Preseason Game Six: Timberwolves vs. Bulls

Theyre enjoying the little things. Are you?

They're enjoying the little things. Are you?

The Bulls improved to 5-1 in the preseason with a 94-90 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this game or all these wins considering that Chicago has been playing short-handed for most of the preseason. And that makes me nervous. So maybe it’s time to remember Rule #32 from Zombieland: Enjoy The Little Things.

Guys who looked good:
Friday night’s “Steppin’ It Up” award goes to Tyrus Thomas, who finished with a game-high 22 points to go along with a team-best 13 rebounds and 2 blocks in 25 minutes. His field goal percentage was outstanding (7-for-9), but I was more impressed by the fact that he did most of his work inside and was aggressive enough to earn 13 free throw attempts. Sure, he missed five of his foul shots and committed a silly offensive foul while trying to make something happen off the dribble, but he gobbled up defensive rebounds (10), scored on offensive rebounds, and his energy level was off the charts. Basically, he played the way the Bulls management, coaches and fans have been wanting him to play (consistently) for years. He certainly shut his critics up…for the night.

Jannero Pargo finally had a decent shooting game (5-for-11) despite missing all his three-point attempts (0-for-3). More importantly, he dished out a team-high 7 assists while limiting his turnovers (which have been a problem in the preseason) to only 3. Pargo even added 2 steals and 2 blocks [!!].

Guys who looked both good and bad:
Taj Gibson once again had a rock-solid game, finishing with 14 points, 6 boards, 2 blocks and a steal. He also grabbed 3 offensive rebounds earned seven free throw attempts. I note these things because offensive rebounding and free throws are usually the result of intensity, aggressiveness and effort…and Gibson has been giving the Bulls those three things throughout the preseason. I wasn’t thrilled with the shooting (5-for-12), particularly because he attempted (in my opinion) too many jumpers. He also committed 5 fouls in 24 minutes. That’s on par for a rookie, but still.

James Johnson chipped in 10 points (4-for-8), 4 rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in his 26 minutes of PT. Plus, he committed only 2 fouls.

Guys who looked bad:
Okay, I’m officially worried about Luol Deng. Scratch that. I was worried a game or two ago. I’m very worried about Deng. His shooting continued to be ice cold (2-for-7). Most of his shot attempts were long jumpers and he made only one trip to the line. He did play a preseason-high 32 minutes and grabbed 8 rebounds (all defensive). But he was — and has been — a ghost on offense. Remember: Deng is supposed to be the primary member of the committee assigned to cover the loss of Ben Gordon’s 20 PPG.

Joakim Noah was…erratic. He committed a couple offensive fouls, turned the ball over on a three-second violation, bonked a layup, had another layup blocked by Al Jefferson, and missed a nine-foot hook shot. Noah didn’t have a huge impact on the boards either. I’m not really worried about the offense, but the Bulls need Jo to dominate the boards and protect the paint. People may think I’m crazy, but I still think Noah could be Ben Wallace 2.0. That’s what I’m hoping (and waiting) for.

Brad Miller didn’t hit a field goal (0-for-2) and finished with more turnovers (5) than assists (4). Yet, by some twist of fate, he finished with the highest plus-minus score of the game (+11). Go figure.

Guys who didn’t play:
Derrick Rose (right ankle), John Salmons (personal reasons).

Reasons for concern:
Even though Tyrus returned after missing four games, Rose was still out and Salmons had to skip the game for personal reasons. So basically, Vinny Del Negro hasn’t been able to establish any continuity with the team’s projected starters. That’s bad, because this preseason was supposed to be establish a little post-Gordon team identity. The Bulls won the rebounding battle (50-48) but gave up 14 offensive rebounds. As for the turnovers, well, when you look at the stat sheet and feel like celebrating because the team “only” coughed the ball up 19 times for “only” 14 points going the other way, you know there’s a problem. Oh, and note the 2-for-8 three-point shooting. And that was as a team.

Reasons for optimism:
In all fairness, the Bulls have been getting it done without their best player and at least one other starter.

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

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11 Responses to Preseason Game Six: Timberwolves vs. Bulls

  1. LL-Smokes-Jays October 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    Zombieland sucked. Disappointed you had to throw a reference from that shitty movie into your blog.

    vin turner October 19, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Jez, stop your whining it’s just preseason. If wanna look at things take a look at other teams for instance the almighty BEN GORDON he has been very inconsistant, hmmm…. sounds formilar doesn’t it!

    Rocky October 19, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    Being a little hard on Noah, who’s had an outstanding Preseason beyond the last game. If he can have 5 good games to every one bad game then I’ll take this year and that would mean he’s progressing.

  4.' October 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    I believe I read something Tyrus Thomas said that summed up my sentiments exactly. The only Ben that’s with the Bulls now is the mascot, Benny. Frankly, I would be more disconcerted if he decided to up and leave for Detroit. BG may have been a good scorer, particularly in the 4th, but he was also the reason a lot of other very capable player never had the opportunity to take the same shots. We need to stop worrying about this phantom hole in offensive talent and start focusing on how to get better shots for the players still on the team. Ben Gordon is a Piston. We need focus on The Bulls.

  5. Common Sense October 21, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    Replace Gordon’s 20 ppg? You mean his oppressive 16 shots a night. Divide those shots amongst Rose, Noah, Miller, Salmons, Deng, Tyrus, Johnson, Gibson who all shoot a higher percentage than Gordon, then that means more points.

    It’s not like we automatically lose 20 points. I’m sick of hearing how we have to replace a low efficiency scorer like Gordon. We’re a vastly improved defensive team already.

    grant October 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    BG may score 20, but he gave up 24. Why do the Bulls want to have someone like him? Check his plays with the Pistons, BG shooting is as inconsistent as Deng, and as usual he doesn’t contribute much in other aspects of the game (at least Deng gets some rebs). Even W-Bynum, a undraft player, shoots more consistent and efficient than BG. The Pistons with BG lost to the very bottom team Grizzile by 20 (but you are missing BG?). If I were a Pistons fan, I would upset about signing BG. They spend 55-58 mil to sign BG. Only to find out that they already have a undersized guard (W-Bynum) that can shoot as well as and more consistent than BG; additionally B.W. is a better ball handler and can run the offense. Now they have to limit B.W. min to make playing time for a less effcient player and ballhug BG. As a Bull fan, I’m very happy that the Bulls finally get rid of this big defense liablity and offense stagnater BG; had they done so several years ago, the Bulls would go to the Conf. final at least once (potentially win the East once).

    felipe garcia October 23, 2009 at 4:13 am #

    THANK YOU!!!, common sense & grant, I am glad to hear that their are some smart Bulls fans out their! I am also getting sick! and tired! of hearing from some ESPN and NBA TV reporters saying that the Bulls lost a great scorer and that they have a huge HUGE! hole to fulfill, since BG is gone and that they are not making the playoffs for sure this year since he is gone. (ARE YOU KIDDING???) You can tell right away that all of those people that said BG was one of best players on the Bulls roster and the reason why the Bulls made the playoffs, then they did not pay any attention to last years season and why the Bulls lost against the Celtics in the playoffs. Hint: adding Salmons, Miller and bring back Hinrich gave the Bulls a BIG boost! at the end to make a strong run. Hint: “It was not just BG good scoring”. For example you want to talk about great scorers. For example; the only reason why Miami made the playoffs last season with a decent recorder was because of D-Wade offense and KEY WORD: SOMETHING BG IS TRULY MISSING DEFENSE! And the reason why the Bulls lost against the Celtics in the playoffs was because of BG letting Ray Allen hit big open 3 point shots. Sure he was averaging 24 points per game in the playoffs but look at the Ray Allen #’s who he was guarding, he was averaging I believe close to 30 point per game now that is a bigger number. Since BG is gone, their defense will improve a lot this year, with a better season recorder and they will end up getting the 4th-6th seeded if everyone is healthy and develop.

    Mike killer October 23, 2009 at 4:20 am #

    I agree, as a die heart Bulls fan, we can all see that BG was holing us back from becoming a great team at both ends on the floor. Trust me, we won’t miss his scoring, since we have great guards like; ROSe, Salmons, Hinrich and Pargo.

    andres Lopez October 23, 2009 at 4:25 am #

    Yah, we will take our chances for next year trying to sign Wade, Joe Johnson or Bosh to shut those reporter for good to replace BG presents lol.


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