The Indiana Pacers struggled as they went without leader, Danny Granger, against the tough Chicago Bulls as they dropped their second straight in a 92-73 beating. The Bulls struggled towards the start of the season, but are now on a run and showing the NBA that they are team they are slowly setting out to be. If Granger was in this game, this would be a lot more of a contest. I respect Paul George, but the guy hasn’t played for nine games and, yes, he is still a rookie learning about the league while going up against an experienced veteran in Luol Deng.
Derrick Rose played great, exploding for 17 points and twelve assists while the crowd cheered MVP. The game was close, but a 10-0 run help sparked the victory. I’ll tell you right here, right now: if Granger was in fact in this game, the Pacers could have one. Granger would have brought the Pacers back into this one. But it was the Bulls way and they now improve to 15-8. Indiana drops to 11-12, but if the season ended right now, they’d be in a playoff-spot.
A scary moment happened in the game as Rose went for a lay-up, but Brandon Rush tried to stop him. Rose flew into the air and fell down hard. It was a creepy moment, as Rose injured his wrist. But he recovered after a few minutes to put Chicago up 85-71.
“He slid in my way. If anything, next time I’ll be careful and learn from my mistakes. Especially with that team,” Rose said. “Mind over matter. You want to go out there and play through it.”
Rose did not enjoy any part of that play at all, whatsoever.
“I thought it was going to be worse than it was,” Rose said.
Rose played well, but it was Carlos Boozer that truly was on top of his game tonight, having 22 points and 18 rebounds along with four assist and a steal. Solid performance as the power forward beat down the weakest position for the Pacers, which is obviously power forward.
“I thought [Boozer's] reaction to the ball was really good tonight,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You can really see his timing coming back.
“I thought we came out ready to play,” he said. “They played well. Down [injured Pacers forward Danny] Granger, they really competed.”
Rush and T.J. Ford each added 13 points for the Pacers, but it wasn’t enough as Indiana drops to slightly under .500.
“It’s tough,” Ford said. “You get off to a slow start like we did and you put yourself in a hole. We played pretty hard. It just took too much energy when it got down to winning time down the stretch.”
Granger, who leads the team with 21 points per game, was out with a sprained ankle. Hopefully, he’ll be available against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, at home. The Bulls have been playing solid defensively, holding their latest opponents to under 85 points a game.
“They’re a really good defensive team,” Indiana guard Mike Dunleavy, who led the team with twelve points and eight rebounds, said. “[They're] well coached. We already knew that coming in. But we didn’t help the situation by missing a lot of open 3′s in the second half.”
Let’s hope Indiana can get the Lakers again. They beat them at Staples Center earlier this year, 95-92. Let’s see if they get another win, with an advantage, too, as they are at home.
And hopefully, things don’t turn out like they did last night with Chi-Town.
“They run that pick-and-roll and find a way to get an open shot,” Rush said. “They had us on the run all night.”
And being on the run is something to look out for against L.A.