Bulls beat Pacers 104-95 in preseason game #1

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.

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  • I loved the way Taj played but we have to remember that TT went out early and Miller didnt play at all.

    Also, JJ is more than likely going to play some 3 behind Deng so where is Taj's minutes going to come from? Are we gonna take them from TT or Miller.

    Im sure if he plays like this all year he will get time but not alot and probably not consistent.

    JJ is still the golden child and hopefully our PF of the future so he must blossom sooner or later.

  • Hoorah for Gibson. There is nothing wrong with Rose being more of a scorer than a passer, especially on this team, and especially with everyone worried about the loss of Gordon's scoring.

    I would like to see Rose become a 20ppg scorer this season, while improving his defense. Rose, Salmons, and Deng averaging 18-20 ppg more than makes up for any loss of scoring from Gordon.

    I like seeing Deng get 9 free throws, not a normal part of his game, but shows good aggressiveness, not just settling for jump shots. per 36 tonight works out to 22.5ppg, 7.5 rpg and 4.5apg, anybody not doing cartwheels over that this season, while forgetting about Gordon vs Deng argument to boot.

  • That is exactly my concern. He is sort of the stop the ball player since he isnt used to catching it in motion and going. Is it something he has to do. Yes. Is is something he can do, only time will tell. And Deng will probably be backup up by Johnson so he can get minutes there but will he be useful in them. I have a few concerns after game 1 but we will see how it comes together on tues when we play the Jazz.

    And you say one of them will get minutes. Who deserves them and who we should be giving them to as of now are two different people. And plus how many minutes will be available then. I guess it depends on the situation and matchups but still the concern remains.

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