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Bulls Defense struggles again (and other Hornets game takeaways)

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The Bulls fell to the Hornets in a 108-104 overtime loss. Here are three things to take away from the game.

NBA: Preseason-Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

At least there was some drama from last night’s contest between the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets. The game was very close throughout regulation and seemed slightly entertaining for a preseason game. With Chicago down three with less than 20 seconds left on the clock, it looked like the Bulls would be on the end of another loss. But then Jerian Grant knocked down a three with 10.9 seconds left to tie the game at 98.

In OT, the Hornets offense came to life and exposed the Bulls bad defense once again. But Chicago was still only down three with 16 seconds left. Fred Hoiberg opted to go for a 2 for 1 situation, but Doug McDermott missed a shot at the rim and that sealed the game.

Here are three takeaways from the loss.

Bulls defense struggles again

It was another tough night for the Bulls defense. They looked really lost when it came to recognizing assignments and switching on the pick and roll. The Bulls were lucky to be bailed out by Charlotte’s bad shooting (33% from the field) otherwise this game wouldn’t have been close.

McDermott had some pretty bad errors, particularly when it came to switching.

Doug’s man didn’t even perform a pick, but he didn’t know where to go and left the entire left side of the defense confused.

But McDermott (who, to be fair, at least produces fewer of these lowlights than last year?) wasn’t the only one to struggle. Dwyane Wade, hopefully just in preseason mode, showed multiple instances of a lack of effort and awareness that broke down the Bulls team defense.

*Watches ball, allows back-cut

*Not getting back (and earning a cherry-picking three)

*Standing and losing his man in transition

And then in the clip below when Nikola Mirotic and Dwyane Wade both find themselves running towards the same man, leaving Frank Kaminsky open right underneath the rim.

As you can see, Chicago was bailed out again when Lamb took too long to get the ball to Kaminsky and ended up turning it over.

Preseason defense is always going to be spotty, so hopefully that’s the explanation for some of this.

2. Robin Lopez impresses

The former New York Knick scored 11 points (8 in the first quarter) on five of six shooting while pulling down five rebounds in 22 minutes. He also had this Noah-esque assist.

Defensively, Lopez offers Chicago great rim protection and his effort on that side of the ball was really good to see. Like when he hustled back to block Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s effort at the rim. As we’ve shown above with Chicago’s struggling perimeter defense, offensive players will be driving straight into the heart of that defense. It will be up to the Bulls best defenders in Lopez, Taj Gibson, and Cristiano Felicio to help protect the rim.

3. Tough game from Paul Zipser.

After captivating Bulls Twitter against the Cavaliers last Friday, Paul Zipser’s play has seemed to hit a wall. He was zero of five from the field, but did have five rebounds and a tie-preserving block near the end of regulation. He had a wild shot during overtime where he seemed to chuck it at the rim for no good reason.

The jury is still out for Zipser and there is reason to believe why he can be a solid contributor for the Bulls. He is athletic and can get to the rim, though like most on the team he’s struggling shooting from deep. If he can develop an even decent jump shot, Zipser could be a guy off the bench for who can give them solid minutes.