Chicago Bulls Preseason Game No. 3: You Hit A Three! And You Hit A Three!


After a rocky performance in their second game of the preseason, the Chicago Bulls bounced back on Saturday night with a 114-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Winnipeg. Here’s three takeaways from the nine-point win.

The preseason opener for the Chicago Bulls was sloppy, but the result was positive (10-point win over Milwaukee). Two nights later in Colorado, the performance was some more of the same, but the result was poor (18-point loss).

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On Saturday night, the Bulls exploded out of the gate for a 65-point first half and would go on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 114-105. Not only did the Bulls break the century mark offensively for the second time in three preseason games, six different Bulls scored in double figures.

The Bulls never trailed in the game, while shooting a blistering 49.4 percent from the floor, including hitting 16 threes(!) out of 36 attempts on Saturday. Nine of the 13 Bulls who checked into the game on Saturday night hit at least one three. Doug McDermott hit four of his seven attempts from deep, which were both team highs on the night.

With that being said, here’s three takeaways from the Bulls improving to 3-1 against the young Timberwolves.

1. Yeah, the Bulls are going to shoot it from deep this year

Here are the totals for the Bulls in terms of three-point attempts during the preseason: 39, 24, 36. In those three games, the Bulls have made 38 of those attempts.

To save you the task of doing the math there, the Bulls are shooting 38.3 percent from long range in the preseason. Last season, the Bulls shot 35.3 percent from deep. Not only are the Bulls shooting it more from three, they’re making them (early on).

Fred Hoiberg‘s offense is designed around getting shooters open looks from beyond the arc. Not only that, Hoiberg is utilizing his depth early (which to be honest, he basically has to with the injuries) and giving his shooters a chance to … well, shoot.

The biggest benefactor of Hoiberg’s arrival so far? Takeaway No. 2: Doug McDermott.

2. Doug McDermott is thriving during this preseason

The main reason why the Bulls traded their two first-round draft picks during the 2014 NBA Draft for Doug McDermott, was because McDermott could light up the scoreboard with the best of them.

After a well-documented rookie season that was filled with missed opportunities, injuries, and a lack of playing time, what is McDermott doing now?

Oh, nothing much really.

Through three games, McDermott is 11-of-22 (50 percent) from beyond the arc, and has scored at least 15 points in each game for the Bulls. It’s the preseason and the competition is lacking at times, but McDermott is doing what the Bulls wanted him to do when they brought him in.

3. Does Bobby Portis have an “Off” switch?

Answer: No.

Portis finished off a nice night at the office with 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists. He missed his only three-point attempt of the night, but when he did shoot the ball, it was without hesitation.

Overall thoughts:

Saturday was a good team win for the Bulls, even if it was against a young team who was dead last in defensive efficiency last season. Everyone contributed. Don’t believe me? Kirk Hinrich had 13 points, made all three of his attempts from long range, and played some tough defense on the young Wolves on the perimeter.

These games don’t count, but the key is improve during this eight-game stretch, and the Bulls are doing that. They’re starting to look more comfortable in the offense under Hoiberg. There’s plenty of work to do on both ends of the floor, but this is a fairly nice start for a team with some big-time expectations.

Next: Bulls Preseason Game No. 2: Recapping the loss to Denver

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