Benny the Bull is always making the highlight reels; this time, so have the Bulls as a team.
The Chicago Bulls are a good team. When they are clicking on all cylinders, they can defeat any NBA team. The Bulls finished the regular season with a record of 45-37, and there were several highlights along the way.
Selecting the 10 best highlights from the regular season is a chore.
How many times did Nate Robinson make a big basket?
What about the circus shots from Marco Belinelli?
Then you have the defense of Joakim Noah.
Once you piece everything together, you have the perfect menu that creates the ultimate Chicago Bulls’ highlight reel.
Holy cow, Marquis Teague makes the highlight reel!
Teague did not get a ton of minutes this season, so this is not an indictment of him. It is rare that a 19-year-old rookie will receive much playing time on a team that has designs on a deep run.
Nevertheless, Teague displayed poise whenever his name was called to play.
In this particular highlight, Teague shows off his point guard skills by handing out a picture-perfect alley-oop pass to Nazr Mohammed.
The play happened on Nov. 28 when the Bulls were facing off with the Dallas Mavericks. It came during garbage time while the Bulls were up big.
It became a signature moment for the rookie as well as the team.
The second part of the play was the most surprising part: Nazr Mohammed flashing his leaping ability.
The 15-year veteran still has some hops!
Years from now, NBA fans will remember where they were when the Bulls ended the 27-game winning streak of the Miami Heat.
That memorable game will go down into the history books as one of the decade's best regular season games.
One of the game's highlights came late in the first quarter with Kirk Hinrich’s aggressive defense against a potential breakaway layup by LeBron James.
While collecting a pass after a steal, LeBron races up the basketball court, seemingly unopposed. Out of nowhere, Hinrich catches up with him in an attempt to impede LeBron’s progress. What happens next is what one would expect in a football game.
Hinrich, knowing that LeBron is moving at full speed, braces for impact as he is barreled into by the Heat superstar.
Though a foul was called on Hinrich, his play set the tone for the rest of the game.
If the Miami Heat wanted to win a 28th straight game, they were not going to win in Hinrich’s house.
Early in the regular season, Nazr Mohammed showed off his dunking skills; this time it was Carlos Boozer.
Against the New York Knicks, Boozer made up for some lackadaisical defense on a prior play by taking on a late-arriving Carmelo Anthony in the post. The end result was a thunderous left-handed slam dunk, coupled with a foul.
The play ignited the Bulls’ bench and helped inspire a 108-101 victory.
Boozer finished the game with 17 points and six rebounds as the Bulls improved their record to 20-14 at the time.
Do you remember the night when Taj Gibson attacked the rim not one, not twice, but five times against the Brooklyn Nets?
The Bulls were playing without Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah when they went into Gibson’s hometown of Brooklyn. As Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau’s mantra has been all season, with their two best inside players injured, “next man up.”
That next man was Gibson, who made the most out of his opportunities scoring 19 points, grabbing nine rebounds with two blocked shots.
Of the eight shots that Gibson made, five were dunks.
Each dunk was worthy of a SportsCenter highlight.
For one night, Gibson had his way on the inside.
Marco Belinelli turned around some of the Bulls fans that were down on him when the season first began.
Starting off the season cold, shooting 37 percent in the month of November is not a way to get on a fan’s good side. In fact, it is a perfect way to alienate a fanbase that wants to support a player.
Slowly but surely, Belinelli began grabbing our attention.
It started when an injury to Richard Hamilton left the door open for Belinelli to start at 2-guard. The first game was sketchy. He started vs. the Indiana Pacers and only scored six points. After that game, Belinelli developed some confidence, and it all culminated in Boston.
It was an off-balanced, fade-away 12-foot shot that gave the Bulls a one-point lead with 3.5 seconds remaining.
The shot was obviously not drawn up by Thibodeau, but it was a thing of beauty.
Nate Robinson still has it!
After attempting just one dunk the entire season, the NBA’s sole three-time Slam Dunk Contest winner dunked in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Robinson used his second jam of the year to wake up his Bulls’ teammates who were lacking the necessary energy to defeat the Trail Blazers.
After his dunk, Robinson and the Bulls went on a run to make the final score respectable.
At the time of the play, the Bulls were losing by 23 points, before closing the game out with a 30-19 run.
One of the best rewards for having a great year is making the NBA All-Star Team. Once the Eastern Conference reserves were announced, both Luol Deng and Joakim Noah were among them.
For Deng, it was his second All-Star berth; it was the first time that Noah had received the distinction.
The question remained how well they would play with their contemporaries in the All-Star Game. They played well.
They played their up to their usual roles, sharing the ball and playing defense. The latter is unheard of.
During the weekend when the NBA celebrates its biggest stars, Deng and Noah shined bright.
Along with becoming an NBA All-Star, Joakim Noah had two triple-doubles. His most impressive trifecta happened in a Feb. 28 game vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. His performance was one of the best of the season.
Noah’s stat-line was outstanding. The sixth-year center had 23 points, 21 rebounds and a robust 11 blocked shots.
He was active in every facet of the game by making the proper passes and being in the right place at the right time. That night was clearly the best game of his career.
It is games like those that justify why Noah is one the most unique players at his position.
Nate Robinson enjoyed his best season as a pro. This year is full of Robinson highlights, none better than his game-winning shot in Brooklyn vs. the Nets.
During the April 4 game, the Bulls were without Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli and Richard Hamilton. That, plus an early deficit in the first half, could have been all the excuses the Bulls needed to give up on the game.
Instead of quitting, the Bulls fought hard with strong games from Carlos Boozer (29 points and 18 rebounds) and Jimmy Butler (16 points and 10 rebounds). Both Boozer and Butler kept the Bulls competitive, but they did not seal the victory until the closing seconds of the game.
That’s when Robinson came to the rescue. He stole a pass from Nets center Brook Lopez and dribbled up the floor. Joe Johnson attempted to defend him on a switch, but Robinson proved to be too fast for him.
Robinson heaved up a floater over the outstretched arms of both Lopez and Johnson to put the Bulls ahead by two points with less than 25 seconds left in the game.
Another huge play happened while the Bulls were in the process of stopping the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak. Jimmy Butler dunked over the Heat’s Chris Bosh.
The slam was capped off by a textbook Bulls fast break that began with Nate Robinson leading the charge.
Soon after Robinson got near the halfcourt area, he passed the ball to Luol Deng at the three-point line. At that time, Deng had three options: pull up for a three-pointer, dribble the ball to the baseline and take the shot, or pass the ball to a trailing Jimmy Butler.
Deng chose the option to pass by tossing an alley-oop to Butler.
Without hesitation, Butler threw down Deng’s pass. Afterwards, the Chicago fans were full of glee.
Butler’s alley-oop dunk sent a message to the rest of the NBA.
The Chicago Bulls mean business.