In the first ever NBA game held in South America, the Chicago Bulls ended their trip to Brazil with an 83-81 victory. Although the score suggests otherwise, it was a Chicago-dominated game.
Yet again, Joakim Noah sat out as a precaution to his groin strain. Derrick Rose joined his teammate on the sideline with left knee soreness. Both of them were dressed and warmed-up though, so that’s a good sign. With that being said, the Bulls had a starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Nazr Mohammed.
Chicago got on the board first with Boozer scoring the first basket of the game, and it quickly escalated in their favor. With 2:23 remaining in the first quarter, they held a 21-8 lead over the Wizards. The deficit did not remain that large for too long, but it was clear the Bulls had the advantage throughout the first half.
The majority of the Bulls who saw action in the first half were able to contribute with a few points of their own, so almost everyone was involved and doing their share of the work. Taj Gibson, however, had 12 points in the first half to lead his team. Another contributing factor to Chicago’s first half success was Washington’s inability to score. The Wizards shot a horrific 28.2% from the field, but somehow, they were able to do better from downtown at 30.0%.
This trend continued on for most of the second half, but the Wizards were like a lingering cough that just won’t go away. Chicago would maintain their lead, but there was Washington going on a little run. Then, the Bulls regained their double-digit lead, but there were the Wizards yet again.
In the fourth quarter, Washington was able to erase the double-digit deficit while Chicago struggled to find the bottom of the net. The Wizards finally grabbed the lead a little over the halfway in the period, 79-77. In the end, the Bulls were able to prevail though.
Gibson led all scorers with 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, one assist, one steal, and four blocks. Deng followed him with 14 points, five rebounds, six assists, and one steal. Butler was the other double-digit scorer for Chicago with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Now, Chicago is 3-0 in preseason play. The Bulls’ next game will be their preseason home opener. It will take place this Wednesday, Oct. 14, as they take on a fellow Central Division team, the Detroit Pistons.