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Bulls 104, Pacers 95

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The Pacers are banged-up almost to a comedic level at this point, so I'm not sure what we can take from this win. As I've said, no moment of 'embarrassment' will get the Bulls to do anything (though Gar did speak Tuesday pre-game, saying nothing conclusive, but at least he appeared), and VDN's always been correct that he has a 'good group of guys' who can avoid 10-game losing streaks or many home losses to truly awful teams like what the Pacers put out there.

I do owe VDN some kudos for keeping Tyrus' minutes above Taj's, and playing Tyrus much of the 4th, and maybe Taj will make this case for him every night by continuing to be a fouling (and gesticulating after fouling) machine. I missed the New Orleans game, so it was my first morsel of Tyrus-watching in months. And I thoroughly enjoyed it, to the point where I would've guessed he shot way better than the 2-10 box score indicates. He also had 13 defensive rebounds and 15 total, and was credited for 3 blocks but my Tyrus-high made it seem like more.

(But while I'm enjoying this while it happens, I think I've finally moved on. I realize that even if the Bulls somehow after 4 seasons recognize what they have in Thomas, they'll never agree to his financial worth in a multi-year deal. Tyrus' success is just a sideshow in a mostly pointless season when it comes to long-term goals, though if he plays like this for 2 straight months maybe they can move him at the deadline for something meaningful. I'd think being a starter would help that value too...)

I am also digging not opening games with John Salmons ready to suck the life out of my television, and though VDN chooses to oddly use the word 'thrust' when describing the difference in Kirk Hinrich's game, I think it could just be satisfied by saying that unlike Salmons, and though he also stinks, Hinrich at least isn't a transition-killing ball-stopper. I don't think either is better or worse off the bench or starting (really, EVERY time Hinrich moves to or from the bench, we hear how he's more comfortable), but the team does look better when Hinrich plays. They both shot well tonight (and even from three, going 5-8), which hopefully keeps those roles solidified, both to start games better but also keeping the small (Rose/Hinrich/Salmons/Deng + big) lineup to a minimum. Though that was likely the best unit at the time, both Salmons' suckage and the return of Thomas makes it now unnecessary.

Also liked seeing Derrick Rose draw contact and get to the lane 8 times, and whatever the teams struggles have been the past few weeks, at least Rose is playing better. To really address his weakness they still need to get him a coach, and the weird thing about the Bulls is that I can say this win over a depleted Pacers team (who did make things close in the middle quarters, but you can only rely on a nice stint from Roy Hibbert and Josh McRoberts for so long) shouldn't change their minds about firing Vinny...but they likely haven't changed their minds, they've decided to fire him and will fire him. Kudos to a team knowing they're playing for a dead man not to join the zombie ranks on the court.