The Chicago Bulls hosted the Washington Wizards in the first game of the preseason Monday night. The Washington Wizards eliminated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of last year’s 2014 NBA Playoffs, and both teams were surely viewing this game as a rematch. They played the game viciously until the final minutes of the game. The Bulls fell short in the preseason opener with a final score of 85-81 against a team that could be one of their newest rivals. The game started off with a minor altercation between Joakim Noah and newly acquired Washington Wizard, Paul Pierce, but the skirmish quickly ended before it escalated. This led the game into being more competitive than it was already expected to be.
The Bulls hosted the Wizards at Chicago’s United Center and had an effective night despite the lost. Bulls rookie Nikola Mirotic led his team by scoring 17 points in the second half. Mirotic also had five steals and two rebounds. Derrick Rose logged 14 minutes of action and finished the night with 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal. While Mirotic may have led the Bulls with his 17 points, Pau Gasol did contribute with eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
The Philadelphia 76ers traded rookie Glen Rice Jr. to the Washington Wizards during the summer. The shooting guard was drafted in the second round and was the overall 35th draft pick. Glen Rice Jr. was predicted to have an impressive game and led the Wizards with 18 points for the night. In addition, Marcin Gortat scored 13 points and collected 10 rebounds. Bradley Beal put up 10 points, while John Wall was only 5-of-19 from the field.
The Bulls initially had a goal to have an undefeated preseason this year, but that dream quickly fell off after Monday night’s loss. The Bulls were only 33.8 percent from the floor and had a dreadful 4th quarter that cost them the game. Chicago created an imbalance in which there were more negative plays than positive plays, which ultimately resulted in losing the game by four points.
Although Derrick Rose made his “return” during this summer’s FIBA World Cup playing for Team USA, Monday night also consisted of Rose making his debut back in a Bulls Jersey. Derrick Rose made an impressive comeback on Team USA during this summer’s FIBA World Cup, and even Coach K predicted that Rose was back and better than ever. During the first half of the game, Derrick Rose confirmed to his hometown crowd that he is ready to “return” as he did while playing for Team USA. While Chicago fans may still have cringed every time Rose pulled up a shot, he played without hesitation, strongly attacked the basket and ended the night with 11 points.
Overall, the game was fought hard by both teams, and there was a clear tension between them. Chicago may have been rusty coming in, but they have a few more weeks to prepare before their regular-season opener against LeBron James and the Cavaliers on October 31 at the United Center. The Bulls will play in Detroit against the Pistons on Tuesday night in another preseason match up.
Commentary By Tricia Manalansan
Photo Courtesy Michael Tipton – Creativecommons License