NBA Preseason: Bulls 92 – Timberwolves 81

Friday night’s preseason game was once again against Chicago, this time from the Windy City.  This was also my first attempt at watching the preseason via League Pass from Cablevision – who still doesn’t let you select which TV broadcast you want to watch / listen to.  Therefore, I was stuck with Neil Funk and former Pup, Stacey King.  This isn’t a good thing.

I’m in early negotiations with Big Al so that I don’t have to cover either of the regular season games against the Bulls this season.  They are a really good defensive team, but that also makes them a little difficult to watch, particularly in the preseason and when Derrick Rose isn’t in the lineup.  Tonight’s game got off to a slow start for the Wolves (14-2 deficit) and things never really got much better.  The Timberwolves made a few, small runs but never cut the lead to less than 6 points and it never got that close in the second half at all, as the Wolves fell 92-81 and moved to 3-2 in the preseason.

The Pups starting lineup tonight consisted of Barea, Roy, Kirilenko, Cunningham, and Stiemsma.  Obviously, there is no Love in the lineup and Pekovic sat out tonight due to precautionary reasons, after banging his hand in the last game (according to Jerry Zgoda).

There weren’t too many highlights from the loss when looking through a Wolves lens.  Adelman coached the game pretty safely and no one played more minutes than Stiemsma at 26+.  Here are few items that caught my “Pups eye”:

  • AK47 had a nice, efficient game but played less than 20 minutes.  He went down awkwardly in the first quarter defending the paint against Noah and my heart skipped a beat.  No more injuries please!
  • Dante Cunningham continued to impress, but once the regular season starts, he shouldn’t even consider a jumper outside of 15 feet.
  • Shved had an off night shooting.  To make matters worse, Neil Funk called him “Sha-ved” throughout the evening.
  • Amundson was the first Pup off the bench tonight, but he’s definitively behind Cunningham in the regular season rotation in my opinion.
  • We had a Malcolm Lee sighting for the first time this preseason!  Lee hit a three and had a fast break dunk.  As an added bonus, neither Funk nor King had any idea who he was when he hit his first bucket, which led to a few seconds of awkwardness.
  • Finally, and the worst part of the evening, was DWill’s performance.  If he is playing for a shot to start at PF for this team, he’s not doing himself any favors.  If he wants to be a PF, get off the three point line and accept/initiate body contact on both ends of the floor.

As per tradition, here are tonight’s three stars of the game:

  1. Carlos Boozer – Boozer throws up a 24-9-4-4 game and set the tone for the Bulls early.  The Wolves had no answer for him.
  2. Taj Gibson – Not to be outdone, Gibson also had a very nice game with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  It will be interesting to see what the Bulls do here in the long term with these two.
  3. Greg Stiemsma – I have to put one Pup in here and The Steamer gets the nod, putting up 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.  These obviously aren’t earth shattering numbers, but he probably looked as good as or better than anyone else on the roster.

The Wolves are off until Wednesday night when they will host the Pistons at Target Center.  Let’s go Wolves!