In one of the more anticipated games of this early 2013 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers squared off for their second meeting of the year on Saturday night. Derrick Rose returned from injury and the Pacers were undefeated at a 9-0 record — the first team to do so since 2002.
The Bulls got off to a quick start and led by 11 after the first quarter. In the second, they continued their domination and cruised to a 25-point halftime lead. By game’s end, the Bulls wound up trouncing Indiana 110-94.
How did they do it?
First and foremost, the Bulls played incredible team basketball, leading to an efficient night from the field. Chicago shot over 50 percent from the floor for the game and seven players ended up in double figures. Luol Deng and Rose led the way, scoring 23 and 20 respectively.
Carlos Boozer scored 13, Jimmy Butler had 10, and Taj Gibson came off the bench for 15. Backup point guard Kirk Hinrich finished with 13 points and newcomer Mike Dunleavy Jr. poured in 10. It was an all-around beautiful effort from Tom Thibodeau’s squad.
Aside from the great decision-making from the Bulls on offense, they managed to lock down early MVP candidate Paul George who finished with his lowest point total of the season at just 12 on the night. George shot 3-for-14 in this one.
On a side note, Rose looked great in his first game back from a minor injury. He played his most efficient game of the year as he dished out four assists, grabbed three rebounds, added a steal and did not turn over the ball once. Rose shot 7-for-16 from the floor and looked aggressive from the get-go.
One of the best moments of the game for Rose was just before halftime as he pulled up right in front of the arc, nailing a three pointer in the face of George. You could tell his confidence was back and that the Bulls are in for an improved point guard as the season goes on.
The win gives Chicago all the confidence they need going forward. From this point on, knowing they ended the Pacers’ streak to start the season should bring back that mentality that with a healthy team, they can beat anybody on any given night. Thibodeau is one of the best in the business and with this team bought in and playing well together, the Bulls will be tough to beat down the stretch.