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