Well, that escalated quickly. In what didn't feel like a normal preseason game, both the Bulls and Pacers had their starters in (including Derrick Rose) for the final stretch. And the Bulls capped a second-half comeback with a 103-98 win.
And if that was sort of a playoff-simulation, it shows why the Bulls have to feel pretty good about their chances against Indiana. They have Derrick Rose. He dominated the ball like superstars do in the 4th quarter, and like old times it at least guaranteed a good possession.
Rose was phenomenal throughout: 32 pts on 15 shots, 9 asts, 4 rebs in 31 mins. 4-7 3ptrs and 10-13 FTs. Just looked great.
Luol Deng finished with 22 points on 14 shots and had a clutch 4th quarter basket of his own.
This was fun. The Pacers came to play, and the Bulls followed suit. It was delightfully chippy out there. And I'd say nobody got hurt, but Hinrich smacked his head against Erik Murphy's knee (and earlier Murphy hit Taj's) and looked concussion-y as he left to the locker room. Luol Deng bumped knees early in the first half but returned played 31 minutes. Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler sat out, the former out for at least a week.
But Rose was certainly pushed, and not only didn't look bad he responded extremely well. That's as important of a takeaway as you can make at this time of year.