Rebuilds can be ugly, but the first quarter of Wednesday's Bulls-Thunder game was downright disgusting.
The Bulls scored single digits(!) in the historically awful opening 12 minutes. Here's a closer look at the numbers:
7 - Amount of points scored. That's the worst opening quarter in franchise history and just one point better than the worst overall quarter.
8 - Number of turnovers, which included three shot clock violations.
13 - The Bulls shot 13 percent from the field. Woof.
2 - Consecutive games Fred Hoiberg's squad has trailed by 20 after the first.
3 - Carmelo Anthony outscored the Bulls by three points in the opening quarter (10-7).
It's safe to assume that the lineup of Jerian Grant, Kris Dunn, Quincy Pondexter, Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez was not ready to play.
On the latest Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, and Vincent Goodwill react to the Bulls loss to San Antonio and the ankle injury to Lauri Markkanen. The group will also discuss Paul Zipser’s role in Fred Hoiberg’s offense, and the potential for lineup changes vs the Thunder. Plus a lightning round Q+A with early season MVP, are the Pistons are for real?, and Kendall’s candid answer on the future of Illini basketball.
Here are three things to watch when the Bulls square off against the Spurs tonight on NBC Sports Chicago. Coverage begins with Pregame Live at 7 p.m. followed by tip-off.
1. Kris Dunn building on momentum
The "other" part of the Jimmy Butler trade had arguably his best game as a professional on Friday. Dunn went for 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting, added four rebounds, five assists and three steals in 34 minutes. He had four turnovers and didn't make his only 3-point attempt, but it was a step in the right direction for the second year guard. It'll be interesting to see what he (and the rest of the Bulls) do on the second of a back-to-back, but the opportunity is here for Dunn to continue gaining ground on Jerian Grant in the ongoing point guard position battle.
2. Another back-to-back
The Bulls' first back-to-back didn't exactly go well. Yes, they took the Pelicans to overtime in an eventual loss, but they managed 90 points, shot just 35 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers. It won't be any easier this time around on the back-to-back, facing a Spurs team annually known for its depth. But the Spurs are also coming off a game played Friday night, when they suffered a loss to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe and the Bucks. Both squads may have some tired legs in this one.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge
It seems like LaMarcus Aldridge will be pouring in 18-foot jumpers in the NBA when he's 65 years old. The dude simply doesn't age, and he isn't changing his game for anyone. In now his 12th NBA season, he's averaging 22.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and is shooting nearly 49 percent from the field. He's been asked to do more with Kawhi Leonard still out, but he's been sensational over the course of the season's first month. It'll be a good test for Lauri Markkanen. In the first meeting against the Bulls in late October, Aldridge dominated with 28 points and 10 rebounds.