In a Friday night game at the United Center, the Chicago Bulls earned a 103-98 win over the Indiana Pacers to remain undefeated in preseason. While the game ended up being a close one in the end, Derrick Rose was there to help solidify the victory.
As reported prior to the match-up, Joakim Noah sat out with a lingering groin injury and will be inactive for at least a week. Jimmy Butler was a gametime decision with tendinitis in his knee, and he ended up sitting out as well. With that being said, Mike Dunleavy and Nazr Mohammed replaced Butler and Noah in the starting lineup, respectively. Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer started the game as expected.
With the dominance Rose brings to the hardwood, Chicago was able to get out to an early 19-13 a little over halfway through the first quarter. Rose not only scored in various ways, but he also made sure to get his teammates their fair share of shots as well. His seven point, two assist performance early on forced Indiana to call a timeout.
Once the Pacers were able to regroup with that break, they went on a 16-0 run that lingered on throughout the period. It wasn’t until Taj Gibson hit a jumper from the right elbow that broke Indiana’s scoring streak. The offensive struggles continued as the second quarter came. There was improvement once Rose came back in for the Bulls though.
Chicago’s deficit was cut down to two, 33-31, when Rose found Kirk Hinrich for the left baseline three, but afterwards, Indiana went on a 5-0 run. The Bulls just weren’t able to catch up to their opponents once halftime came around, as the Pacers were up 50-43, and no wonder they couldn’t do so. While Indiana shot 57.6% from the field in the first half, Chicago shot a horrid 34.2%.
However, Rose was there to save his team from losing. He scored 11 points in the third quarter while dishing some assists in between. While his play wasn’t quite enough to get the Bulls the lead, it was close enough for the bench to complete the task. Marquis Teague showed his aggression in his second half play by attacking the rim, getting a few easy layups, drawing fouls, and dishing out assists.
The Pacers were able to come back from a six-point deficit and tie the game at 90. Head coach Tom Thibodeau ended up placing all of his starters back into the game to guarantee the win for his squad. By making free throws, the Bulls ensured their victory.
Rose posted a near double-double of 32 points (9-15 FG, 4-7 3 PT, 10-13 FT) and nine assists as well as four rebounds in 31 minutes of play. Deng followed up with 22 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Taj Gibson continued to shine in exhibition play with 13 points, five assists, and one block.
Hinrich left the game about halfway through the final period after hitting the back of his head on the knees of rookie Erik Murphy. This came after a drive to the hoop and a layup attempt. Deng also hurt his knee during the first half of the game, but ended up returning from it.
The Bulls are now 5-0 for preseason, and will be back to play on Monday, Oct. 21, when they face the visiting Milwaukee Bucks at 7 p.m. CT.