The Bulls dominated the Wizards pretty thoroughly in their first home preseason game this season to capture their first win. Derrick Rose and John Wall had a great duel, both playing well, and especially went at each other at the start of the third quarter.
Kirk Hinrich had a friendly reception, getting cheers when his name was announced. That was probably the highlight of his night, since he struggled on the court though.
As for the Bulls?
Derrick Rose dominated while in the game. He was in the paint whenever he wanted, but also had one of the more impressive passing performances of this Bulls career. Not simply in the amount of assists, but he generated lots of shot opportunities for very high percentage shots and several dunks. He also finished well at the rim, and he continued his preseason stretch of drawing a lot of fouls.
All in all, I doubt many Bulls fans were particularly worried about Rose, but if there were any jitters from fans after a somewhat lackluster performance in the final games at the world championships they should be gone after watching him in preseason.
Joakim Noah's improved in each preseason game and had his best game yet. He showed off his passing again, racking up plenty of assists, and he dominated the glass in this one while on the court. It's worth noting that Washington has a fairly pathetic front line though, they have no bulky big men, but Noah still did his thing.
Luol Deng struggled with turnovers on the night, and only hit half his foul shots, but he once again nailed my metric of taking at least three three point shots and making 33% of them by hitting one of three on the night. He still had a decent game, but nothing to write home about. Granted with a guy like Deng, you're just looking for him to warm up most of his game, I'm not concerned about him becoming a 50% free throw shooter during the season. The three point attempts/makes was a positive again.
Kieth Bogans nailed his first three three point shots again and only missed on crazy catch and shoot off balance shot at the end of the third quarter. I really like what Bogans has done the past two games, but obviously he's not going to shoot that well in most games. Still, Bogans has been a positive, and if Brewer doesn't impress when coming back, then Bogans might have a legit shot at the starting position.
Taj Gibson did his lunch pail thing. His jumper doesn't really look much different to me though he said he reworked his form this off-season. He's taking a lot of mid ranger jumpers in the offense, so hopefully he can consistently knock them down.
Kyle Korver looked like a legit scorer off the bench again. He's not just a spot up shooter as the Bulls are really using him off screens to catch and shoot with mid range shots, and he's delivering. Korver's not showing up much in the box score outside of the shooting, but the Bulls really need shooting and Korver's done a great job of it.
James Johnson had a nice night, contributing with both passing and shooting. He had one outstanding play where he beat a double team off the dribble then scooped around a player at the basket, but that play highlighted some of the issues with Johnson. Why is he beating a double team off the dribble and a third guy at the rim rather than passing the ball? Still, he had a nice night, passed well, and made some very good decisions. He seems like he's starting to get it, but we need to see it a lot more often over a much larger sample size before getting too excited.
Omer Asik basically struggled with everything early, but he played much better as the game went on. He did a nice job using his size against the Wizards, and rebounded well against their weak front line. That said, he showed why he's the most horrific free throw shooter in the NBA and struggled to complete some dunks and easy shots. He also got caught for multiple three second violations, and seemed to be used to delivering a lot more contact in Europe than is allowed in the NBA on defense.
All in all, the strengths of Asik were on display, but the 100 reasons why he's going to struggle for awhile in the league were also on display.
With the exception of one horrific outlet pass that was picked off, Kyle Weaver played very well, and if there's a competition between him and Lucas for the final spot then he's got to have a huge lead after the past two nights. Weaver's looked solid on both ends of the floor, but he's passed well, scored okay, and has looked like a guy who could probably play some minutes against legit competition without hurting you. At this point, I want to see more, but I'd easily give him a roster spot right now given that we've got several to hand out.
John Lucas did nothing to show that he's an NBA player again. I know he has some ties to Thibodeau, but if he makes this roster over Weaver, I'll be fairly incensed (as much as one can be incensed over the 14th roster spot which is indeed limited) unless something significant changes over the next few preseason games.
Scalabrine didn't play, but he did get a chant from the crowd to get into the game.
Overall thoughts on the team from this game?
The Bulls played well on both ends of the floor. The Wizards hit quite a few ridiculous jumpers to make the game closer than it would have been otherwise. The Bulls had the rebounding advantage, but again, terrible size for Washington up front, so no surprise there. The offense looked outstanding for most of the night, tons of interior points, and great penetration into the paint. The team as a whole has impressed me with the crispness of their passing in all three games.