Chicago Bulls’ shooting guard Jimmy Butler had an outstanding game, living in the low post against smaller Detroit guards to the tune of 18 points on 7/9 shooting. But he didn’t have much help.
Joakim Noah took the night off, Derrick Rose once again sat out the entire 2nd half, and Nikola Mirotic fouled out while committing two fouls. (Yes, you read that correctly)
The NBA should save this game film for instructional purposes, as it will provide definite, indisputable proof that the game officials need preseason just as much as the players do.
Somehow Tom Thibodeau managed not to get called for a technical foul as the Bulls dropped a 111-109 overtime decision in Detroit.
Leroy Richardson, Sean Wright, and CJ Washington might want to stay out of Michigan for the foreseeable future, because if they cash their game checks, they are guilty of theft.
This had to be, without a doubt, the worst officiated game I have ever seen in my life. In any sport. At any level.
Let me make perfectly clear, the preceeding statements are not sour grapes in any way. The officials didn’t steal this game from the Bulls, nor did they give Detroit all the calls – on the contrary, the Bulls were awarded eight more free throw attempts than the Pistons.
This was actually a fairly entertaining contest for the first week of preseason, and the game was tied at 83 after a McDermott putback with 7:02 left. After Mirotic and Jones each fouled out within the next minute, the Bulls looked like they were finished when a Greg Monroe hook shot put the Pistons ahead 95-89 with 1:50 to play.
Then out of nowhere, newly acquired Aaron Brooks decided to channel his inner Reggie Miller – he scored the Bulls’ next 11 points on a pair of long 3’s and five free throws in 74 seconds to pull the Bulls to within one.
Jonas Jerebko split a pair of free throws with 9.6 seconds left to give the Pistons a two point lead. Nazr Mohammed couldn’t inbound the ball to a closely guarded Brooks, meaning he had to give the ball to Tony Snell.
Snell got the ball over half-court, stumbled and almost lost his dribble, but somehow managed to get to the rim and draw a foul on his layup attempt.
In what had to come as a complete shock to Bulls fans, the second-year shooting guard calmly sank both free throws to send the game into overtime.
Snell then drilled a tough 3-pointer to beat the shot clock on the Bulls’ first possession in overtime, and after a string of ugly offensive sets by each team, Greg Monroe sank a pair of free throws to give the Pistons a one-point lead with 2:09 to play.
A couple of horribly ugly misses by Nazr Mohammed led to a Jerebko 3, giving the Pistons a four-point lead with 1:35 left on the clock. The game was basically over at that point, and Aaron Brooks had an ugly miss and a turnover just to make sure the game didn’t go into a second extra session.
The officials tried to give the Bulls one more chance – after taking possession down by four points with 23.8 seconds left, the Bulls wasted half of the remaining time before McDermott hit a driving layup to cut the lead to two. Thinking it was Christmas and that the Bulls had been nice all year, one of the officials called a foul on Jerebko, who obviously got whistled for looking at McDermott wrong, because he didn’t come close to touching him.
McDermott promptly returned the favor, missing the free throw that would have cut the lead to one and given the Bulls a little bit of hope. Greg Monroe sank a pair from the line to mercifully bring this game to an end.
Wins and losses don’t mean anything in the preseason, but the games give coaches a chance to try out different starting lineups and different units on the floor. Not to mention the fact that Derrick Rose badly needs some real-life competetion to get ready for the season – and he seems to be getting there quite nicely.
Pau Gasol continues to play well – he’s not really looking for his offense at this point, but he had another outstanding all-around game. He had team-highs of 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots in 27 minutes – and when the team did go to him in the low post, he looked pretty good creating a high percentage look for himself or a teammate.
Nikola Mirotic had what was quite possibly the worst game of his entire life – he missed his only shot from the field while being charged with five turnovers in 14 minutes of action. Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, he probably had two fouls that were actual NBA fouls. He got called for a pair of highly questionable moving screens, and he was whistled for two or three more ticky-tack, touch fouls.
He got called for one of the worst traveling calls in the history of basketball as he attempted to drive after a pump-fake from behind the arc.
He passed up at least a half-dozen open three-point shots, opting to ball-fake and drive instead. And Thibs noticed, telling the Chicago Tribune “Nikola is almost unselfish to a fault. He had some wide-open shots he passed up. I told him we want him to shoot those.”
He played poorly even without factoring in the atrocious officiating, but picking up four fouls before halftime will usually lead to a player having a horrible game.
If you didn’t watch the game and only saw the box score, you would probably think that Aaron Brooks had an outstanding night.
5/11 Field Goals
3/6 3pt Shots
5/5 Free Throws
18 points, three assists and three steals
11 points in 74 seconds to tie the game late
But he had four turnovers, and his defense would have made Eddy Curry look like an All-Defensive First Teamer. Remove those 74 seconds late – which were huge, don’t get me wrong – and his stat line was’t even average (24 minutes, 3/9 FG, 1/4 3’s, four turnovers).
Brooks certainly has a little bit of Nate Robinson and Vinnie Johnson in him, but his defense and decision-making have been so bad in the first two games that he’s going to have a hard time ever seeing the floor.
Thibs looks like he wants to play a Brooks/Hinrich backcourt, but through two games the team looks much better giving all the PG/SG/SF minutes to Rose – Butler – McDermott – Dunleavy – Hinrich. Right now, I’d almost have to put Snell ahead of Brooks.
Taj Gibson had a very nice game on offense, giving the Bulls 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists on 8/10 shooting.
Snell had 10 points (3-5 FG, 1-2 3pt, 3-4 FT) and four rebounds in his 17 minute. And it wasn’t all against scrubs as the Pistons played Jennings, Monroe, Jerebko and Caldwell-Pope or Butler in the OT period. He had five of the Bulls’ 7 points in overtime.
McDermott struggled with his shot, only hitting 3/12 FG and 1/6 from behind the arc. He did finish with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
The Bulls next preseason contest is in Milwaukee on Saturday night at 7:30 CT. The game will be broadcast live on NBA TV.