to a meaningful home win, which probably sets something of a blueprint going forward, until everyone is on the same page.
This might be a little bit of a reach. The Boston Celtics were playing the second night of a back-to-back and have continuously had problems in the Brad Stevens era with dominant inside play. Al Horford looked a little bit lost, without too much help from Amir Johnson and the bench. Against Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez, helped out by Butler and Wade and Rondo, not to mention Nikola Mirotic and Michael Carter-Williams coming off the bench, there was no surprise seeing the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 19, even if they shot just 39.1% from the field compared to the Celtics 50%.
But unless the Bulls suddenly find a way to turn mediocre (or worse) shooters into the second coming of Steve Kerr (or something like that), their size and ability to mix it up off the bench will have to do. Interestingly, they did shoot 44% from three, as both Butler and Wade sank 4 three pointers, but we’ll have to wait and see if that was a one time thing or the Bulls actually transforming, and getting surprising long range contribution from players known for their inconsistencies from beyond the arc.
Bottom line? This isn’t the last time we’ll see Chicago grab so many offensive rebounds (18 to 3), which gives Butler and Wade second opportunities, which isn’t something most teams can afford to do. If the Bulls can win while the Butler-Rondo-Wade initiative shoots a combined 31.8% from the field on 44 attempts, then maybe this season isn’t just a placeholder before the upcoming rebuild, and that there’s something to look forward to, not to mention Fred Hoiberg actually getting something done on a team that looked well beyond his capabilities last season.