Although the Bulls managed to cut a 23 point deficit to 5, they succumbed to the Boston Celtics and their spot on shooting tonight in Las Vegas, 79-74. The Celtics back-court tandem of Dionte Christmas and E’Twaun Moore combined for 16-30 shooting for 43 points. The Bulls struggled at times to score, and Marquis Teague’s pro debut did not go, I’m sure, the way he had planned. He gave up a game high 6 turnovers and shot the ball miserably 4-17 (the one aspect of his game he’s noted needs improvement). He had 1 assists in 31 minutes, and granted it was his first shot at NBA action, he did not look comfortable running the show. Minutes after the game he acknowledged his poor play, Tweeting “Smh, ready for tomorrow”. Teague will be matched up with Scott Machado tomorrow – who had a rough start as well, but has found a groove with Houston.
There was, however, some bright spots for the Bulls, most notably being, Jimmy Butler. Butler’s been a fixture in the Berto Center all summer working on his game, working on his body, and most importantly working on his jumper. And tonight his hard work showed. He was aggressive from the minute he touched the ball and earned a game high 12 free throws, connecting on 10 of them. He tied a game high (with Moore) for 25 points and grabbed 7 rebounds (3 offensive). I’m sure he’d like 1 or 2 of the shots he took back, but he so far is living up to his summer league vow: “I really want to go out there and lead. This is the time I’ve been waiting on and working towards. All the time I’ve put in at the gym, now I can let it show.” He did just that, we’ll see what he brings to round 2 tomorrow against Houston.
Jimmy Butler put back slam:
Another standout was D-Leaguer, Malcolm Thomas who put up the only double double of the game with 10 points and 13 rebounds. He added 3 blocks and held the highly regarded Jared Sullinger to 3 of 25 shooting.He’s a 6’9” athletic power forward who has a similar game to Taj Gibson – he’s an energy guy and relentless worker. He got better and looked more comfortable as the game went on – so I’m interested to see what he’s got from the get go tomorrow night. He could very well find a spot on the Bulls roster if tonight wasn’t a fluke.
It was a good all around effort for the first of 5 games for Chicago who will have another crack at it tomorrow at 5 PM (CT) vs. the Houston Rockets.
Who to watch for: Demetri McCamey. He only got a little over 8 minutes – I don’t know why, as he was doing well as opposed to the struggling Teague. Hope to see him get some more grind tomorrow as CSN Chicago has reported “there are whispers that the organization is high on the big floor general”. If true, I’m confused why we didn’t see more of him.