After a preseason opener which showed some positives, the Chicago Bulls stepped out on the floor in Milwaukee for their second exhibition and fell flat on their face. It was a total wash from the get-go as Chicago was completely outmatched by a much superior Bucks team.
The offense sputtered with the highest point total per quarter being 25, and the defense was non-existent. Fueled especially during the second quarter where the Bulls were thrashed 31-18, Chicago faced a consistent onslaught and in the end it was a 116-82 whooping.
Defense was horrid
One flaw we all could spot with the Bulls roster construction was the defense, and that reared its ugly head in this game.
Milwaukee was getting whatever shot they wanted and it reflected in the percentages finishing with eFG% of 57.9%. Chicago was giving up way too many shot attempts in the paint and out on the three point line. Out of the 116 points the Bucks scored, only 6 of them came from the mid-range. Milwaukee scored 52 points in the paint and was a big reason why they were able to pull away from Chicago in the second quarter.
As you would expect, Fred Hoiberg was very unhappy with the effort. He tried to call multiple frustration timeouts to try and settle his team down but it was to no avail. The Athletic’s Stephen Noh had a great thread on Twitter detailing a series of bad defensive plays and Hoiberg reactions in the second quarter.
The Bulls' defensive issues are very real. Bucks got two wide open corner 3's from each corner and a tip-in layup on this possession. I'm no lip-reader, but Hoiberg's reaction at the end of this play says it all. pic.twitter.com/TDJQjnFSWE— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) October 4, 2018
Jabari Parker was ‘doo-doo’
Or so he even said himself. You would expect Parker to have been eager to show his former team what they were missing out on, but while he showed some aggression offensively early it was a horrible performance.
He didn’t get off to a good start after getting dunked on by Brook Lopez , and it only continued after that. In his 19 minutes of action, he had a mere 2 points, 4 rebounds, and shot 1 of 12 from the field. And worse was his defensive effort after any miss.
Jabari getting back...slowly...where's someone to guard oops well everyone in the league can score what can you do pic.twitter.com/2xKJ5JiYcK— BlogABull.com (@BullsBlogger) October 4, 2018
Here's Robin Lopez beating Jabari Parker down the court to cover Parker's man. pic.twitter.com/oiYshmRGMo— The Bulls GM (@RyanBorja) October 4, 2018
Mixed bag from the rookies
Wendell Carter Jr., had a very interesting game. Stats-wise WCJ did decently, with 9 points and 5 rebounds on 4 of 8 shooting, including a triple in the corner.
Defensively, Carter Jr. showed no fear as he attempted to try and block Giannis at the rim. He was called for the foul but it was really nice to see nonetheless.
1. Don't think this was a foul— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) October 4, 2018
2. Yeah it's preseason, but seeing Carter do this to Giannis is still very exciting pic.twitter.com/5Z5TFwyEAM
He also had a really good play where he picked off a lead pass from Khris Middleton which was intended for Brook Lopez. WCJ was hustling back, sticking with Lopez and read the ball the moment it left Middleton’s hands. These smart plays along with the efficiency offensively is a good start for him.
Chandler Hutchison, meanwhile, was awfully quiet despite playing 26 minutes, the second most of any Bull in this game. He had one rebound in that time, and showed poor recognition in help defense on a couple possessions. Offensively he had a mere 3 points on a single three-pointer, and two other attempts from distance missed really badly. So he’s only 2 steps away from being a three-and-D contributor.
Three-point woes continue
The Bulls just can’t seem to consistently get the three-ball working in their favor. After shooting 22% against New Orleans, they followed it up with an even worse performance here going 7 of 41 (17.1%). This is something to keep on eye on moving forward, especially with two of their best 3-point shooters in Markkanen and Valentine unavailable. The Bulls seem to have no problem getting a lot of attempts up with three players taking more than 6 attempts from deep (Portis, Holiday, Hutchison) but they were often rushed. The offense in general did not look like it was executing anything in particular.
Bobby Portis flexes off the bench
If there was any positive, it was another solid bench shift put in by Bobby Portis. Scoring 17 points on 15 shots is a typical Portis stat line and one we should continue to expect from him. In 46 minutes so far this preseason he’s taken 34 shots and has 0 assists. Portis’s offensive impact was minimized due to Chicago not being even competitive in this game and his defense helped ‘contribute’ to that no doubt, but if he’s truly embracing this role as a 6th man gunner he’s keeping to that much.
Zach LaVine left with a minor leg injury
There was a scary moment was Zach LaVine limped off the court and looked to be favoring his right knee. Thankfully it was a contact injury that was determined to be a thigh contusion. Then after the game, ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported that LaVine’s thigh injury was not serious. But we’re conditioned to be skeptical when anything is declared that way, so let’s see how Chicago approaches this and if LaVine will be good to go on Monday.