You knew it was going to be a great night with Jon Barry on the call, right?
Actually I'm sure it was the presence of the White T-Gang consisting of Jimmy Butler and Doug McDermott that propelled them to a 86-73 win Thursday night over the Dallas Mavericks.
Chicago got out a pretty decent start for themselves, having a nice pace to their offense in the halfcourt. The Summer Bulls managed to assist on five of their first six field goals. However, the story of the first quarter, and the first half in general, was the play of Bobby Portis. The second year man out of Arkansas scored 13 of the teams first 19 points of the game, included 11 straight at one point. He was knocking down shots out of the pick-and-roll, as well as showing that improved patience from the block. Portis continued his stellar play into the second quarter, finishing the half with 17 points on 8-10 shooting to go along with five boards.
For rookie Denzel Valentine he had a fairly quiet first half, only shooting 1-3 from the field for two points. His defense continues to be discouraging, whether it be in isolation situations or off the ball. If one thing has been made clear during summer league. it's that Valentine and Doug McDermott cannot be on the court at the same time, it's just not feasible.
The Bulls ended the first half on a 12-3 run to go up 38-29 heading in to the half. Their passing and ball movement, while not anything stellar, did result in 10 assists on 15 made field goals.
Chicago continued to control the game as the second half played itself out. Valentine got off to a nice start with five quick points including a three, yeah, a three! But in all seriousness, aside from the defensive end of the floor, Valentine had a really nice second half, which included nine points in the third quarter alone, and a couple of nice dishes to Cristiano Felicio.
Speaking of whom, Felicio turned in his second perfect game of summer league, going 6-6 from the field for 15 points. He also chipped in eight boards and three assists. Felicio ran into some foul trouble at certain points during the game, but his presence was felt nonetheless, specifically showing his rim protection potential.
After a strong first half performance, Portis only managed one field attempt for the majority of the half, he got two more off after the game was decided. This was a mixture of Portis not exactly demanding the ball and putting himself in the right positions, but more importantly it was the lack of Jerian Grant and Spencer Dinwiddie not making it a focal point to get him the ball.
With regards to the latter, they've shown little to be encouraged about during their summer league performances. For both, this was the time to take over the offense, control and distribute, run the show so to speak. These two are in a position where they should be dominating the competition, yet neither has done so. Maybe things will change during training camp when not much is needed of them, but as of now, optimism for either to be the primary backup point guard to Rajon Rondo isn't high.
The Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter from a resilient Mavericks squad, and will move on to play the Washington Wizards in Saturday's quarterfinal matchup.