With Joakim Noah sitting this one out and Derrick Rose only playing 14 minutes, the second preseason game of the season was very likely not to provide much entertainment. And it really struggled to, as the Bulls went though extended garbage time and eventually losing to the Detroit Pistons in OT, a scenario which should be illegal during the preseason.
Leading off with Rose: he did not have close to the red-hot start that opened up his preseason, as he didn't make a single field goal in his time on the floor. He was still aggressive though and didn't look slowed, just was not able to look good finishing (let alone actually finish), winding up making his living at the line tonight, going 6-8.
On the bright side, the rest of the starting lineup looked very good. Starting in Noah's absence, Taj Gibson put on an absolute show against Josh Smith as a go-to post option, showing off his moves, counters, jumpers, and passing out of that position. Taj wound up with 17 points on 8-10 shooting. Jimmy Butler was similarly impressive, though his 18 points came in less pretty ways (he did hit a mid-range turnaround, but no true jumpers I don't think) he was wrecking havok on both ends of the court. Poor Stan Van Gundy is stuck (for now) with guys like Smith and Brandon Jennings probably wistfully looking at coach's dreams like Gibson and Butler, whose competitiveness stands out even more in preseason.
Gasol looked capable again, and surprised with his post defense. He was definitely attacked by Detroit (and successfully) by getting him to try and move on the pick and roll, and the Pistons generally were able to run on the Bulls early before they got in their own way. But Gasol more than held his own when matched up singularly against Drummond or Monroe, and though he had a mere 5 points in 27 minutes he looked good enough to me. Mike Dunleavy was fairly spotless with 13 points on 5 shots (3-3 from three), before this flying knee took him out of the game.
Mike Dunleavy just took a flying knee to the, uh, midsection: https://t.co/N7TmijDhJg— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) October 8, 2014
Once the starters (and starter-in-talent Taj) were out, though, it was pretty ugly. The rookies in particular did not fare well.
Nikola Mirotic looked as bad as he did in the first half Monday, without a stunning 2nd half shooting effort to pull him out this time. Mirotic finished scoreless and fouled out in his 14 minutes. Defensively he was a mess, not just the fouling but one shameful attempt at guarding Greg Monroe. That's not unexpected, what was worse was that offensively he not only had 5 turnovers but hesitated several times with long pump-fakes when he shoud've pulled the trigger on three-point attempts. Or maybe Detroit saw our YouTubez and learned to close out better.
Doug McDermott scored a few points in the 4th quarter and OT to wind up with a more of a respectable line, and did hit a spot-up three in some rare time with Rose/Gasol/Butler/Gibson. But while better than Mirotic he was far from impressive. Shot poorly, struggled to get open (the Bulls are again taking forever to run these plays to try and get shooters off of multiple screens) and looked overmatched physically at times. In the positives column, he did craftily get some fouls drawn, but his defensive 'tricks' to mask his lack of athleticism may be tougher to come by.
Altogether, the bench unit of Brooks/Hinrich/McDermott/Mirotic is a problem defensively, though having Gibson back there instead of Solomon Jones would obviously help. One bench bright spot was Aaron Brooks, at least I think so as I merely half-watched him take the challenge against former Bull DJ Augustin in the PGs-Thibs-will-get-paid bowl. Brooks has been fine in that role so far, in that he sure isn't shy.
The on-floor results in that time don't matter much (or at all!), as though the Pistons had some of their starters play late the Bulls were trying nonsense lineups throughout.