The final preseason game is officially in the books, with the Chicago Bulls finishing undefeated after taking down the Denver Nuggets 94-89 last night. We’re all just looking forward to the regular season at this point, so I’ll keep this short.
Here’s what we learned last night:
1. Derrick Rose is not God incarnate, sadly.
Rose shot poorly on Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but his numbers still looked good because he hit 4 threes and got to the foul line 10 times. Last night, he shot poorly and didn’t make any threes and didn’t get to the line that much. So…that’s not good.
It seemed to me like Rose just wasn’t attacking as much. He seemed content to take jumpers and kind of float on the perimeter a lot. Which is less than ideal, but when Luol Deng goes for 23 and 12 and Carlos Boozer adds 24 and 10, it’s not a huge deal.
Speaking of Boozer…
2. Carlos Boozer is apparently good at basketball.
I railed against the evils of Boozer as an offensive focal point after Wednesday’s game, but I’m willing to get along with him if he’s going to do what he did last night. He got some touches in the post, but not a ton, and mostly hung around the elbow and on the baseline and made the most of his touches. He shot 12 free throws last night, which I didn’t realize was legal for him, and didn’t do nearly as much of his usual “face up, jab step 20 times and then launch a fadeaway from 18 feet” routine, which I approve of. Aggressive Carlos Boozer is a Carlos Boozer worth having around.
3. It’s not a big deal if Thibs plays his starters substantive minutes in preseason, you guys.
There was a lot of consternation last night at seeing Rose and the other starters out late in last night’s game. Since the game didn’t matter at all, why potentially risk injury? Well, think about it like this: The Bulls projected starters going into this year have literally never shared the court in the NBA. Rose, Butler, Deng, Boozer and Noah have never stepped out on the court all at the same time. Rose and Butler barely played together in 2011-12 before Rose got hurt. Butler and Deng played together some last season, but not much. So it seems like trying to get these guys some reps together — Noah excepted, obviously, as he’s been hurt — isn’t a bad idea.
Furthermore, why baby them in the preseason if you know they’re going to play heavy minutes in the regular season? Thibs needs to know Rose can handle significant minutes now, so he doesn’t try to play him too much in the regular season, at which point Rose’s body folds like a house of cards.
Obviously, hindsight is 20-20, so you’d be reading a much different take on this if someone had actually gotten hurt. But they didn’t, so whatever. Non-issue.
Three days, folks. Three days.