As I said in my earlier blog, the Bulls wanted nothing more than to get a win tonight against the Pacers as revenge for what happened the last time these 2 teams met. Well, that’s exactly what they did.
The Bulls cruised to a 92-72 win tonight over Indiana in what seemed to be a statement game for the Bulls. With Indiana entering the game on a 6-game winning streak, the Bulls wanted to make sure that they made it clear who the top team is in the Central Division. After a bit of a sloppy first half for the Bulls, they were able to take over in the second half and blow out the Pacers by 20 points. Luol Deng led the way for the Bulls with 20 points, while Joakim Noah added 9 points and 17 rebounds. In what I thought might be one of Derrick Rose’s best games of the year, he only managed to score 13 points, but did add 9 assists. With that said, Rose did sit the entire 4th quarter. His replacement, John Lucas, finished off the game with 13 important points off the bench.
This was the Bulls’ 7th win in a row, and their second in as many nights. The Bulls are on a tear right now and are showing no signs of slowing down. They lead the entire NBA with 32 wins, and are ahead of the Heat by 2.5 games for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls next 8 games, however, are not going to be easy ones. In those 8 games, they play the Magic twice (March 8th and 19th), the Knicks (March 12th), the Heat (March 14th), the Trail Blazers (March 16th), and the 76ers (March 17th). This will be a tough stretch for the Bulls, and it will also tell us a lot more about what areas of their game they need to work on when playing some of the top teams in the league (specifically Miami).
As a side note, Richard Hamilton left tonight’s game early in the first quarter with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. The Bulls need him to stay healthy from here on out, especially during the playoffs.