The Bulls started out hot and led 14-3 early in the first, but once the trio of Butler, Wade and Rondo came off the court, the reserves couldn’t maintain the lead. Turnovers were a common occurrence, as the Bulls coughed the ball up more than 20 times. It’s understandable, considering it’s game 1 of the preseason, but Hoiberg will have to address this with the second unit as the preseason progresses. Chicago did make a valiant 4th quarter comeback, but it wasn’t enough to leave the UC with a victory tonight, as Cristiano Felicio missed a pair of free throws that would’ve sent the game into OT.
Some notes from our first look at the new Bulls squad:
- Denzel Valentine rolled his ankle late in the 3rd and was unable to return to the game. Seemed like a minor sprain, but not a good sign from a guy with chronic foot problems. The good news is that he did look good running the point for the Bulls second unit before the injury.
- I mistook Isaiah Canaan for Aaron Brooks this entire game. They’re the same size, play a similar style and for some sadistic reason HE DECIDED TO PICK THE SAME DAMN NUMBER. So just as a reminder Bulls fans, this season #0 is Isaiah Canaan, not Aaron Brooks.
- Dougie McBuckets was aggressive on offense, but some of those drives were out of control. I like the confidence and effort from Doug, he just needs to stay within himself at times. He went 0-3 from beyond the arc, but I don’t expect that to be an issue.
- DWYANE WADE WENT 2 FOR 2 ON THREE’S!!!!! Please God let that continue into the regular season.
- Niko seemed lost and the numbers showed it, as he lead the team with a -17 +/- rating. Taj finished with a double-double in 20 minutes, capping it off with an empathic putback dunk. Same old Taj.
- Tony Snell continues to be a non-factor on offense, even when he’s playing with a bunch of rookies. This is now year 4 for Tony, and we’ve seen little to no improvement from him. Unless he makes huge strides this season, I don’t see SnellyCat returning to Chicago in 2017.
- Cristiano Felicio threw down a monstrous slam late in the 4th quarter that had Dwyane Wade muttering “god damn…” to himself. He also missed 2 free throws that could’ve tied the game, but the big fella did OK tonight in his limited minutes.
Cristiano wasn’t too happy with himself, but luckily it’s only the beginning of the preseason! The Bulls travel to Indianapolis on Thursday to face Paul George and the Pacers for their next matchup.