It was another win for the Chicago Bulls in the Las Vegas Summer League. After beating Boston, Chicago used a big second half to defeat the young Philadelphia 76ers 83-70. There were four main players on the Bulls that are going to make the roster. Let's see how they did in the win.
One of the biggest concern for Chicago heading into this game would be the defense of players like Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, and Cristiano Felicio. Sadly, all three players continued to struggle on that end of the floor. Against the number one pick in the draft, Ben Simmons, Portis and Felicio couldn't seem to lock him down. Especially the Brazilian who looked lost when Philadelphia went isolation with Simmons facing up against him. It was a matchup that the 76ers wanted and with Chicago switching on every pick and roll, mismatches were bound to show up. Felicio gave Simmons too much space to work on defense. It is ok to give Simmons some space given that he doesn't take a lot of jump shots and isn't a good jump shooter but you have to stay in front of him when he drives. Sadly, Felicio wasn't able to do that and allowed the Australian to get the finish right over him and even got an and one against him.
It was a different story on the other end for Felicio. He scored a game-high 17 points with many of it coming in the second half. Felicio was great around the rim and off the pick and roll, showing some of the skills we saw last season. His passing was good, showing that he is a passing threat when he grabs the ball at the top of the key. Felicio also led all players with 10 boards and helped Chicago win the battle on the boards. A big reason why the Bulls won against Boston last night was their dominance on the board and it continued tonight. With the likes of Portis, Felicio, and even Jack Cooley, Chicago had three solid rebounding big men on the glass tonight. You can also add Valentine to that mix as well.
Valentine, who also played poorly defensively against the Celtics, looked sluggish in the first half. It was a struggle on both ends for him as his shooting from deep wasn't good either. Known as a good shooter coming out of college, Valentine has struggled to adjust to the farther three-point line. Some of his shots from deep have been way off or air-balls even. The three-point shooting will improve as he gradually gets more adjusted but his poor shooting has to be a little bit of a concern. Even with that, he still scored double digits and scored some points inside the paint. Despite the lack of shooting, it was a relatively ok night for him. It's still early so expect improvements as we head towards opening night of the regular season.
Jerian Grant started at the point guard spot tonight and wasn't overly impressive or overly terrible. He was just ok in this game. His area of improvement is shooting, specifically from three given Chicago's spacing issues. Grant did nothing to change that tonight, shooting 2 of 7 from the field and he missed both of his three-point attempts. It was a very average performance.
In terms of the other players on the roster, Spencer Dinwiddie impressed in his 21 minutes of action. After being waived and signed again on a non-guaranteed contract, Dinwiddie is making an impact on the court. Even if Dinwiddie doesn't make the team, he will certainly have a chance to make it to training camp and could be on the D-League or even on the bench. He's young and athletic, something that apparently the Bulls want, and is showing promise.
Chicago is on a two-game winning streak in Summer League and will play the San Antonio Spurs on ESPN2 on Tuesday at 7 PM Central time.