Bulls get first preseason win

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.


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  • weaver is looking great. if i were thibs, i might start him over bogans once just to see how it would be. weaver seems like the second-best ball handler and decision maker on the team thus far (without seeing anything from brewer just yet).

    asik obviously doesnt have the quickness (i thought people said he moved well?), so lets hope he can pick up some of kurt thomas' savvy veteran moves.

    great win for the bulls.

  • John Lucas looked great in summer league. So far, he's looked terrible during the pre-season.

  • Lucas was a ball-hog in summer league and now seems intent on jacking up shots in preseason. We'd see a further decline in performance if allowed to play in regular season games. I think he's gone.

  • Im also impressed with weaver hes seems to play in the flow of the game rather than chuck up erratic shots(john lucas). Hope i can see him play more though. Looks like thibs is trying to see if asik has any kind of offense cuz he took only 5 shots but they threw the ball down low to him a alot. overall they played well on the ends and its always nice to see johnson have a good game.

  • Good points..Mitchell.
    1. I am surprised about Lucas in a way. He is a coach's son and is not a rookie either. You would think he would know what things would make him look good for sticking on a roster. Unless, he is doing great in practice..he is in trouble
    2. Taj's shot is very tentative. He shot a couple of jumpers but he was wide open on them. He doesn't look good on offense.
    3. JJ is working towards a roster spot. I still feel Thibs should give him 3/4 different things to do and do them well before he gets to do all the fancy stuff. Otherwise, he can look great one min and look dumb the next min

  • no doubt about it - Weaver is easily outplaying Lucas and fits much better into Thibs system. Weaver has more size & is a better defender. His ball handling and decision making looked good as well. I think he would be a nice addition to our bench this year.

  • JJ had a nice game. He made much better decisions than we are used to seeing and seems to be playing more in the flow of the game rather than at his own pace. Doug I know you pointed out that he drove on 3 guys instead of making a pass, but so did Rose a few times and I don't hear anyone complaining about that. the major point to take away from JJ's drive past 3 guys is that he was in control. He also made a very nice drop pass to Korver later in the game (Korver drained the 3 by the way) instead of attacking the pasket like he could have. I would love to see JJ play this well on a consistent basis.

  • csharp - Did you think Deng looked better this game? After the last you wanted him to toughen up. He drew plenty of contact this game and went to the line repeatedly (too bad he didn't shoot better than 50% once he got there)

  • My #1 point of the night(at least from a box score perspective, can't watch the preseason here in Vegas), Noah and Asik combined for 21 & 21, Against dual 7 footers McGee and Blatche.

    I'll take that night in and night out. I think that Asik will be exactlly what we needed as a true backup center.

  • I thought everyone played well, but I was most surprised with James Johnson's game last night. I still think he is just a role player, but to see him finally let the game come to him, and not try to do too much,was fantastic. I will now root for him to have a break out year. If he keeps this up, he could see 15-20 quality mins a game.
    this is a very welcome surprise that I wasnt counting on after seeing his performance in summer league. He has really worked hard to drop all that weight. Hopefully, he can continue to progress and learn the game with strong tutoring, and by leveraging a good work ethic.

  • I agree 100%, but my real point was that he made the play and it looked good. Unlike the normal drive where he looks like a tazmanian devil and has not shot at completing the play.

  • If you have to pick between Jannero Pargo and John Lucas, who would you give your last roster spot to?

  • In reply to truniac307:

    Wow - I guess Pargo. I have flashbacks of him missing shot after shot, but I would have to say he is the better talent. I mean, he has played a good number of seasons in the NBA, where as Lucas can't break out of the D-Leauge. I think that says it all.

  • In reply to truniac307:

    bcz1980- HECK YA! Deng actually looked great last night....i even said the same thing last night....he looked aggressive! Took it to the whole, drew contact...i loved it! Keep it up

  • In reply to truniac307:

    I agree though....If im Thibs I would have JJ work on like 3-4 things to keep him on the court. Passing, Defense, rebounding. Do those things well and he will stay on the floor....plus he will get a rythm which hopefully will help him get his game together. What a move by him last night too.

    Sorry...im at work an for some reason, it doesnt have the reply button on my screen lol

  • In reply to truniac307:

    Lucas. Lucas at least looked good in summer league. I've never seen Pargo play well anywhere, anytime, ever.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    So far, the vote is split between Pargo and Lucas. Hey Doug, can you put a poll on who your readers would rather have between Pargo and Lucas for the last roster spot?

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    you are basing your decision on who looked good playing against a bunch of guys who can't get out of the D-leauge? And, by the way, Pargo looked very good along side Chandler a couple years ago. (I can't believe I am defending Pargo!)

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    Okay, fine. Pargo. I'm more than willing to lose this argument so long as we never have it again, lol.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    lol - agrreed!

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    For the JJ cheerleading crew (yeah, I'm one of them) - near as I can figure JJ's best chance to crack the rotation is if Korver starts. Why? Let's say JJ plays as well as he can possibly play. He scores with consistency, plays good defense forcing turnovers and eliminates turnovers and team-killing fouls down the stretch. If Korver is starting that might make JJ the Bulls' best scorer off the bench. That depends on how Watson turns out but JJ's not competing against Watson anyway. Point being, if Thibs looks down his bench and sees Korver, Bogans, and Johnson, then JJ can forget it. If he looks down his bench and sees Brewer, Bogans and Johnson, JJ could be the best choice in situations where Thibs is looking to attack offensively.

  • Good Point, and it forces me to think through this a little more (I guess thats the fun part of the blog).
    Certainly we cannot play Lu 40 mins a game like VDN did. Additionally, I think there will be certain matchups that will favor JJ's defensive style (Lebron) over a guy like Korver, and in those cases, Korver will play more 2 than 3. As I think more about it, I guess the 15-20 mins I previously stated become a situational 15 - 20 mins.
    Who knows... at the beginning of last season I didn't think a rookie in Taj, would steal time from Tyrus Thomas.

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