Bulls 92, Pacers 72 — FINAL
It was revenge that Derrick Rose wanted on Monday and it was revenge that was had. After stewing in his own anger since the last time these two teams met, and Rose was brought to tears over the loss, the Bulls have evened the score and then some by blowing out the Pacers in Chicago by twenty points to win their 32nd game of the year.
But it wasn’t textbook revenge by any means. The starters were abysmal for the second straight night with Rose begging held to just 13 points. Luol Deng led the way in scoring with 20 points on 5 buckets as the Bulls starters shot just 34 percent on the night.
However, even without C.J. Watson who sat out Monday’s game due to injury, the Bench Mob showed why their the most valuable and talented bench in the NBA by bailing out the starters yet again. Taj Gibson, Ronnie Brewer and John Lucas III all finished in double digit scoring totals with Lucas matching Rose’s point total to lead the way.
It was the Bench Mob that allowed the Bulls to not only stay in the game when it was a neck and neck affair through all of the first half, and it was the Bench Mob that allowed the Bulls to pull away in the second half.
“We fought our way back into the game,” Rose said. “Our energy was kind of low and shots weren’t falling. But we rebounded the ball and finished the game pretty good.”
Taj Gibson finished with 9 rebounds and Joakim Noah finished with 17 as the Bulls out rebounded Indiana 60-32 on the night.
“We had a lot more energy in the second half than we did in the first half,” Deng said.
The night wasn’t a total celebration however. A mere 83 seconds into the game, Rip Hamilton suffered yet another injury — this time a shoulder injury — that held him out of the rest of the game. Hamilton admitted to teammates he was in some serious pain as he sat on the bench.
There is not much optimism about Hamilton’s shoulder injury which could be anything from an inflamed muscle to a tear of some sort. But with the time Hamilton has already missed, his first year as a Bull is poking more and more like a wash.
It was Hamilton going down, however, that allowed Ronnie Brewer to put together another respectable night.
“Thibs always tells us to be ready because you never know when you’re time is going to come,” Brewer said. “Whenever we come in, we have to try to bring energy and change the game one way or another.”
But despite the injury cloud never seeming to want to move way from Chicago, the Bulls can relish in their victory, an NBA best 32nd victory. The Bulls also further distanced themselves from Indiana who would be the perfect team to seize an opportunity at the hands of all the Chicago injuries.
“They’re a good team,” Rose said. “The last time we played them, they beat us here. Now we just have to deal with them. They put up a fight every time we play them. We’re used to. I think it makes us better as a team.”
Luol Deng summed up not only the feeling of the Bulls after the win but the atmosphere that was electrifying the United Center during the game.
“You don’t want to lose to a team twice in a row,” Deng said. “Especially a team that we might face in the playoffs.”