Preseason Game Five: Bulls vs. Timberwolves

Let’s hear it for your 4-1 Chicago Bulls. Can we carry over the preseason record? No, probably not. Anywhere, here are some high and lowlights from last night’s 99-94 road win over the Timberwolves.

Guys who looked good:
The Player of the Game? Actually, it might have been…Chris Richard. No, really. Richard came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points and grab a co-game-high (with Kevin Love) 13 rebounds. He even added 2 blocked shots for good measure. I don’t know (and kind of doubt) whether we’ll see Richard wearing Chicago red when the season opens, but he played his butt off last night.

Joakim Noah continued his strong play with 14 points on nearly perfect 7-for-8 shooting to go along with 7 rebounds. His offense has looked really good the last couple games. Unless my eyes were deceiving me, he even stuck a jumper or two last night. He also didn’t have any blocked shots, which was weird. Okay, who is this guy and what has he done with Joakim?

John Salmons (16 points, 7-for-14, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) and Luol Deng (14 points, 5-for-10, 4 assists) broke out of their mini-slumps. Of course, Luol had both a dunk and a layup blocked, and he missed another layup, plus four of his five field goals came on long jumpshots. Just little observations that could become mild concerns. I would like to see more slashing to the hoop from Deng this season. For the record, I’d like to see more to-the-rim action from Salmons too.

Guys who looked both good and bad:
Overall, Kirk Hinrich’s shooting wasn’t great (3-for-7), but he was 2-for-3 from three-point range and finished with 4 assist and a game-best 4 steals. (For comparison, the rest of the Bulls had 2 steals.) But, gak, he also committed a game-worst 4 turnovers.

Taj Gibson came back down to earth for a night, shooting only 2-for-6 and finishing with 6 points before fouling out in only 22 minutes. He’s a rookie. But…he did have 6 boards (including 3 offensive) in limited PT.

The other rookie, James Johnson, nearly had a double-double (10 rebounds, 9 points), but shot 3-for-9 from the field.

Guys who looked bad:
Jannero Pargo is not afraid to shoot, no matter how often he misses. The latest brickfest was a 3-for-13 performance, which included 0-for-3 from downtown. Once again, his 4 assists were nearly offset by 3 turnovers. He did have an above-average (for him) 4 boards, though. Still, that wasn’t enough for me to overlook his misdirected shooting.
Guys who didn’t play:
Derrick Rose (right ankle), Tyrus Thomas (right hip), Brad Miller (more flu-like symptoms).

Reasons for optimism:
The Bulls held their opponent to 39 percent shooting (including 2-for-18 from three-land) on the second night of back-to-backs. They also won the rebounding battle 50-46. That number included 15 offensive boards.

Reasons for concern:
More turnovers! There were 21 this time, which meant and extra 28 points for the Timberwolves. Also, despite outrebounding the Timberwolves, the Bulls still gave up 14 offensive rebounds. Remember: keep an eye on Chicago’s defensive rebounding this season. The Bulls were one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league last season and it cost them several games. Oh, and one other thing. This isn’t game-related, but the Bulls have a league-high 22 sets of back-to-back games this season.

Reality check:
Said Noah: “It’s always a good feeling to win, but we know it doesn’t really mean that much because it’s preseason. It’s all about improvement. It’s our first back-to-back and having two wins in a row and having the right mind-set, it’s important.”

Player notes:
Deng jammed his finger on his left hand while trying to catch a pass in the third quarter. However, he should be fine. Rose and Thomas are expected to return to practice today. Additionally, if Salmons’ wife doesn’t give birth to their second child by Friday, she might be induced. If that happens, he might miss Friday’s home game against Minny.

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

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19 Responses to Preseason Game Five: Bulls vs. Timberwolves

    Boppinbob October 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    While inconsistent, both Gibson and Johnson are looking like they can contribute this season. Mark my words, we may have two guys here that are big contributors for a long time. They may not be Pippen and Grant, but they are looking like they will become integral parts of a very good team in time.

    Brad S. October 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    I hope you are right Boppin’. I always salivate over those teams that pick up a “2nd round all-star”. It’s like you got something for free because, in most cases, you still have your first round pick as well. Plus, the 2nd round stud doesn’t take up much of the the salary cap. That allows a team to bring in free agent help to get over the top.

    San Antonio is the biggest recipiant of the basketball gods favor that I can think of. David Robinson out for one little year and then they land Duncan? Then they pick Parker with the last pick of the 1st round?

    Detroit gets Tayshawn Prince with a pick in the late 20’s. Monta Ellis was a 40th pick, Michael Redd was 43. I don’t know about John Stockton, but I know he was a second rounder.

    The Bulls have not been able to make a trend of this particular loop-hole in the fabric of the NBA. The Bears have and I attribute much of their recent string of quasi-success to the finding of quality picks in later rounds. Taj is giving me reason to hope.

  3. blowin l'z October 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    john stockton was a first round pick dumb a**

    BallinAllDay October 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    As was Taj…a late first rounder…

  5. LL-Smokes-Jays October 15, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    Aaron Gray could be that 2nd round sleeper we all dream of.

    Mahmoud October 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm #

    I take a lot heat for defending Noah. I can’t wait for him to become Ben Wallace v.2 so I can rub it in everyone’s face. :-)

    felipe garcia October 16, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    I hope Noah can become a great defender like Ben Wallace when he played for the Pistons, with the combinations of D. Howard scoring inside, adding to Noah game.

    Brad S. October 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    Ok, ok. First of all, it’s MY theory, and I can feel that way if I want. So you guys that just showed up today and started lobbing fire bombs can get lost. There are consistent readers here who are having a running discussion on the Bulls. I am looking for their input, not yours.

    Although I did not spend a long time researching every player, (and I was wrong about Stockton, he went 16th) …you still can see what I am trying to say. When you take a player at #26, do you realistically expect to get a guy that plays meaningful minutes? How many of those guys have we seen come and go. What is the percentage of those guys that have even 5 full years in the league?

    Even at #16, do you really expect to get a hall of famer? Oh, sure it happens on occation, but not very often. If we could take a poll of Utah Jazz fans in May of 1984, how many of them would have bet money the Jazz were going to land a HOF player that year in the draft?

    I just think those types of picks (whether they are late first round or second round) can consistently change the fortune of a ball club much faster than a crap team that gets a top 5 pick.

    You can trip me up in the details, but is my logic wrong?

    Brad S. October 16, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    I just read this in the Trib today. It is a quote from Ty Thomas:

    “First, I have to figure out my role as far as the offensive end,” Thomas said. “I have to figure out where I’m going to get my shots. But on the defensive end, definitely 10 (rebounds a game).”


    Boppinbob October 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm #

    Brad, I agree with you. Late 1st round picks and 2nd rounders are the role players that fill out the roster and make for a consistently competitive team. I consider late 1st round to be 14th and later. Some of the Bulls past picks 18th BJ Armstrong, 25th Corie Blount, Dicky Simpkins, 20th Jason Caffey, 28th Corey Benjamin, 16th Ron Artest. Armstrong and Artest became starters while the others were consistent contributors as role players. All became trade fodder at some point in their career. Duhon is another more recent example.
    Johnson (16th) and Gibson (26th) appear to have the potential to be contributors immediately. A lot will depend on Vinnie’s attitude toward rookies. I see Gibson more as a 3 and Johnson more as a 4. The Bulls website lists them both as PF (4’s). Both need to go to the basket more.

    Boppinbob October 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Brad, I saw either that article or a similar one about a month ago and have basically decided that Tyrus has no Basketball IQ and the Bulls should be looking to trade him as soon as possible. He has been in the league 3 years and doesn’t understand the role of a PF? Bulls management needs to make him gone.

  12. Trey October 17, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    Obviously your logic makes sense, finding the talent that others miss is going to make you a competitor. Add in that the teams drafting later means they have been successful and a proven formula is to build your team around 2 or 3 guys and then fill the team with the role players you need.

    The only reason people were busting your balls is that if you are going to be stating a theory, you should at least not say for certain on facts that are apparently wrong.

    Brad S. October 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm #


    Yeah, and just as we form that conclussion, Tyrus has a great game. Last night in limited minutes Tyrus scores 22 and double digit rebounds. 13 foul shots!!! Now that’s what I’m talking about. Fake the shot, rotate and drive. Get your points, hand-cuff the opposing team. That is where you fit into the offense, Tyrus. …I was hoping he was just bad at interveiwing. Maybe I was right, and he DOES understand the Bull’s offense, he’s just terrible at speaking in front of a camera.

    Have a great day, guys!

    mike killer October 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    I just hope that Tyrus Thomas can become more of a consistence player this year. Averaging close to a double double per game with some block shots and steals. If he can put up big impressive numbers this season, then the Bulls should forget about trading him and sign him up for next season with D-Wade or Joe Johnson hopefully!

    andres Lopez October 18, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    I totally agree with your comment mike killer, so far Tyrus Thomas has shown us impressive numbers like he did before against the T-wolves, but we still won’t know what type of player he will become. If he can average close to those same numbers like he had in that preseason game during the regular season and continue his success averaging close to; 14-16 points, 10-12 rebounds, 2-3 blocks and 1.5-2 steals per game against every teams the league, then he has truly become into a future All-Star player like we hope he would. If his stat numbers increase dramatically this year, then who needs: David Lee, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer or Amar’e Stoudemire! lol

    andres Lopez October 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm #


  17. rossana-AHA@hotmail.c?om'
    DJ October 18, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    Yah, as a Bulls fan we can only hope for that Mike killer & Andres Lopez, that would be a dream come true for the Bulls organization if he can average those type of numbers during the regular season consistently.

  18. rossana-AHA@hotmail.c?om'
    DJ October 18, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    Yah, as a Bulls fan we can only hope for that Mike killer & Andres Lopez, that would be a dream come true for the Bulls organization if he can average those type of numbers during the regular season consistently.


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