The Bulls came away with their second preseason victory in a 115-98 road win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.
As always, there was plenty to like and some things to work on. DeMar DeRozan was fantastic, Andre Drummond hit three threes and Nikola Vucevic continues to look great in preseason, but here are the six little things that stood out from the game.
1. Zach LaVine still getting into form
Zach LaVine has quietly struggled through three preseason games. He finished tonight’s game with nine points on 3-for-9 shooting and five turnovers in 24 minutes. He had two of his shots blocked in the first half and lost his dribble driving to the basket a few times as well.
Though he started to get more comfortable playing in his two-man game with Nikola Vucevic, but he’s still working his way into game shape after his surgery this summer. Patience.
2. The Cobyissance
Coby White has put together some great stretches during these last two preseason games. He is playing well in the pace of the new system and seems to feel a little more comfortable at this pace of play.
White didn’t shoot efficiently, finishing with only seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. But I really liked the way he was reading the game. He finished with six assists, but the way he used his speed to create openings was a really good sign for his progress.
3. I’m a woo girl
Javonte Green was moved to the bench, and out of the first half rotation, after getting a spot start against the Nuggets.
He was amazing tonight and is clearly the best option for the Bulls at power forward. Green finished with 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting, including a four-point play and this insane dunk.
4. Beating the switch
Raptors defense is known for its length and switchability. They crowd airspace and speed you up. But the Bulls came into this game understanding they would be facing that pressure and beat the switch a few times on these fake handoff plays.
Alex Caruso feels Pascal Siakam on his hip and knows a switch is coming. He decides to dive to the basket on the RPO and gets downhill and finds Vucevic for the bucket.
Here’s another example where DeRozan rejects the screen knowing the switch is coming. He gets downhill and does DeRozan things. So pretty.
5. Shooting is a problem
The Bulls do not seem interested in shooting more threes. Through three preseason games, they were 9-for-27 from deep against the Pelicans, 15-for-28 against the Nuggets and 13-for-32 against the Raptors. Right around their league low season average from last year.
Four of their 11 makes came from Andre Drummond and Vucevic. It’s nice that they made their shots, but I’m really not trusting this. High percentage on low volume is the same thing that got the Bulls in trouble last season and I don’t see what has changed here, process-wise.
6. Transition/turnovers tradeoff
Last year, the Bulls struggled to score down the stretch as their offense moved slowly up the court and typically led to isolation plays from DeRozan and/or LaVine. As a result, their offense was efficient and the Bulls barely turned the ball over.
This year, Billy Donovan has put an emphasis on playing with pace and getting out in transition to create easier offense.
This comes with a tradeoff. With more passing and pace comes more turnovers. The Bulls are willing to sacrifice some of their ball security to open up more scoring lanes, but they need to be careful not to let that get out of hand.
Where they need to be better is half-court turnovers. They still want to play with more ball movement, but they can’t afford to give away any of those possessions.
They had 16 turnovers in the first half, four of which came on entry passes into the post. They managed to clear things up with only three in the third quarter and finished with 23. A good bounce back, but something we’ll keep an eye on throughout the season.
Get Chicago's Best Sports Content In Your Inbox!
Become a smarter Chicago sports fan with the latest game recaps, analysis and exclusive content from CHGO’s writers and podcasters!
Just drop your email below!
Scroll to next article
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on PinterestShare on WhatsappShare on LinkedinShare on TelegramShare on Email