Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls, Game Recap and Player Grades
The Bulls were in playoff form, both on the court and off, with three of their players once again missing the game due to injury. Kirk Hinrich was out with a concussion, while Joakim Noah (groin pull) and Jimmy Butler (knee bruise) were both out with the injuries which had kept them out the two previous games.
The Bulls, as Tom Thibodeau would say, "had more than enough to win" though. They made short work of the Bulls, with six players scoring in double figures.
They were led by Derrick Rose (of course) but there were plenty of other contributors. Their contributions are graded here.
Point Guard: Derrick Rose, A
Things are getting to the point where Derrick Rose is going to have to change his jersey number to 2.0. Preseason, schmeseason. At this point you just have to admire the swath of destruction Rose is leaving behind him.
Chicago obliterated (or should I say, o-Bull-iterated) the Bucks, and Rose put together yet another enormously productive and efficient night, scoring 24 points on just 10 shots in 27 minutes. He added four assists, three rebounds and one steal.
In his last 77 minutes played, Rose has scored or assisted on 112 points. Just pause and absorb that fact for a moment—because it is ridiculous, even for preseason, and especially for a player who hadn’t played in over a year.
And the most ridiculous thing is how efficiently he’s racking up those numbers. On the preseason as a whole, Rose has now scored 104 points on 54 attempts.
Maybe ranking him ninth in the rankings is just a smidge too low, eh ESPN?
Shooting Guard: Mike Dunleavy, A-
Dunleavy had easily his best game yet with his new Bulls and against his old Bucks, finding his rhythm on both ends of the court.
He scored 12 points, grabbed seven boards and contributed five assists, one of which was a nifty little behind-the-back pass to Taj Gibson for the dunk on the fast break.
He was hitting his defensive rotations right on the mark, and his help defense was often a factor in frustrating the Bucks' offensive sets. His best play of the night was a clear block and strip, which was wrongly called a foul.
He also had a steal that led to a fast break that concluded with a nice dump-off pass to Marquis Teague for the easy two.
Overall, he’s getting comfortable with his new team and is showing what an effective asset he can be this season. His well-rounded game will help curb Luol Deng’s heavy minutes once the regular season starts.
Small Forward: Luol Deng, A
Luol Deng quietly had another solid night, notching 15 points on just five field-goal attempts, with the rest of his scoring all coming at the line, where he made 10 of 12 free throws.
Deng added four boards, two assists, three steals and fantastic defense on Caron Butler, who had just two points on six attempts. One of Deng's assists was a nice bounce pass to the hard-charging Rose.
Deng had the best plus-minus numbers of any of the Chicago Bulls at plus-21.
He was a major factor in the way the game was over almost comically early. He was the primary reason the Bucks scored a meager 39 points in the first half.
Power Forward: Carlos Boozer, B+
Carlos Boozer also had easily his best preseason game yet, notching 16 points 8-of-16 shooting with 10 rebounds. He also contributed three assists and two steals.
Probably the most important thing going forward is that it looked like he’s found his jumper, which is an essential part of the Bulls' half-court offense. It pulls the bigs away from the paint, opening up space for Rose to drive.
On the downside, Boozer had a foul-fest tonight, racking up five personal fouls in only 23 minutes of play. That said, the 16 points and 10 boards came in 23 minutes as well. It was just a good thing Chicago didn’t need him for 25.
Taj Gibson: B-
Taj Gibson got the surprise start over Nazr Mohammed. He played reasonably well in his place, scoring 10 points and grabbing four rebounds in 23 minutes.
Weirdly, his numbers were down because his minutes were down because he started.
He showed nice chemistry working with Dunleavy, perhaps because both work with the second unit more. And he was once again efficient, as he has been all postseason, knocking down 5-of-8 field-goal attempts.
It wasn’t his most productive night of the preseason, but he continued to show that he can be more of an offensive threat than he has been in the past. He stayed even with Larry Sanders (12 points and four rebounds), one of the rising young stars of the league, which is a nice trade-off.
I graded Gibson a little harshly because he's raised the bar on his scale.
With Dunleavy and Gibson stepping into starting roles, the bench was thinned out, especially with Hinrich sitting. They more than held their own though, even extending the lead a bit at the end of the game.
Marquis Teague showed flashes of being a capable backup for the second straight game, with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. Tony Snell added another nine points with two boards and two assists.
Erik Murphy also played heavy minutes, and while he scored only three points on eight shots, he grabbed six boards. And he didn’t knee anyone in the head, so he gets points for that.
Overall the second unit was outscored 34-28, but in light of the blowout and the fact that the first three players off the bench were either not playing or starting, that’s not too shabby.