The Bulls have won two straight preseason games, which if you’re counting at home means absolutely nothing. Especially considering their most recent win came against the Timberwolves who were playing without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
It’s going to be a lot tougher this time around. The Bulls take on the defending Western Conference champs, Oklahoma City.
Things to watch: Can Carlos Boozer keep it up? Booz finally awoke from his hibernation to go 10-17 from the field for 24 points, while also grabbing nine rebounds. He added had four assists and four steals to that stat line to put an impressive fully rounded game. This is the type of game Boozington is going to have to put up for the Bulls to be playoff contenders.
While Boozer played well, Noah had a terrible game. Two points, 0-6 from the field. If you would have shown me that line before the game, I would have assumed it was Boozer. One day both bigs for the Bulls will play well. I’m sure it will happen. Jo did have 12 boards, including six offensive. And at least when he plays poorly on offense, he still plays great defense.
Noah was scoring more than usual during this preseason, so if he can score against Perkins and Ibaka, it’ll be promising for the season.
Rip Hamilton scored 15, but they weren’t efficient (5-13 from the field). The same can be said of Deng (4-9 for 9 points). Kirk Hinrich was just 1-5 from the field and he had four turnovers.
As a team the Bulls shot 41.8 percent from the field. Needing offense is nothing new for the Bulls. They struggled with it when Derrick Rose was playing. They struggle a lot more with him out. With their bench defense weaker, the Bulls are going to need to score more points to get those wins.
And that defense will be in for a test tonight, going up against three really good scorers. Deng has one of the toughest tasks in the league trying to slow down Kevin Durant. Kirk will have his hands full with Russell Westbrook. And James Harden off the bench can be a nightmare.
The Bulls got the Timberwolves when they were down; they aren’t going to be so lucky tonight. This will be Chicago’s biggest test in the preseason (the last preseason game is against Indiana). If the Bulls think they are as good as last year, this will be one of the games that they can prove it, even if it is just a preseason match-up. The Bulls and Thunder met once last year, with Chicago losing 92-78. That defeat came without Rose and Hamilton in the line-up. That will be half true for this preseason showdown.