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Bulls 109, Pacers 101: Ugly yet necessary

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Chicago 101.0 107.9 53.1% 28.4 17.9 14.9
Indiana 100.0 47.3% 15.2 24.5 15.8


Neil and Stacy's act has been an annoyance all season, but it was really starting to get distracting as Tuesday's game wore (and wore) on. The Pacers can't guard anybody, especially designated 'player to completely bash all night' (sponsored by hatorade) Mike Dunleavy, but sheesh. It entered deep in to the land of irrationality when King gave his usual "see, you can get that jump shot any time in the shot clock" when Dunleavy shot a 3-pointer while the shot clock was expiring. And that extended to the general hypocrisy of railing against a team taking a lot of jumpers when you cover a team on a nightly basis that leads the league in long 2-pointers.

But I suppose if your main complaint about a game is the announcers being too homer, that's not so bad overall. A pretty mundane game all-around, the sparse crowd reminding me of those games in New Jersey the Skiles Bulls would always lose. Behind some turn-back-the-clock (or just small a guard burning Hinrich, which happens) play by T.J. Ford, it looked like the Bulls would listlessly drop this game, but they rallied with a 28-15 advantage in the fourth.  Bulls needed to get a win in the bank before the All-Star break, and it was far more likely to come tonight than in 24 hours against Orlando. Especially without Joakim Noah.

The Bulls have really seen their usual dominance on the offensive glass plummet without him, and their usual aggressive trap-and-recover defense looks completely different when Chris Richard is out there doing what Noah usually does.

But against the Pacers, the Bulls cast of relatively unathletic wings looked downright spry. Salmons (attacked the rim!), Hinrich (3-6 from three!), and Deng (an opponent actually had to double-team him!) were able to do what they wanted, and when that happens one knows that Derrick Rose can do the same. Maybe Neil and Stacy had a point when bashing the Pacers.

In his return from suspension, Tyrus Thomas had himself a nice 28 minutes of action, shooting 4-5 with two jumpers, only one TO. Even guarded Roy Hibbert for a stint. Not that it means much, he was still on the bench in the final stretch, and that minute total was no doubt buoyed by Taj Gibson being in foul trouble to start both halves. Plus it's not like Tyrus and VDN stopped hating eachother and the Org. is ready to commit to him in the least. Still, a good night from Tyrus at least proves that even as an unsalvageable malcontent he can be of value to the active roster, rather than dumped for walking contracts or released outright.