The Bulls began their defense of the preseason championship against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year, and despite Nikola Mirotic's best efforts in the fourth quarter, the dream of another undefeated preseason is dead thanks to an 85-81 loss to the Wizards.
Mirotic bounced back from a poor first stint to really light it up in the final frame, finishing with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting overall and 3-of-5 from three. One of those threes was this "Eff it why not?" PUJIT:
But Mirotic's hot streak wasn't enough, as he didn't get help from his fellow reserves. The Bulls were extremely careless with the ball in the fourth quarter and simply didn't make enough positive plays to keep that preseason winning streak alive.
This game started off like anything but a preseason game, with a scrum breaking out between Joakim Noah and Paul Pierce that nearly escalated into a brawl. Because this game really MEANT something!:
There was almost another fight later when kinda former Bull Kevin Seraphin decked Jimmy Butler with a screen and Butler took offense to Seraphin standing over him. Butler was kind of involved in the earlier scuffle, and apparently he just really doesn't like the Wizards.
But back to the actual basketball played on the court. It was pretty typical preseason ugliness, with the Bulls shooting a dreadful 33.8 percent from the floor. I'm pretty sure this accounted for about half of the Bulls' missed shots:
What was really good was Derrick Rose. After a mostly rough FIBA World Cup, Rose finished strong early and often, and he even knocked down a three-pointer. Rose only played 14 minutes and didn't see any action in the second half, but he finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. This game was a major success for Rose, although we of course can't forget how good he was last preseason before struggling in the regular season.
Elsewhere, Pau Gasol looked good on both ends of the floor other than a few ugly misses, Doug McDermott showed off his sweet shooting stroke and Noah was understandably rusty. Butler, Gibson and Kirk Hinrich tossed up a bunch of bricks, while Tony Snell was awful and appears to be the odd man out in the rotation.
More to come on this one in the morning, and the Bulls are back at it tomorrow against the Pistons.