The Bulls and Wolves played a preseason game in St. Louis for some reason, and the game turned out about as weird as the location. Chicago had a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter with its regulars on the floor against Minnesota's reserves, but the Wolves came storming back to steal a 113-112 victory.
I was all ready to be super excited about Derrick Rose's performance, and for the most part, it was really good. Rose finished with 27 points on 12-of-23 shooting and 3-of-7 from three-point land. He also tallied five assists and generally got to wherever he wanted on the floor. He scored in a variety ways, including several of his patented floaters.
But Rose also played a role in the Bulls' collapse, which saw them go without a field goal for over seven minutes. Rose missed four shots during that stretch before ending the drought himself with a three-pointer in the final minute. That three was not enough, however, as Zach LaVine helped ice the game at the free-throw line. The Wolves were also the beneficiary of a late video review that wiped out a basket interference call against Gorgui Dieng.
Rose also had some issues on the defensive end, as both Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea enjoyed some success against him. Barea was the catalyst for the Wolves' comeback along with second-year man Anthony Bennett. The 2013 No. 1 pick had 17 points in 21 minutes off the bench, showing some nice touch on his jumpers. Rubio scored a team-high 19 points and got the best of Rose on several occasions.
The closing stretch wasn't pretty for Pau Gasol, who was yanked in favor of Taj Gibson late after his misgivings contributed to the Bulls' struggles. Gasol had two of his seven turnovers on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter, and he also missed a short jumper and had some problems defending Bennett. It was yet another underwhelming effort for the Bulls' big free-agent acquisition, something that was a theme all preseason.
On a bit more positive note, Joakim Noah had a rather Joakim Noah-y game, racking up six points, 17 rebounds and nine assists. Both Noah and Gibson did work on the offensive glass, as the Bulls racked up 17 offensive boards on the night. However, they weren't able to get many second-chance opportunities on those late misses. Noah also left Thaddeus Young wide open for several three-pointers early in the game, and I'm thinking how he defends stretch 4's may be a discussion all season.
Looking at the Bulls' bench other than Gibson, there were a few highlights but nothing especially notable. Aaron Brooks had a nice game, scoring 13 points in 16 minutes. Doug McDermott couldn't knock down an open three to save his life, but he showed some off-the-dribble game and also had three assists. Tony Snell started nicely with a couple early threes, but he kept shooting and shooting and missing and missing. Nikola Mirotic was a non-factor in eight minutes, which could be a sign of things to come considering the other bigs played more "normal" minutes.
The loss doesn't mean anything, but the Bulls' starters blowing a big lead against the Wolves' subs isn't the best way to go into the regular season. Sure, Jimmy Butler didn't play, but that shouldn't have mattered considering the personnel on the floor down the stretch. Perhaps some of the Bulls were dealing with fatigue as they get their conditioning back, but it was still a collapse that shouldn't have happened.
Anyway, the preseason is mercifully over and the games start for real next Wednesday. Get ready.