In their first game since the blockbuster trade involving Tony Snell and Michael Carter-Williams, the Bulls dropped a rather ugly contest against the Charlotte Hornets in overtime 108-104 .
Seriously, if the NBA isn’t going to shorten the preseason (which they should) at least make overtime sudden death. No one should be subjected to an extra five minutes of it.
Anyway, with two preseason games left entering tonight, it was our first look at what the regular season rotation would be, sans MCW. Taj Gibson has all but solidified the starting power forward spot entering opening night, to form a first five with the spacing of a clown car (this is a terrible comparison, I know).
But as was or is the theme during this preseason the Bulls got off to a slow start against the Hornets. Early on they failed to get back in transition and find shooters, guard the three point line in the halfcourt, or communicate in any fashion.
Going back to the rotation though, Isaiah Canaan was the first point guard off the bench, while cult hero Cristiano Felicio has surpassed Bobby Portis.
While the Bulls struggled defensively, their offense wasn’t any better. Where last year they struggled with stagnation, this year there is just no room to operate. It was difficult for the Bulls to generate a clean look let alone a shot within the “offense.” But hey, Robin Lopez played really well, including this block early on:
The Bulls climbed back into the game in the second quarter as the Hornets cooled off, only mustering to shoot 20% from the field. However they were able to stay ahead in the game due to their free throw shooting. Too many times the Bulls gambled, missed rotations or didn’t communicate which led to everyone scrambling in turn leading to fouls to stop the ball. For the half, Charlotte shot 27 FREE THROWS, and made 24, that is a remarkable stat. If Chicago was able to play any competent defense during the first half, and keep the Hornets off the line, it would’ve been a different ballgame. But with this team, that probably won’t ever be the case. Their defense is atrocious, and that’s putting it lightly.
In second half it was more of the same, two teams fighting each other with wet noodles. Peak preseason basketball. Nikola Mirotic left the game half way through the third quarter with a back strain after Rajon Rondo ran into him. For someone who’s struggled immensely this preseason, especially with his confidence, Niko can’t afford to miss any time.
With under a minute left and down three in the fourth quarter, Jerian Grant (who’s on the outside looking in) nailed a three to tie the game at 98, effectively sending it to overtime. Overtime was awful, the Hornets played someone named Andrew Andrews, and the Bulls eventually lost.
The Bulls play their final preseason game on Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks in Omaha, Nebraska. Doug McDermott fever is going to be so high that night, you can feel it already.