Preseason Game 1: Bucks 92, Bulls 83

preseason game 1

Well, that was pretty ugly, wasn’t it?

The Bulls shot 42 percent from the field — including 3-for-12 on threes — and missed 11 free throws. The Bucks shot an identical 3-for-12 from downtown and gave up a whopping 27 points off 25 turnovers. There were blocks and bricks and steals and all manner of awkward moves.

Welcome to the NBA preseason.

Said Bucks coach (and former Bulls coach) Scott Skiles: “It was a typical first exhibition game. We turned the ball over way too much. We got too casual with [the ball]. We made some poor decisions with the ball. Defense was OK.”

Whether Milwaukee played OK defense or the Chicago players simply couldn’t locate the hoop is a matter of opinion. Maybe it’s a little of column A and a little of column B. Bulls big men Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas and James Johnson went 7-for-22. Omer Asik played 17 stiff and tentative minutes.

Meanwhile, guards Keith Bogans (starting at SG for the injured Ronnie Brewer) and C.J. Watson were 3-for-13. Watson had a team-high 6 assists but committed 5 fouls and 4 turnovers, finishing with a game-worst plus-minus score of -15.

Despite Chicago’s active hands (which led to 14 steals), the Bucks managed to hit over 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Bulls 42-37. The wee tiny Earl Boykins scored 12 of Milwaukee’s 29 fourth quarter points.

Said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau: “We can’t be pleased with our defense. We allowed the ball to go anywhere.”

Mostly into the basket.

Added Noah: “The best thing about the game is we have another one in a couple of days. It’s preseason, just clean it up and get better.”

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. The perpetually overlooked and underrated Luol Deng scored 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting…and three of those field goals were at the basket. He also added 4 steals, 3 boards and 2 assists. That’s Deng for you: Doing a little bit of everything…but very quiet like.

Kyle Korver came off the bench apparently intent on earning a starting role. Korver scored a game-high 22 points by going 7-for-12 from the field, 1-for-1 on threes and 7-for-7 from the line. He scored 11 points in the fourth and his triple pulled the Bulls to within a point (82-81) with 3:21 to go.

Of course, Korver’s fourth quarter heroics came mostly against Milwaukee’s Chris Kramer. Skiles switched the more athletic Luc Richard Mbah a Moute onto Korver after that almost-game-tying three. From that point, Korver struggled to get open and didn’t score again.

I’m just sayin’.

As noted, Chicago’s offense struggled. Derrick Rose had 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting but dished out only 2 assists. Rose’s assist totals are a continuing source of concern for me. He just doesn’t have a playmaking nature. He’s a scorer…but he’s a point guard. Ah well. I don’t want to obsess over this too much. I will try to reserver judgement until Carlos Boozer — who had successful surgery on his broken pinky finger and wants us all to know he has only 5 percent body fat — returns and gets into a groove.

Having a solid inside threat and a full compliment of healthy teammates might be all it takes to unleash Rose’s inner assist champion. We’ll see.

The offense had plenty of movement but not much flow. Bulls fans are probably going to have to exercise a little patience. Thibodeau is implementing a new system and the Bulls are working in several new players. And of course the team’s presumed second option is currently acting as the team’s head cheerleader.

Transitions don’t always go smoothly.

By the way, Boozer’s absence was probably evened out by the fact that Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut was held out of the game. It was a precautionary move to protect his surgically repaired right hand, which apparently got whacked at practice last Friday.

Not that I expected anybody to take too seriously any game in which Brian Scalabrine logged 20 minutes. I’m just trying to provide some perspective.

One quick hit on Thibodeau: The man is intense. He was pacing, directing, lobbying with the officials. As K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune observe, Thibs “was vehemently arguing a blocking foul on James Johnson late.”

Said Thibodeau: “The result is always important. We’re here to win.”

Unfortunately, the Bulls didn’t. Which is fine. After all, it’s still early in the preseason. There’s no pressure.


Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.


21 Responses to Preseason Game 1: Bucks 92, Bulls 83

  1. Anonymous October 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I was impressed by the little defense the bulls did play. Why does it seem like D. Rose just doesn’t understand defense? It seems as if he thinks too much on the defensive end. He seems confused on traps, and he just seems scared to defend, like a guy that is scared to shoot. As far as his playmaking ability, I believe if he is pressured to fill that role he can. He isn’t Steve Nash, thats just not his game. He’s D. Rose, he have that ability in his arsenal. We’ve seen that throughout his career. Booze let us down early didn’t he? I don’t know about him man.

    AC October 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    I was impressed by the little defense the bulls did play. Why does it seem like D. Rose just doesn’t understand defense? It seems as if he thinks too much on the defensive end. He seems confused on traps, and he just seems scared to defend, like a guy that is scared to shoot. As far as his playmaking ability, I believe if he is pressured to fill that role he can. He isn’t Steve Nash, thats just not his game. He’s D. Rose, he have that ability in his arsenal. We’ve seen that throughout his career. Booze let us down early didn’t he? I don’t know about him man.

  3. dengsucks October 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    You are worried that he only had 2 assists in the first preseason game? Why don’t we wait for an actual game that means something before having concern.

    And another thing I never understood is why is everyone so caught up on position. Yes Rose is the point guard, he is also this teams best chance to score.

    I believe that Rose will the the necessary assists to satisfy you, but like last night when he would drive the lane, and even if he missed the layup he would essentially create an easy put back for noah.

    Brad S. October 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    HAhAhaaha! “…5 percent body fat.” Thanks, Matt. That line cracked me up!

    Dabs October 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    How dare you claim that Boozer is the team’s top cheerleader? You are clearly ignoring Scalabrine’s towel waving ability. I witnessed his skills throughout the postseason last year.

    Alex R October 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I was very impressed with the development of James Johnson. There’s a new man out there, 30 lbs lighter and definitely shows that he wants to be taken seriously as a potential X factor for the team. He still is trying to find his role as a scorer but he did some nice things last night.

    bullsfandom October 6, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Rose will have more assists…as soon as these guys start knocking down open shots. The Bulls only knocked down 42% of their shots last night, and if you take out Korver’s effort and Rose himself…that probably drops down into the lower 30’s at most. And these guys were open, Derrick was penetrating and getting guys open looks. It will all come into place as these young guys get their legs under them, you’ll see.

    Luke October 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    I am not worried at all.

    I think the best thing I saw was every time Korver touched the ball, you could see Rose and Noah stand up while on the bench and get excited, especially when he would shoot. You could see the joy and hopefulness they have now that there is a pure shooter on the squad. That alone is enough to make me happy for the season.

  9. hardy33 October 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    whoever said rose didnt look good defensively is wrong. Rose held their starting pg to 0 pts. How could you say his defense looked bad. If it was regular season, the bulls would have manhandled them. The fact that they already have a serious injury to a star player have something to do with how they played. You dont want to play to hard your first preseason game and end up with more star players injured before the season starts. And Korver didnt even play with the starters at all. That would of made a big difference.

  10. Matt Steigenga October 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Korver is big time man. He is gonna get better at all facets of the game and his shooting will make the offense open up for all the Bulls easily. And yes Rose Defense was fine. He does struggle with fighting thru picks but he can stay in front of his man easily and plays alert off the ball. I also saw Rose going in and helping with rebounds on Defense. Noah looked bad and out of it. Deng looked good with his new off the ball mvnt and he nailed some long shots. His off-ball Defense is great as well. Omer Asik is horibble. He is defintely the weak spot on the Bulls roster.

    BigUpsTo#15 October 6, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    Hey Matt,

    In all honesty; who would you rather have as a 3rd option pf/c Brian Scalabrine or Hakeem?
    You can fast forward to 1:46 and 2:30.

  12. BullsFan22 October 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    Get the losses out of the way now and suck now. Obviously you play to win (sorry Herm), but rustiness, new guys/head coach and Boozer’s injury will take some time to get over. Go Bulls. One game at a time!

    TJ October 7, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    i look at it this way, its the preseason and the bulls need some work. rose is fine, boozer needs to heal, brewer would be a lockdown defender when he comes back, korver looks like hes gonna be a good sharp shooter coming off the bench, noah needs to work a little more on his offensive game, gibson needs to stretch that jump shot of his and gain more confidence in it, and asik needs to work on offense as well, bogans needs to be involved on offense and use that decent 3 point shot of his, watson is gonna be fine but he just needs to be that versatile guard off the bench like hinrich, deng is the x-factor on if he becomes more comfortable on offense he will be good, jj needs some work on his d and if he improves that 3 ball of his he is a quality backup and kurt thomas should fit that role of the backup for noah.

    Matt McHale October 7, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    “In all honesty; who would you rather have as a 3rd option pf/c Brian Scalabrine or Hakeem?”

    If Hakeem agrees to come out of retirement…I will welcome him with open arms.

    Dj October 7, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    Watching the game against the Bucks made me realize of how much we need to add more bench scorers!!! Please Portland! take James Johnson and our 1st round draft pick in exchange for Rudy Fernandez!

    We also need to add another big guy that can score like: Earl Barron and sign another PG that can hit the 3 ball like: Rafer Alston.

    Then we will be set with having our roster look like this for the regular season:

    PG: D. Rose
    SG: R. Brewer
    SF: L. Deng
    PF: C. Boozer
    C: J. Noah
    PG: C.J Watson and Rafer Alston
    SG: Rudy Fernandez
    SF: K. Korver
    PF: Taj Gibson and Brian Scalabrine
    C: K. Thomas or Earl Barron

    I finally agree with Boppinbob, we need to send Asik to the D-league so he can improve his game.

  16. Inception October 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I won’t start worrying until the reg season begins…my gut says the 1st half of the season is going to start off slow..we’ll probably be around 6th place in the EC…post all-star break, i think the team will start to gel and hopefully Bozo will be in top shape.

    AK Dave October 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    That quote was vintage Scott Skiles: emotionless, dissatisfied, grim, gruff, and curt. I love that man.

    BoppinBob October 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Lets not panic after one pre-season game. The Bulls are installing a new offense (maybe I should say they are installing an offense period) and a new defense. This is a team that has only 5 guys back from last season. Missing a main cog until December. My biggest concern right now is the status of Brewer. Are the Bulls being overly cautious or does he have a real problem with the hamstring? There is no way that the team has adjusted to each other and the new offensive and defensive systems yet. The Bulls will start slow this season as they have almost every season even in the championship seasons (except when they went 72-10). This team will stabilize, and will show steady improvement. I have faith in the coaching staff and the talent of the players. Anyone who expected this team to play well right away was living in a fantasy world.

  19. Bill Z October 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    – Inception
    I agree the season is going to start slowly. The November month will be especially difficult considering the team needs to gel, Boozer will be out, and we go on that fun road trip. Up until December 10th (we play the Lakers) the schedule is quite difficult. If we can manage too go 10-11 over this stretch we will be in good shape.

    Starting December 11th things get considerably easier. For the next month or so we play Toronto twice, NJ twice, Philly twice, NY, Detroit, LAC – the toughest opponent will be the match against Milwaukee.

    This should be a stretch where the Bulls could easily go 10-4 (hopefully better) while building much needed continuity and confidence with Boozer.

    inkybreath October 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    I just read the article talking about James Johnson seeking and receiving Pippin’s help with his workouts. Such a good sign. I am a JJ believer, though I don’t think he can have enough of an impact in the first 15 to 20 games this season to save us from Boozer’s injury. Once the season gets its rhythm, I think Johnson will start to apply his vast gifts to the team.

    He got himself in serious shape and that, at least, showed the willingness that seems to be questioned. He sought out Pippen for help. Again, the willingness and enough humility to know you are not the man yet.

    The kid appears to enjoy playing defense and has a penchant for blocks. And, he is willing to both take the shot and drive to the hole. As reckless as it seemed, at times, he is still ahead of Deng on this progression.

    In my opinion, he will be a scary 6th man, come playoff time.

    Faith! lol

    inkybreath October 8, 2010 at 1:57 am #

    and I love that Noah has more assists than Kidd at halftime ….

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