Bulls Fall to Cavs in Champaign; 1-1 on Pre-Season

“…Anytime they are keeping score, it matters.” – Coach Tom Thibodeau

Well, we found out more about the Bulls in this 2nd game of the pre-season. First off, I’m happy to report that they are STILL a tough team. Even after a lackluster start and tough 2nd quarter, they found themselves right there in the end. This is the type of grit and fight that we Bulls fans have come to expect and we were not disappointed on that front. We also learned that unlike last season, there is a significant dropoff between the starting unit and the bench players. This is to be expected. Lot of new faces, learning a new system, while being asked to play unrelenting defense. They will need time.

Game Notes/Observations:

The new Bulls bench players are still having trouble coming together

The spacing on the floor was just off. Similar to game one, you can tell guys are just not where they are supposed to be. The offense is not being run efficiently through Nate Robinson. Nate’s a vet and is obviously more talented offensively and defensively than C.J. Watson and John Lucas III, so you kind of think that its just early and he has to get comfortable in Thibs system. The only problem is, he seems to want to skip steps and accomplish too much, too quickly. As a result, he is airballing 3’s, causing turnovers, behind too many empty possessions and just playing slightly out of control. The coaching staff will have its hands full attempting to reign Nate in, while still allowing for his spontaneous play (which the Bulls also need). I love Nazr’s activity on the glass (11 reb) and Belinelli has yet to hit a 3 pointer in either game. He’s also regularly getting blown by defensively.

Marquis Teague finds himself in a very unfortunate position. One, he’s looking like a project playing at the NBA level and two, he’s on a team that values winning over everything. Its not likely that he’ll log heavy rotation minutes while playing through mistake ridden outings. I see him developing faster on a team like Sacramento or the Pistons. After seeing how underutilized Jimmy Butler was last year, I just don’t know how he gets the time out there to develop and gain confidence.

Derrick Rose looks like a genius recruiting Hinrich back to the Bulls

14 pts, 8 assists, 2 blocked shots, 1 steal and 4 turnovers in 27 minutes for Kirk. He looks to be right at home. Still bricking threes for the most part (1-5), but he’s just patiently running the offense, and has active hands on defense. Nice game from Kirk. He is so important to this team right now. Huge drop off when he’s not on the floor. Not sure how it will be addressed. Again, his backups are just not comfortable yet.

Boozer’s production is very low so far

Should we worry about Boozer (more than usual)? Offensively, he was better than his miserable outing in the first pre-season game, but 10 pts. and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes is not going to cut it. He needs to be more aggressive and I see the summer hasn’t changed the problem he has of continually missing layups. Sigh.

Other Notes:

  • Cavs ended up with more turnovers than the Bulls, 24-22.
  • Bulls shot 1-19 on threes.
  • Radmanovic had a nasty, one-handed dunk on rookie Tyler Zeller late in the game to pull the Bulls within 2pts. Nice to see such athleticism from him.
  • Dion Waiters bounced back with a nice offensive game to offset his early benching by Scott in their last game vs. the Bucks… 18 pts and a perfect 4/4 from beyond the arc.
  • Kyrie struggled going 2-15 with 0 assists.
  • Cleveland unraveled down the stretch with careless turnovers, allowing the Bulls to stage a furious comeback after being down 21 at the half.

Postgame Quotes:

  • “…We held onto the ball too much in the 4th quarter, weren’t making the right reads and trying to make plays in traffic. [Cavs] did a good job of collapsing on the ball in the 4th.” – Thibs
  • “…Thibs got into us at halftime… He said if you don’t want to compete, sit down.” – Taj Gibson, when asked by Chuck Swirsky what triggered the 3rd quarter 32-13 run.
  • “…Defensively, we weren’t on top of our game. Just played a little too loose. Everyone wasn’t on the same page.” – Kirk Hinrich

What’s Next?

Tonight, the Bulls play my other favorite team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, in Minny.  7:00P.M. CST. No, there is no time to pout over this loss.

I have a wedding to attend this evening so I will unfortunately not be in-game tweeting #CHIvsMIN. Sending good vibes out to the Bulls tonight and hope that they fare better than they did last night.

Take care Bulls fans!


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