CHICAGO — Tonights game against the Indiana Pacers may not have been a match-up against a powerhouse, but it was an extremely meaningful game nonetheless. The Bulls came into the game 14-8 and sat 3 games ahead of the Pacers in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference. They Bulls are in the middle of a three game pudding fest, thats to say the Timberwolves, Pacers, and Clippers are not the Laker, Celtics or Magic. This little stretch presents itself as a very convenient opportunity for the Bulls to pad their record and their lead in the Central, especially when one you play the team right below you.
The Pacers came into this game with something to play for, regardless of how good they are. That is a little thing we call motivation and the Bulls should take note. You don’t see any specials on ESPN where SportsCenter is broadcasting live from Pacers Training Camp. T.J Ford isn’t on the cover of Sports Illustrated and stores aren’t running out of Pacers jerseys. Yet, that very same team that isn’t in the national spotlight came into Chicago and showed the Bulls how to play basketball in the first half. Its just further proof that you can’t write anyone off until the season is all said and done. The Bulls paid attention to the Pacers first half lesson and pulled away with the game in the second half much with the help of one Carlos Boozer.
Carlos Boozer had another great game highlighted by the fact he got his second Double-Double as a Bull. Actually to call Boozer‘s game simply great is a large understatement as well as a disservice to his performance. Boozer finished the game with 22 points and 18 rebounds. This is definitely what Bulls fans want to see, Boozer on fire and even that is an understatement. Derrick Rose decided to take the entire 3rd quarter off but as usual he came through in the fourth quarter. Not that the Bulls needed it though as the Bulls didn’t trail once in the fourth. Rose finished the day with 17 points and 11 assists, giving him too a double double. It’s yet another game where both Boozer and Rose were on their A game and the results again showed in the outcome of the game. However we will have to wait and see the extent of Rose’s wrist injury. It appears to be more of a scare than an actual injury. Luol Deng had another game to be proud of as he is consistently complimenting the one-two punch of Rose and Boozer. Deng finished with 15 points in a 36 minute performance. Joakim Noah manged only 5 rebounds which is terrible for him, but salvaged a little bit of his night by scoring 12 points. Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewster all came off the bench to score 5-plus points. Brewster had the best night off the bench with an point, 4 assist performance. “I think Ronnie played really well.” said Coach Thibodeau. “Our rebounding has been consistent all year long, our defense is getting better. We want to play with pace.”
The Bulls are now 14-8 and have a 4 game lead in the Central Division and will travel to Los Angeles to play the other LA team, the Clippers. The Pacers shot just 35.7% from the field tonight which makes it the second straight game the Bulls have held an opponent under 36% shooting. It was definitely a win that the Bulls can be proud of based on the fact Indiana is a divisional opponent. The highlight of the game has to be the explosion of Carlos Boozer and the smiles it puts on Bulls fans faces to imagine the damage Boozer and Rose catch fire over a long period of time.