Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers: Live Reaction, Analysis and Highlights
Derrick Rose started and played 20 minutes in his preseason debut, an 82-76 win over the host Indiana Pacers.
After 18 months off, Rose looked like the same aggressive, fearless player he was before his injury. He pushed the pace on the break and attacked Roy Hibbert in the lane, finishing with 13 points, three assists and two rebounds on 5-of-12 shooting.
The stats don't really matter, though. What does matter is that Rose played without any reservations.
Strange as it seems, there were actually other players in this contest. Paul George and David West led the Pacers with 14 points apiece, while Hibbert piled up 11 points and nine boards in 27 minutes. Indiana actually had a solid lead heading into the final period, but a 24-12 quarter by the Bulls swung the game in Chicago's favor.
The overall sloppiness was typical of a preseason opener, as the two teams combined for 38 turnovers. Neither club managed to shoot it particularly well either, with Chicago hitting 37.8 percent of its shots against Indiana's 32.9 percent accuracy rate.
Despite the miscues, this game featured an intensity level that was noticeably out of place in an exhibition game. Both squads seemed to understand that the Eastern Conference is going to be a dog fight this year They sought to show one another that there'd be no backing down—even at this early juncture.
Final Score: Bulls 82, Pacers 76
Were You Expecting Something Else?
The first postgame storyline has to be Rose's return.
The Bulls point guard was somewhat tentative at first, clearly looking to ease his way back into the game. But when he missed his first field-goal attempt in the opening period, Rose pogo-sticked right back up into the air to corral the rebound and put the ball back up for two.
That play showed right away that he had all of the bounce and aggression that defined him before his injury.
From there, Rose pushed the tempo and finished a handful of lightning-speed layups in traffic. He didn't show off the jumper he raved about during the summer, but I'm sure Chicago fans will be happy with the outcome.
Rose looks completely recovered, so the rest of the NBA had better get ready for a seriously dangerous Bulls team.
Paul George Cares
It would have been easy for Paul George to shrug off an ugly, two-point first half. But part of the reason the Pacers paid him $90 million dollars a couple of weeks ago was because he's not the kind of guy who takes to failure easily.
George came out in the second half with a purpose, burying jumpers and assuming a clear leadership role.
He eventually fouled out in the final period, but he did more than enough in his 18 minutes to show the Pacers that there's no danger of him coasting with his new max-salary contract.
It was only one game, but Taj Gibson looked fantastic.
The reserve forward led all scorers with 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting. For good measure, he also snatched a game-high 12 rebounds.
His mid-range jumper looked particularly good, both off the dribble and out of the pick-and-pop. If he's got that shot ironed out, Gibson could really give the Bulls a new offensive dimension.
Floor spacing is always at a premium in the NBA, and if the Bulls can use Gibson to pull opposing power forwards—or even the occasional center in smaller lineups—away from the bucket, life will get much easier for Rose, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler.
Gibson talked all summer about how he'd improved his outside shot, so his showing tonight could be more than an anomaly. The Bulls are certainly hoping that's the case.
Final Scores: Bulls 82, Pacers 76
Rose: 13 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds
Gibson: 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks
Deng: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
George: 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
West: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Hibbert: 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks
Final Score: Bulls 82, Pacers 76
Chicago takes it by six. Rose looked good, George showed up in the second half and, as Rasheed Wallace would say, both teams played hard.
Bulls 82, Pacers 76—Final Score
On to the floor for the final 3mins: Donald Sloan, Orlando Johnson, Solomon Hill, Chris Copeland and Hilton Armstrong.— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) October 6, 2013
Also on the floor: the towel that Frank Vogel just threw in.
Bulls 82, Pacers 74—:25 remaining in 4th quarter
Chris Copeland wasting no time getting those 3's up.— Christopher Cason (@C4DUNK) October 6, 2013
So, Chris Copeland checks in and fires off three triples in 40 seconds. He didn't make any of them, but that's a pretty good pace.
Bulls 82, Pacers 72—1:25 remaining in 4th quarter
Taj Gibson has been terrific. He's got 16 points and 11 boards. Best of all, his jumper's been looking very slick. If he can help create even more spacing for Chicago's offense, it could make a huge difference this year.
There'll be more driving lanes for Rose, more openings for Noah to facilitate from the elbows and less congestion for Boozer on the block.
Bulls 80, Pacers 72—2:32 remaining in 4th quarter
Would love to know the last time an All-Star fouled out of the next year's preseason opener.— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) October 6, 2013
Fantastic question. Paul George might have just made history.
Bulls 80, Pacers 72—2:58 remaining in 4th quarter
Paul George fouls out and points to the videoboard in disbelief. It's preseason, man...— Mike McGraw (@McGrawDHBulls) October 6, 2013
Gotta love the intensity, though.
Paul George just fouled out, finishing with 14 points.
Also, what in the name of Larry Bird was Paul George doing on the floor during the fourth quarter of a preseason game?
Wait a minute! Indy's entire starting lineup is in the game. Is Tom Thibodeau coaching the Pacers now, too? What's going on?
Bulls 78, Pacers 70—3:21 remaining in 4th quarter
It's tough being a rookie sometimes. Solomon Hill didn't quite have the lift he needed to put this one down.
I'm sure the Pacers' veterans won't haze him mercilessly for this.
Bulls 76, Pacers 70—3:41 remaining in 4th quarter
Erik Murphy with his bucket as a pro. A corner three.— Christopher Cason (@C4DUNK) October 6, 2013
The Bulls' offensive evolution continues.
Bulls 73, Pacers 68—4:45 remaining in 4th quarter
B/R's own Howard Beck is in the house in Indiana. He sums up a pretty darn good night for D-Rose.
Marquis Teague, Indiana native, is finally getting his first playing time. Good thing, too; he probably had to spring for a lot of extra tickets.
Bulls 70, Pacers 67—5:16 remaining in 4th quarter
That's a nice look from Granger to Mahinmi there. Not a pass he usually makes.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) October 6, 2013
Maybe he's morphing into a facilitator in the second phase of his career. As bad as Watson has looked, Granger might be the guy who'll have to distribute on the second unit.
Bulls 70, Pacers 65—6:10 remaining in 4th quarter
Chicago has outworked Indiana tonight. All of the little "hustle" stats favor the Bulls.
Chicago has 17 more rebounds, 13 more free-throw attempts and seven more offensive boards.
Oddly, the Pacers are winning the turnover battle after struggling mightily with giveaways last year. Indy has coughed it up 14 times, while the Bulls have 21 turnovers.
Bulls 68, Pacers 65—7:32 remaining in 4th quarter
I passed off Taj talking about that baseline J being back as training camp talk. It looks realllllly good. Importan shot for Chicago.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) October 6, 2013
Great find by rookie Tony Snell to set Gibson up for that very shot. Chicago is going to be deep either way, but if Snell can give it a few minutes per game, Thibodeau might have something like a 10-man rotation to work out.
Bulls 64, Pacers 64—9:29 remaining in 4th quarter
Pacers and Bulls fan arguing in stands. It's only preseason, folks.— Christopher Cason (@C4DUNK) October 6, 2013
Yeah, but these teams are playing like they really care. Tie ball game, folks.
Bulls 64, Pacers 64—9:59 remaining in 4th quarter
Beautiful give-and-go between Hinrich and Gibson nets the point guard an open floater to pull Chicago to within a bucket.
That's some pretty offense for a gritty, blue-collar club like the Bulls. Is there a new dimension in Chicago this year?
Pacers 64, Bulls 62—10:15 remaining in 4th quarter
Rose: 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Deng: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
Butler: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists
George: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
West: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Hibbert: 11 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks
Pacers 64, Bulls 58—start of 4th quarter
OH MY GOD IT IS EXCITING TO HAVE LIVE NBA (preseason) BASKETBALL HAPPENING FINALLY.— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) October 6, 2013
Butler hasn't shot the ball well at all tonight, hitting just one of his four attempts from the field. But he's now 9-of-12 from the foul line.
It's impressive that a player his age has already figured out how to work himself to the line so consistently.
Unrelated: Mike Dunleavy just slipped a perfect pocket pass to Gibson for an easy dunk. The Bulls wings are playing very well.
Pacers 64, Bulls 58—1:12 remaining in 3rd quarter
General observation: This feels like a preseason game in some ways—the mistakes, poor shooting and low score—but not in terms of intensity.
These teams know they'll have to get through one another in pursuit of a ring this year. They're playing hard and both clearly want to win. It's refreshing.
Still, we could see both coaches pull their rotation players in the fourth quarter.
Pacers 62, Bulls 54—2:21 remaining in 3rd quarter
George hits another jumper, giving him three in a row. Suddenly, he's got 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Clearly, he read my halftime criticisms and took them personally.
Pacers 60, Bulls 50—4:18 remaining in 3rd quarter
For those asking, there's nothing wrong with Copeland. Coach's decision not to play him in the first half.— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) October 6, 2013
It's a little curious that Chris Copeland hasn't gotten off the bench yet. There's no word of an injury.
I guess it's probably not wise to question the Pacers' rotation now that they're up by eight.
Pacers 58, Bulls 50—5:04 remaining in 3rd quarter
Indy is packing the paint and hoping Hinrich and Butler will shoot from the outside. No more easy post-entry passes on one end and a deep three by George on the other has the Pacers up by eight.
Derrick Rose's plus-minus is looking better by the second.
Pacers 58, Bulls 50—5:16 remaining in 3rd quarter
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