Chicago Bulls Preseason Finale: Doug McDermott For The Win … Good!


The Chicago Bulls finished up the preseason in the most entertaining way possible. Not only did the Bulls win at the buzzer, one of the franchise’s centerpieces made his long-awaited return to action. Here’s a few takeaways and thoughts about Friday night’s fun victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

It’s not that the Chicago Bulls had a lack of headlines heading into their preseason finale against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. It’s the fact that after the game concluded, headlines were aplenty.

Not only did the Bulls finish the preseason at .500 with an exciting 103-102 victory over the Mavericks on Friday, there was plenty to take away from a fun night of basketball. Derrick Rose played a shade over 10 minutes of legitimate preseason game action, Fred Hoiberg was able to put forth a frontcourt rotation that didn’t include Joakim Noah in the starting lineup, and Doug McDermott hit a game-winning fall-away jumper back in the state where he become a college hoop star.

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Unlike Week 4 of the NFL’s preseason slate, the final rehearsal for the Bulls before their Opening Night showdown against the Cleveland Cavaliers was quite the show. Here’s a few nuggets from Friday’s preseason finale, starting with the projected frontcourt rotation to start out the year.

Hoiberg brings a nice balance of minutes for his big men

Earlier in the week, the reports were releasing about Fred Hoiberg preferring that Nikola Mirotic starting at power forward with Pau Gasol to round out the starting five for the Bulls to start the season. That would mean Joakim Noah would head to the bench and become one of the leaders of the second unit. Despite the demotion, Noah has remained cool and collected with his new role.

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On Friday night, Noah (20:04 of game action) and Taj Gibson (22:50) both played more than Mirotic did (18:39). Gasol (22:23) finished with 11 points and a rebound short of a double-double on Friday. Bobby Portis — a rookie who has shown much promise during the preseason — played just under 10 minutes.

Portis has shown that he’s worth more minutes in the rotation. But, he did see some action (unlike the previous preseason game vs. Indiana), so that’s encouraging.

Aside from Cameron Bairstow, everyone (even Cristiano Felicio) saw action on Friday night. It’s easy to forget that Hoiberg’s a rookie head coach. Patience and experimenting will be the names of the game for Hoiberg in his first campaign as a head coach in the NBA. There’s been early ups and downs, but so far, he’s passing the exam with flying colors in terms of spreading the wealth.

Oh hey, Derrick Rose

For the first time since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Derrick Rose played for the Chicago Bulls in a game. All week, the thought of Derrick Rose playing in a game sounded ludicrous. The man was seeing two of everything in front of him, so yeah … him playing meaningful basketball in a meaningless game wasn’t the best option.

But, ever defiant, Rose insisted he could give it a go and he did. How did things go?

He might have been seeing two of the rim, but he hit the one that matters.

Rose had a solid night at the office in his first game back, scoring eight points in just over 10 minutes of action on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. “Tonight was kind of scary for my confidence,” Rose told reporters after Friday night’s game.

That’s good, right? Wait until you see what he said about his status for Opening Night against Cleveland.

So, not only does Rose get through his first test of the season unscathed, he appears to be ready to go for the regular season opener this Tuesday night back in Chicago. The concerns are definitely there (and will continue to be there), but that’s something that many Bulls fans wanted to hear.

As for his performance on Friday, Rose was definitely the benefactor of fresh legs. His burst has always been bigger than most players in the league and it was definitely on display a couple times Friday. You saw a bit of everything from Rose in his short time on the floor: driving to the basket, finishing through contact, and acceleration. Friday was a step forward for Rose and the Bulls.

Doug McClutchmott eats all of the onions

Long-time college basketball color commentator Bill Raftery has one of the best commentary calls in sports. When someone hits a big shot late in a game Raftery is calling, you’re likely to hear “Raft” blurt out, “ONIONS!” It’s always imitated, but never duplicated.

In front of a packed house in Lincoln, local college hoop star Doug McDermott played over 28 minutes on Friday night. It wasn’t a night to remember for McDermott like the many he had at nearby Creighton University, as McDermott shot just 2-of-10 from the floor.

Well, that was at least until he decided to dine on a few onions before the final offensive possession for the Bulls, who trailed 102-101 in the final seconds.

A little nylon from the fifth-leading scorer in college basketball history. They don’t call the man “Dougie McBuckets” for nothing, folks.

Final preseason thoughts:

  • The big takeaway from Friday’s win was Derrick Rose. The former MVP seemed confident that he was ready for game action all week, despite the vision issues. There’s plenty that goes into it: It’s the preseason, Dallas was 20th in the NBA in terms of defensive ratings last season, and … it’s the preseason. But, Rose did look great. That was a promising start to his year for him. (Also, he’s a big fan of the new offense.)
  • He missed seven of his 12 shot attempts in just under 29 minutes on Friday night, but an underrated part of Friday night was the play of Tony Snell. Not only did Snell contribute with three steals defensively, he drained three of his five three-point attempts and was a +16 in the box score. That’s encouraging for a young player who has had some confidence issues. With Mike Dunleavy out for a while, the spot with Rose and Butler on the perimeter is there for the taking.
  • Did you know that the Bulls had six different leading scorers in their eight preseason games? Only Jimmy Butler and E’Twaun Moore led the Bulls in scoring more than once this preseason. Moore was 5-of-10 from the floor for 11 points on Friday night in roughly 24 minutes of action.
    • There’s two takeaways from this: The ball is moving for the Bulls offensively and it’s becoming a team effort to score the ball. That’s a good sign. Also, if Derrick Rose is going to start the season on the floor and not on the bench in a suit, E’Twaun Moore should be the one backing him up. He’s younger than Brooks and Hinrich, and even though Brooks may give a scoring pop, Moore’s a much better option on the defensive end.

Next: Grantland ranks Bulls No. 8 in 2015-16 League Pass Rankings

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