Avery Bradley deserves tons of credit for that — his defense was obnoxious against Butler all night, and that’s exactly what you want from a top perimeter defender like him. (There’s a constant debate about how Bradley’s defensive metrics don’t match up with his much more positive eye test defensively, but regardless of where you fall on that debate, we’re hard pressed to say anything too bad about Bradley after this Game 3 outcome.) In fact, almost mirroring Butler’s game-worst plus-minus was Bradley with a plus-22, trailing only Jae Crowder’s plus-23. Using plus-minus for a single game isn’t always the most reliable stat, but it seemed pretty clear what was happening on Friday.
Chicago is still absolutely in position to take this series. The Bulls lead 2-1 with two of the four games that potentially remain slated to be played in Chicago. They’ve won twice in Boston, so there’s no danger that they can’t take a game at The Garden. Rondo’s absence is difficult, because the Bulls clearly struggled moving the ball offensively in Game 3. But should Butler return to Super Cheap Jerseys form in Game 4, so should the offense.
Having the best player on the floor is one of the ultimate ways to swing a playoff series. Butler had an off night, but now the Bulls need him to get back there.
Separated himself from his defenseman peers with a nice World Juniors (12 points in seven games) on an awful Finnish team. And 10 points in 37 games as a 17-year-old in Liiga, Finland’s top hockey league, is pretty impressive. He’ll fill a deep need for the Avalanche.
The Sedins are hanging them up soon, and Vancouver doesn’t have talented center prospects to replace Henrik Sedin. Sure, Bo Horvat and Markus Granlund are nice, but not the kind of offensive dynamos you can build around. Mittelstadt might be that: he had 64 points in 25 games in high school this year.