Local fans who made the trip to Rio de Janeiro to watch the Bulls take on the Wizards didn't get to see the star power they expected, but they did witness a classic Bulls defensive effort.
Both Derrick Rose (left-knee soreness) and Joakim Noah (groin) sat out Saturday's preseason matchup in Brazil, but the Bulls were able to overcome the short bench and take down the Wizards 83-81 in the NBA's first NBA game in the country.
"Coming here was an honor and a privilege," Thibodeau said of the team's trip to Brazil. "We absolutely loved it. The hospitality was incredible."
The Bulls rolled through three quarters, holding the Wizards to 35 percent shooting to take a 73-62 lead entering the final stanza. But Tom Thibodeau opted to go with a youthful lineup to begin the fourth, including rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy and Marquis Teague, and the Wizards responded with a 17-4 run to take a 79-77 lead midway through the quarter.
Out of a timeout Murphy grabbed a Jimmy Butler rebound and made a layup to tie the game back up at 79 with five minutes to play. The Bulls defense reverted back to their play earlier in the game, forcing three straight missed shots and a turnover following the run, while Kirk Hinrich made a floater and a free throw to extend the Bulls' lead to three inside three minutes.
Kevin Seraphin added two free throws with 1:31 to play to cut the lead down to one, but Taj Gibson, who led the Bulls with 18 points, added a free throw with 46 seconds left and blocked an Eric Maynor floater on the next possession. Mike Dunleavy missed a wide-open 3-pointer, giving the Wizards one last chance, but Maynor's 3-point attempt over Teague was off-line, giving the Bulls the win in an exciting finish.
Gibson put together his third straight impressive preseason outing, finishing with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in 31 minutes off the bench. He saw extra run with Noah battling his injury on the sideline, and performed well inside, as the Bulls out-rebounded their opponent, 49-44. Nazr Mohammed added nine points and two rebounds in the start.
In the backcourt both Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague took advantage of their extended minutes with Rose simply getting some rest of his knee after playing in the Bulls' first two preseason games. Hinrich had eight points, five rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes, while Teague managed the team well -- outside of the beginning of the fourth quarter -- scoring four points and handing out an assist. Jimmy Butler adeded 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals to help slow down the Wizards late.
Brazilian native Nene scored five points and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes in his return to his hometown. Bradley Beal had a team-high 16 points in the loss, while Martell Webster made 3-pointers and scored 15 points of his own. John Wall struggled, making just 1-of-9 shots for 3 points, though he did add six rebounds and five assists.