The Chicago Bulls fell to 1-2 in the preseason with a 82-75 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. Let’s go behind the box score to break down what went right and what went wrong as the team inches closer to the regular season:
Joakim Noah looked great throughout the game, showing no signs of the ankle problems that plagued him over the summer. Noah finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and also showed improvement on his mid-range shooting with his signature “tornado” shot.
Jimmy Butler gave the team a lot of energy, playing a laughable 48 minutes in place of Luol Deng, who sat out with a sore groin (Thibodeau needed to overextend someone in Luol’s absence). Butler was active offensively, finishing with 10 points and getting to the free throw line eight times.
Nazr Mohammed gave the Bulls a spark off the bench again, chipping in 10 points in only 15 minutes of playing time. The veteran also contributed two blocks and six rebounds in the loss.
The team shot only 63 percent from the charity stripe (22-35), a number that will need to improve come the regular season. The Bulls also continued to struggle from beyond the arc, hitting only 3-of-13 on the night. Chicago’s field goal percentage on the night (36.8) also leaves a lot to be desired.
Taj Gibson had a rough game on both ends, hitting only 1-of-5 shots while also fouling out of the contest. Gibson is now the team’s best player off the bench, and the Bulls will rely his play heavily in the regular season.
The Bulls’ guard tandem of Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson combined for more turnovers (6) than assists (4). With Derrick Rose out for most of the year, Chicago will need the pairing to facilitate the offense once the regular season starts.
Chicago continues the preseason Tuesday at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Zach Mink covers the Chicago Bulls for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zachmink12 for more news and analysis.