Chicago Bulls: Injuries can’t slow this team in win over Cavs

Javonte Green, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Javonte Green, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

You can’t take too much away from a preseason win for the Chicago Bulls. In fact, you can’t take too much away from most preseason wins for any team heading into the regular season. But that doesn’t mean that this win in the preseason opener at home at the United Center for the Bulls on Oct. 5 wasn’t a ton of fun to watch.

What we did at least learn from the preseason opener win for the Bulls on Oct. 5 is the fact that this team will truly deliver on the entertainment factor. The rest we will have to wait and see.

Nonetheless, a short handed Bulls team that was down five key players was still able to come out and thoroughly dominate the division foe Cleveland Cavaliers to begin the preseason slate. The Bulls and second-year head coach Billy Donovan got this win over the Cavs to open up the preseason by the final score of 131-95.

This was still a thoroughly impressive win for Donovan and the Bulls with a number of injuries to get some momentum building this preseason. The Bulls were missing center Marko Simonovic, forward Patrick Williams, small forward Derrick Jones Jr., center Tony Bradley, and point guard Coby White, for this preseason opener against the Cavs.

But that didn’t slow the Bulls down. Donovan was able to make some adjustments to his second unit, and slot shooting guard Javonte Green in the starting five. That move to adjust the starting five really paid dividends for the Bulls to open up the preseason.

Leading the Bulls defensively first, Green registered an insane game-high four blocks and two steals. To go along with that, Green had 13 points, eight rebounds, no assists, and no turnovers. He shot an efficient 6-of-9 from the field, 1-of-1 from beyond the arc, and didn’t have any free-throw attempts in this game.

Javonte Green and Zach LaVine help to lead Chicago Bulls past Cavs in dominant preseason win

Some of the bigger names on the Bulls didn’t necessarily have the most efficient offensive outing out of the gates this preseason. Star shooting guard/forward DeMar DeRozan registered just 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field. And star center Nikola Vucevic registered 10 points and nine rebounds on 5-of-13 shooting from the field, and 0-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Two very notable performances came in this game from star shooting guard Zach LaVine and newly acquired defensive standout guard Alex Caruso.

LaVine got off to a solid start this preseason by posting a game-high 25 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals, and just one turnover. And he shot 9-of-14 from the field, 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.

Meanwhile, Caruso gave the Bulls double-digit points off the bench. He registered 10 points, a very impressive team-high 10 assists, two rebounds, and one steal. And Caruso shot 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.

What was surprising about the efforts from players like LaVine and Caruso was how much they did to contribute in ways that they often don’t statistically. LaVine can be a disruptor at times on defense, but registering three steals in this game is a great sign for his defensive game.

Caruso putting up 10 assists was also a pleasant surprise here.

Other notable numbers from this game included an 11-rebound effort from new power forward Alize Johnson, two steals and one block from Ayo Dosunmu, and a combined 24 points off the bench from Troy Brown Jr. and Matt Thomas. This bench played well for the Bulls down a number of players.

Next. Projecting starting 5 for the preseason. dark

We’ll see if we can continue to get positive signs from this new-look roster in the second game of the preseason slate. Next up for the 1-0 Bulls following this win over the Cavs to open up the preseason slate is a meeting at home with the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 8.