The Chicago Bulls won a preseason game against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, and in the process may have offered glimpse into what the regular season rotation will look like when things get going for real one week from tonight against the Cavs.
Behind 22 points from Aaron Brooks and some hot shooting from Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls blasted the Pacers 103-94 at the United Center. The Bulls were on fire from three-point range all night, finishing the game with 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) from deep. Mirotic led the way by making four of his six attempts from three.
Fred Hoiberg went with a starting front court of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic next to Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell and Kirk Hinrich. That could be the opening day starting lineup if Derrick Rose misses the beginning of the season.
The Bulls were out-scored 34-24 in the first quarter (perhaps no surprise with Pau and Niko starting), but woke up in the second by ending that period with a 24-11 advantage. The Bulls held Indiana to just 38.4 percent shooting on the night.
So: while nothing is official yet, it looks like Gasol and Mirotic will start with Noah and Gibson backing them up. Hoiberg was consistent with those pairings through the game..
Bulls' big man pairings so far tonight, with 7:16 left in 2Q: Gasol-Mirotic Noah-Mirotic Noah-Gibson Gasol-Gibson (No Gasol-Noah yet)— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) October 21, 2015
Also interesting: Bobby Portis didn't play a minute. That's a bit of a bummer given how well he's been playing, but his time will come eventually. For now, his opportunities may be limited at the start of the season.
Go to the tweets? Go to the tweets.
Strong stint for Noah, replaced by Gasol. 5 points, 4 boards in 8 active minutes.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 21, 2015
Taj Gibson ambitiously trying to dunk everything is always a good sign for #Bulls b/c it means his ankles are feeling better.— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) October 21, 2015
Mirotic so much less hesitant to shoot than he was last year.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) October 21, 2015
Good thing Jimmy removed that rearview mirror so that he doesn't have to look back on Paul George working him tonight.— Nillz (@TheBullsShow) October 21, 2015
Niko 6/11 from 3 the last 2 games heyoooooo— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) October 21, 2015
(He ended 7-of-12)
I'll give Nillz the last word.
#Bulls actually tried & won tonight. Bring on the regular season.— Nillz (@TheBullsShow) October 21, 2015
Let's do it.