The winner of the game? The team that scores the most points.
Yes, that's the kind of in-depth analysis you get from your Tribune.
And it's also a good thing for the Bulls, who defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 87-84 with free-agent Andre Barrett making the winning basket on a drive with 11.8 seconds left for a one-point lead. Two Thabo Sefolosha free throws rounded out the scoring.
Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni had 13 points each to lead the 5-1 Bulls, while Mike Miller had 23 for the 3-4 Grizzlies.
Meanwhile, what appears to be coming clear with this Bulls team of high expectations is that it lacks the best starting lineup, most famous players and biggest stars.
The starters, as they have been through much of this exhibition season, were mostly average Tuesday. It was the reserves, this time lead by P.J. Brown, who almost matched the Bulls' starters to give them the seamless look they're counting on.
It appears to be a team that will have to rely on depth of talent and extraordinary effort to overcome the usual star power of successful teams.
"I feel like already, a couple of games, we've worn teams down," coach Scott Skiles said. "How that translates to the regular season I don't know. But I've never been afraid to go to my bench and I won't be afraid this year. Not because I'm down on our starters but because that's the strength of our team."
Defense, of course, is a given for a team that led the league in defensive field goal percentage the last two seasons. And that was without Ben Wallace.
That determination slipped a bit Tuesday as the Grizzlies shot 73 percent and tied the Bulls at 27 after one quarter and still were shooting 55 percent at halftime in leading 45-43. It was a departure from the previous five games, in which the Bulls were holding teams to 84.2 points and 41.3 percent shooting, both second in the league. But the starters came back in the third quarter with a more intense effort to hold Memphis to 32 percent shooting before the benches were mostly emptied late with the Grizzlies leading 66-64 to open the fourth quarter.
The new look Tuesday was the "small" lineup Skiles used with Nocioni replacing Brown at power forward. It was a lineup, Skiles noted, that could play more to the Bulls transition game, evident in a 27-point first quarter.
Skiles said he'd take a look at that starting lineup again Wednesday in Minnesota and go to his regular season starting lineup Friday against Toronto in the final tune-up game.
"The last game probably will be who starts opening night," Skiles said.
But Skiles also added, "We have to factor into it that size still does matter in this league."
And that lack of it can lead to the foul problems the Bulls have had.
Another question was what to do with the rookies, who combined to make the play of the night: Sefolosha stole the ball at midcourt, swooped down the right side and made a behind the back bounce pass to a streaking Tyrus Thomas for a dunk.
But Sefolosha also mishandled two balls in the first eight minutes as he and Thomas lead the team in turnovers.
"You've got to be careful," said Skiles. "You can get lost in the highlights and not realize all the other things (Thomas is) not doing. He can be out there four minutes and made two unbelievable plays. We need that and we like that. But we've got to look at the overall game."
Skiles said Bulls players voted Kirk Hinrich, Wallace and Brown captains.
In a mostly technical move, the Bulls officially picked up the options of Gordon, Luol Deng and Viktor Khryapa, which officially gives the team rights to them for a fourth season.
Michael Sweetney did not play though Skiles said he was available.
Kevin Garnett has always been a big supporter of Wallace, but does acknowledge that a team doesn't have to pay much attention to Wallace on offense. "With Ben out there," Garnett told Minneapolis reporters this week, "you know you've got to keep him off the boards. But when it was swung to him, you could take, y'know, one one-thousandeth, two one-thousandeth, three one-thousandeth
Bench big boost again
Deep Bulls team wears on its opponents
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