Bulls 95, Pacers 86 — FINAL
The Bulls battled hard in their preseason opener and really started the gear moving for what will be an insanely intense shortened season. Tonight saw an old favorite, a new face and more of the same from a certain someone in the win. Tonight’s game balls go to:
OFFENSE — C.J. Watson (15pts/4reb/1ast) — Not the certain someone you were thinking of? Watson scored almost as many points as Derrick Rose scored in twenty six minutes, in just twenty two minutes. Watson showed what he was trying to prove last year: that he’s the leader of this bench mob. There are flashier names like Gibson, Asik, and Korver but Watson is the silent leader. He also proved that should Derrick Rose go down or miss time that he can pick it right up and lead this team.
DEFENSE — Taj Gibson (12pts/9reb/2blks) — Gibson is one of the flashy names that come off the bench and produce. He was a big time replacement for Joakim Noah when he missed time and his production will be needed more then ever when it comes to this shortened season and the deep rotations. Gibson not only rebounded like Noah does, he scored too which is everything you look for in a rebounder. He was picking up missed shots and doing something with them and that’s going to be very valuable down the stretch when this team gets tired and the shooting lags.
PIPPEN AIN’T EASY GAME BALL — Jimmy Butler (8pts/1ast/1reb/1stl) — The rookie showed up in his debut game hitting all three of his shots and even getting a steal. Butler was expected to come right in and produce as though he’s been here and that is precisely what he did. Having Butler ready to go really takes a lot of stress off the Bulls who will already be tested to their limits with the schedule. Butler proved he can handle riding without training wheels an is ready for more action. How he does in the second preseason game will better help us gauge his abilities but the feeling is if featured heavily against the Lakers opening day it’ll seem like Butler was always here. For that Jimmy Butler is the Pippen Ain’t Easy Player of the Game.