Player of the game honors have to go to Taj Gibson. The yahoo boxscore currently shows 19 points on 6/12 shooting, but I think it's missing his final putback dunk. Either way, Gibson was all over the floor doing his best Joakim Noah with a jump shot impersonation out there. He played with great energy, hit the offensive glass, hit some short jumpers, and played defense at a frenetic pace all night.
I reported earlier this season that a source close to me had said Gibson would outperform James Johnson this season, well a preseason game does not make a season, but he was up to the task this game.
As great as Gibson played, Johnson struggled nearly as much. He did have a nice open court steal on Brandon Rush, and set a bone crushing pick that lead to a Lindsay Hunter three, but his good moments were few and far between. He looks good on the ball, but he's struggling to find his grove off the ball, and that may prove difficult for him to overcome, because there may not be a lot of time for him to play on the ball.
I was rooting for him to play some point forward minutes when he was on the court with Hunter, but it didn't really happen.
Luol Deng had a decent night. In 24 minutes he put up 15 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, and had 3 steals. Unfortunately, his jumper was flat all night, and he finished shooting 3/10 from the field and 9 for 9 from the free throw line. It's nice that Deng was able to get to the line to compensate for an off night shooting jumpers, and it certainly wasn't his best game, but he managed to still score 15 points while using 14 possessions, so you can't complain at all. That's nice efficiency for a guy shooting 30% from the field.
Derrick Rose still looks more like a scorer than a passer. His defense looked improved somewhat, but I want to see a few more games and watch the game film in detail before committing to defensive evaluations, because they're tougher for me to make. He suffered from the same problem as last year where he's not getting to the free throw line or shooting 3s, which means even though he shot 8/13 from the field he still only scored 17 points on 14 possessions (17 possessions if you count his 3 TOs).
Derrick again showed his clutchness by coming in and hitting a few baskets when Indy closed the lead to 2 points and quickly got the Bulls up by 6 turning the momentum back in our favor at which point Indy never challenged again.
Tyrus Thomas was shooting too many jumpers early, but came out and made a great play to open the second half only to leave with a concussion shortly later.
John Salmons had a great night offensively, but contributed little other than his scoring, of course scoring at an extremely efficient rate is a huge contribution.
Joakim Noah hit the glass hard, had three blocks to go with 10 rebounds and played solid defense. However, his offense was lacking. He started the game off with a great back to the basket move, but didn't make another shot all night.
Richard and Byars both played hard and had decent nights. Richard's hustle looked better than his box score, and Byars had a solid all around game. I doubt either did enough to make the team feel they need them, but they might stick around a little longer.