The Chicago Bulls (2-4) in the pre-season, play their last home game tonight at the United Center before the regular season begins on October 27th. The Bulls will meet their Division rival, the Indiana Pacers.
Last night, an undermanned Bulls team lost 84-86, to the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte before a half-full arena. The Bulls had an up and down game. They didn’t shoot well, making only 37.6% of their shots. And, only 22% went in from long-distance. It is difficult to win on the road with poor shooting. However, they out-rebounded Charlotte grabbing 56 boards and that is a good sign of effort.
Joakim Noah played a good game with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. He ran well up the court and that was a good sign. If the Bulls can have Noah healthy, he will be a big factor this season.
Pau Gasol sat out the game as well as Derrick Rose who has been recovering from orbital bone surgery, so two starters were absent. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 18 points and Kemba Walker of Charlotte led all scorers with 22 points.
Butler was succinct after the game. “We could be better,” he said. Well, they have tonight’s game and another one on Thursday and that’s it for the pre-season.
The defense played a more solid game and coach Fred Hoiberg noted that. “We took a step in the right direction, defensively,” he said. It is going to take a concentrated effort on team defense to start off this season.
Hoiberg’s strength is the offense. Right now, there are a lot of moving parts. Plenty of depth, despite Mike Dunleavy being out due with back surgery. The Bulls need to get Gasol and Noah working as a tandem, and give Mirotic minutes too. Taj Gibson had a solid game with 14 points and 9 boards. The Bulls need Gibson to stay injury free this season. His contribution is invaluable in the low post.
Doug McDermott has been told he will be a reserve and McBuckets has accepted that role. He does figure to get the starting nod later in the week as he will be playing near his home.
You can’t really tell about this team until Derrick Rose steps out on the court. He may be ready next week. He may miss a game or two. But he will be back, and then one will have a better indication of what to expect from the Bulls this season.