With no Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson filled in quite admirably tonight to lead the Bulls to win in the preseason finale. Nate had 23 points (6-8 from the line), with 8 assists and only a single turnover. He's been looking like an offseason bargain The team played well in general, and were in control nearly the entire game. Even the late-game questions as to the closer were rendered moot by Robinson and the Pacers, who went completely cold in the last 5 minutes after they had come within single-digits.
Until that point, the Bulls really dominated in both forcing loose balls and then getting to them. The Bulls had 8 steals as a part of Indiana's 15 turnovers, and both Nate and his teammates (like all players) are better when they can run against a backtracking defense. The Bulls also had an offensive rebounding rate of 31%, and it was like old times seeing things like Taj Gibson completely outplay Tyler Hansbrough for those balls.
It's still just preseason, but outside of injuries to both teams starting PGs, this was looking like a regular season rotation. The Bulls turned in a fairly good performance, and combining that with a soft early schedule at least has the first week or so of the season looking not so bad.
Even preseason pariah Marco Belinelli did something positive, going 3-5 including two total bail-out shots. I guess I'll take it. I'm not feeling so much the barrage of anecdotes from the beat writers telling me how much the Bulls like Marquis Teague in practice. If his play was any indication, that's sounding more like spin helping us to cope with Hinrich being out to start the season. But if he's indeed back, the Bulls 'core' is at least calming some fears heading into the real games.