Outside of the first 4 minutes of the game, where the Bulls had 4 turnovers on 6 possessions leading to an angry Thibs timeout, the opening night of the 2014-15 season was all Chicago. Initially spurred by a bench run and stretched to a 24-point lead to end the 3rd quarter, the Bulls wound up winning this more than comfortably and a 104-80 final score.
Nearly everyone played great! The damage was started by Taj Gibson and Aaron Brooks leading a bench that shot a combined 13-17 from the field (the starters were 6-23). Thibodeau went 10-deep with his rotation in the first half, and it paid off against a pretty sorry Knicks reserve unit. Doug McDermott also looked solid (half in garbage time, but half not, finishing with 12 points on 9 shots) as the Bulls bench looked a lot better overall than they did in the preseason.
In the 3rd quarter that entire roster kept the good times going with a blistering performance, shooting 10-14 as a team for 31 points. The Bulls were scoring with ease from everywhere on the court in that period, whether it was Hinrich waking up from 3, to Rose hitting a couple mid-range shots to some easy dunks from Gasol. The 4th quarter saw both teams keep their starters off the court as the Bulls got to enjoy what hopefully will be the first of several laughers against the bottom of the East.
One very nice benefit to the final margin was that both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah received even more rest than prescribed, as both finished with around 20 minutes on the night. Rose looked pretty good in his regular-season return, starting the game 1-6 (with his 3-point attempts looking way off) and getting beat a couple times defensively but being able to get to any spot he wanted on the floor and hitting 7 of 8 FTs in the first half. Pau Gasol was the Bulls best starter in his Bulls debut, as though he had bizarre difficultly holding onto the ball to start the game but wound up with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Gibson wound up the leading scorer, playing brilliantly on both ends and finishing with 22 points on 10-12 shooting. Him, Noah, and Gasol were way too much for the Knicks frontcourt to handle offensively and defensively.
A special mention should be made to Mike Dunleavy, who was scoreless but did a more than admirable job on Carmelo Anthony in place of the injured Jimmy Butler. Anthony looked to have a very favorable matchup in this game, but was held to 5-13 shooting for a quiet and quick-ending night. His team is not very good, to the point where it's almost tough to glean too much from this going forward, but for an opener it was a fantastic performance and a great showcase of nearly everybody on the Bulls roster, with the type of offensive execution that we've simply not been used to seeing.