Thoughts on Bulls vs Pacers, preseason game one and the return

When was the last time you were this excited about a preseason game? Derrick Rose is back, the Bulls are back, and they're ready for a big season. Joakim Noah missed the game which isn't the best sign for the start of the preseason but probably isn't worth worrying over.

The first quarter action

Derrick Rose didn't start off with a bang. He didn't take the Pacers to the hole the first time he touched the ball but just passed it around. For Bulls fans just waiting to see what Rose would do, it was a surprisingly frustrating few minutes until he drove into Roy Hibbert's chest missed the shot, but quicked jumped for a rebound which he caught and shot in mid air for the put back.

Rose took had another hard drive a few players later where David West got away with a big foul across the wrist causing Rose to miss a shot and attempted to take a charge where he didn't get the call but probably should have.

Rose was the first and only started pulled in the Bulls first minutes shift, but they came back and grabbed everyone else shortly afterwards. Overall, the first stint was a success.

Jimmy Butler looked active and athletic getting to the free throw line multiple times early while Luol Deng took plenty of shots to pedestrian success. Carlos Boozer felt like he wasn't there, and Nazr Mohammed kicked things off with scoring five points but looked completely helpless on defense against Roy Hibbert.

The bench started off strong with multiple quality plays by Dunleavy, Gibson, and Hinrich in the first quarter. Dunleavy had a nice pass to Gibson for a dunk, Hinrich created a nice jumper for a score, and everyone made some nice hustle plays.

Things started to cool off in the second

The momentum the Bulls had towards the end of the first ended pretty quickly in the second quarter. The Bulls struggled to get anything going on offense from the bench which is certainly one of the concerns for during the season.

After three and a half minutes of pure ineptitude, the Bulls brought Derrick Rose back into the game and played him with four bench players. On the Bulls second offensive possession, Rose beat the Pacers down the court for an acrobatic lay in on a fast break. Derrick then turned the ball over on consecutive possessions while also getting beaten off the dribble by C.J. Watson, not his best stretch.

A play later, the Bulls brought in the rest of the starters where Derrick Rose then went MVP on the Pacers driving through the lane repeatedly for shots. Rose looked athletic, confident, and not scared of contact at all. In short, he looked like the old Derrick Rose.

The Bulls built up a six point lead over this stretch from a deficit, and Luol Deng knocked down the first three pointer of the night for Chicago. The Bulls finished off the quarter with plenty of energy, Rose repeatedly made athletic plays and played faster and faster as the night wore on.

If there was one negative of the first half, the half court offense was pretty much abysmal. Chicago did most of its damage in the fast break with Derrick Rose the heart of much of that. Otherwise, the Bulls struggled to shoot.

An ugly 3rd

Derrick Rose continued to attack, but the Bulls lack of shooting made them look fairly awful for most of the quarter. Six minutes into the period, the Bulls had just two field goals and had turned their half time lead into a deficit.

Chicago struggled with turnovers, shooting, and the confidence to even attempt shots throughout the period. The Bulls tried to attack, but the Pacers just dared anyone to shoot from the outside and no one would. Rose, Butler, and Deng all passed up on open three point looks multiple times rather than to try to break the zone, a trend which hopefully won't continue.

Bulls scrap and claw their way to victory

It wasn't particularly pretty, but the Bulls deep bench crushed the Pacers even when they attempted to throw their starters in at the end of the game to grab the victory. Paul George fouled out almost immediately, and the Bulls pulled away.

One interesting facet for Bulls fans is that Marquis Teague didn't see the floor until the fourth quarter for six minutes. He knocked down a three, his only shot of the game, and played fine, however he doesn't look like he's in the rotation to me. This goes along with Thibodeau's quote when I asked him about the bench in media day, only Hinrich, Gibson, Nazr, and Dunleavy were mentioned.

Some player thoughts

Derrick Rose may have plenty to prove in terms of overall ability, but his knee looked really good. I think the number one concern about Rose was whether he'd have the explosiveness he used to have, but he did plenty to show that he's still an explosive high flying player in this game. He took plenty of hard contact and played strong all night.

If you wanted to be concerned about Rose, be concerned that he didn't look to take jumpers and wasn't knocking them down. The Bulls will need to see more shooting from Derrick, but his debut was definitely a success in my mind.

Taj Gibson looked awesome. He knocked down his mid range jumper, he played great defense, and he had several dunks on athletic, quick moves to the hole. Overall, it's good to see a big game from Taj who looks noticeably stronger this season and is coming off somewhat of a down year. Taj simply looked like a beast in this game, hopefully that continues.

Jimmy Butler got to the free throw line plenty, but he was just 1-4 from the field. It's too few attempts, and he shied away from too many outside shots in particular. The Bulls are going to need Butler to be more of a threat out there from the perimeter or teams will really pack the lane.

What to say about Luol Deng? This was one of those common Deng games where he took a crapload of shots, didn't hit many of them, but still hustled and played hard.

I don't think Snell or Murphy look like rotation players right now.

It was a nice first start, there's no reason to get too analytical about what happens in the first preseason game. We saw Derrick look healthy, and now we just need to see the Bulls get their stuff together with the first team offense.


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    I thought Rose looked really good for a 1st gm in 528 days. Rust was an issue for both teams as Bulls and Indy had a poor shooting night.
    I really don't expect to see the best of Derrick Rose until late Nov or early Dec.
    I was disappointed not to see Marquis Teague out there, but there's still time for him in preseason.
    I was impressed by rookie Tony Snell's play even though his shot wasn't falling tonight. He works hard to get himself open on offense, and shows potential on defense. He reminds me of a young Richard Hamilton. He also has bulked up since being drafted, and he looks like he belongs in the NBA physically. He'll see some playing time this season. The bench looks too thin not to play him eventually.
    Rose's return may have gathered all of the attention, but Taj Gibson was the man of the hour tonight. He's noticeably stronger, and he was able to hit his midrange jumper tonight. I hope he keeps it up all season long.
    Jimmy Butler showed flashes of brilliance tonight. His shot was rusty but his ability to attack the boards, draw fouls and make the key pass was Noah-like.
    My impression whether they won or lost was very impressive performance considering they were playing the Indiana Pacers, and not the Charlotte Bobcats tonight. Impressive because when Paul George became overly excited for an exhibition game the Bulls responded with a run of their own to win the game. Ha-ha jokes on you George. Go Bulls!

  • Agree with most of your thoughts. The main point was that Rose looks good. That overshadows everything.

    My main negative was that the Bulls looked scared to shoot from the perimeter. Rose, Butler, and Deng can't shoot just three 3s between them regularly. They need more volume. They all passed up open three point looks, and even worse, they weren't shooting mid range shots much either. They just looked scared to shoot.

    The Bulls defense generated enough fast breaks, and Rose looked explosive on those which was outstanding. Butler did a great job forcing the issue inside, as did Deng, but they need to connect on more shots still.

    Still, it was a preseason game, so nothing to get worried about yet.

    Taj Gibson will be a bad ass if he can really knock down that jumper like that consistently.

  • The Bulls dominated the boards with 56 rebounds. They played tough physical basketball. On the negative side, the floor spacing on offense was horrible, too many players bunched up together and the offense looking lost. The shooting was bad and part of that was poor offensive spacing and execution. I think they can correct those mistakes along with the high turnovers. D. Rose looks aggressive and athletic. We didn't get to see his improved extended range jumper but hopefully next game. Taj Gibson looked rock solid, he was sticking jumpers like David West or Serge Ibaka. He also had some nice post moves. He looked aggressive rebounding the ball and playing excellent defense. The Bulls might want to consider moving him to the starting unit if this trend continues.

    I was hoping to see Pittman and if he can run the floor well and play good defense. I think Nazr is a good veteran presence but he seems to get torched on d sometimes. Hopefully we can get to see him next game. I was also a little disappointed we didn't really get a good look at Teague, it doesn't look like he will be in the rotation this year. It was a hard fought game and the Bull's players played with intensity and determination despite looking sloppy much of the game.

  • Bulls looked good defensively and in grabbing rebounds. Rose has to get in game play to get back to himself but still looked good for having been out for a year in a half. The Bulls offense still looks the same...IT STINKS! It will be interesting to see how the Bulls handle teams with multiple offensive weapons on their repective teams when the game really matters. Should be agood season, just not looking forward to watching the Bulls stagnet offense not being able to score for minutes at a time.

  • If you had been on Mars for the past 18 months and didn't know that Rose had been injured and you came back to see this first preseason game you would never have known that he missed any time. He basically looked like he always has. The only thing that I noticed was that he didn't seem to have a lot of lift, even though he apparently told reporters yesterday that his vertical is to 42 inches from 37 before the injury. Didn't look that way to me, but otherwise he looked like he is 100% ready to roll.

    Taj did look a bit bulked up, and he played great, I'll take 18 & 12 with top notch D, especially off the bench. Hopefully, this is a sign that he is going to earn his new massive contract and show us that he is ready to supplant the Hole as a starter, even if it doesn't actually happen this season.

    As for the Hole, I do have to give credit where credit is due. While everyone else was playing their first preseason game, he was in full post season form already, playing as if it was game one of the playoffs, heck, maybe even game 7 of the ECF, i.e. more fouls than points 5 vs 2 and as Doug said generally invisible. After a long boring summer, it sure is awesome to have the full Hole back. Is it too early to start suggesting trades, like for West or even Scola.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Oh yea, almost forgot, this was my first time seeing the rookies, not a lot to see/like but it is early. Murphy actually has more size than I thought he would, but he looked really slow and unathletic. Unless, he shoots the ball like Kerr or Korver, I don't see much of a future there. Snell has a nice wide frame to grow into, but his arms looked awfully scrawny and not all that long. and he certainly didn't look like the shooter that everyone is penciling him in to be.

    Like Doug, I also found it interesting that Teague didn't get any minutes until the last 6 of the fourth. But as I mentioned yesterday, baring injuries there really aren't any real minutes for any of these 3 guys, as Taj, Hinny and Dunny will get almost all the available backup minutes with Naz picking up whatever minutes are needed to give Noah a blow.

  • Really, really good team "D" for Game 1 of the PreSeason.

    Team looks in good shape---just rusty.

    lets play a few more games before we start judging minutes. When Kirk sits, and he will, Teague will get plenty. Let's see what he does with them.

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